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.
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.
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.
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 calls don’t ring your phone while charging on the bedside table overnight. These privacy controls are important when establishing work/life boundaries.
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.
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.
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.
But wait there is more!
This October, Microsoft has offered promotions for Business Voice and audio-conferencing plans to make this investment more financially beneficial. These promotions are available through March 2021. Contact us for details.