As we adjust to a hybrid workplace, our need to communicate with our clients and team members from anywhere continues. Shifting where we do business also means the way we communicate has changed as well, and the need for a desk phone can be replaced with one simple solution. In this blog post, we’ll discuss options to enable telephony through Microsoft Teams to keep the lines open and business moving forward in your hybrid work environment.
Prior to the pandemic, most Withum clients had already transitioned to Microsoft 365 and were using Teams for chat and meetings. For others who had yet to complete the migration to Teams, we were really busy helping clients for the first half of the year establishing governance, meeting policies and furnishing devices to enable secure remote work. Microsoft reports a 50% increase of Teams usage this year, with 115 million daily active users on the platform. If you break down Teams usage, we see chats, meetings and call activity.
We can further drill down on calls and see PSTN and SMS usage reports.
Advantages of Microsoft Teams Calling
The emerging Teams usage category is calls and we have helped many clients deprecate their legacy office phone system with Microsoft 365 Business Voice, a subscription for SMB clients with less than 300 users which launched earlier this year. Let’s review some of the advantages of Microsoft Teams Calling.
1. It’s you and not your phone.
Because Microsoft 365 services are tied to your identity, your phone number is assigned to you and visible in your Teams App. As you know, the Teams App can be installed on a PC, tablet or smartphone. So now your customers or colleagues can reach you anywhere and your presence indicates if you are available (green status) to take the call.
2. Control your status.
If you panicked from that last statement, you can control your availability to balance your focus and away time. It is normal to block focus time (as I am doing now to write this blog) or quiet time, so phone calls don’t ring your phone while charging on the bedside table overnight. These privacy controls are important when establishing work/life boundaries.
3. Microsoft Teams Calling plans are less than cellular.
For $20 a month or less, your company can assign a Teams phone number. If your company has more than 50 users who need a calling plan, we recommend a shared connection with a direct routing partner instead of a calling plan for each user. Withum and our Teams Direct Routing partners can easily produce a quote if cost savings is an important factor in your evaluation.
4. Who needs a Teams phone number?
You choose. We find that most client-facing roles (sales, service) and executives, require a phone number. If you have a company number, you can port that too. Business Voice does include call attendant (press 1 for service) and call routing (next available agent) so important inbound calls are routed properly.
5. Choose a device that works for you.
We find that most clients are not really missing that desk phone. While earbuds are ok, we recommend Teams Certified Devices for optimum voice performance. Devices do make experiences, so investing in that certified Bluetooth headset for all day comfort is worth it and still less expensive than a desk phone.
If there is an issue during a call or meeting, Teams Call Quality Dashboard can show us where the issue occurred; mostly it is your home or cellular network but second is the device you are using.
contact a member of Withum’s Technology and Digital Transformation Services Team.
Technology and Digital Transformation Services