Spring forward. Fall back. The clock’s go back an hour this weekend, marking the end of British Summer Time and signalling the long, darker nights ahead.
However, dialling back the clock is always a pleasure. Aside from the extra hour gained, it’s also a good time to look back to check if there’s something we’re missing, or something we’ve lost.
New technologies, powered by high-speed broadband and Wi-Fi, are changing the way we live at an unstoppable speed.
The way we communicate is faster, cheaper, more reliable, secure and accessible than ever before. But while emails, texts, social media, Skype and WhatsApp have transformed how we do business, but is there anything we’re missing or something we’ve forgotten?
Despite all the options, you can’t beat a telephone conversation or a face-to-face meeting.
Have you considered how infinitely better a quick conversation about a particular matter would be by taking it off email? It’s personal. You made the time to call and listen – and you took yourself out of that ‘hidden comfort zone’ which emails can often provide.
Believe it or not, the telephone is still most customer’s preferred method of communication. There is immediate clarity and the assurance provided by a confident, articulate voice. Phone calls also help build, foster and strengthen relationships. It’s the next best thing to meeting face-to-face and it instils trust, friendship and loyalty. After a direct conversation, you can confidently assess where the relationship stands in a way that emails or texts will never provide.
In businesses and organisations across Northern Ireland, fewer people are picking up the phone. We’re losing the art of conversation and confident, personal interaction. It’s immediate and can be reassuringly confidential.
Encourage your staff to pick up the phone, to intercept an email chain and ask the customer or client if they had time to discuss. You’ll be surprised what an instantly productive and time-saving option this can be.
The technological options available now also make this task easier than ever before. Fixed ‘land lines’ are becoming a thing of the past and more people are mobile, working off site and even at home. Smart phones, iPhones, laptops and tablets means you can work anywhere at any time – in fact, hands-free devices can actually make commuting time one of the most productive parts of your day!
Telephone communication may well be slower than its new-media counterparts, but it still has huge benefits in an increasingly impersonal world. A connection with a human voice creates a connection that other media lacks and remains a critical business component.
However, to glean the benefits of this wonderful ‘old style’ resource, there are still many modern reasons to consider.
If you are still using an ‘old’ ISDN phone system, you’ll need to starting thinking about switching. In a few months, BT won’t be selling this option anymore and the technology will be completely defunct by 2025 which means your basic business communications platform is already nearing its ‘sell by’ date.
Fortunately, new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology is already widely available and easy to install. It will provide the capacity you need to reliably build your business and ensure you can make cheap local, national and international calls anywhere and on any device. By linking to the cloud, it also means your staff can use all the features of Microsoft Office no matter where they are.
But remember, the clock is ticking, and the time to do something about it is now.