Are new employees at your company also just handed a phone and expected to get started? Time to rethink! Having a telephone policy in your organisation is as important as making sure you look presentable before walking into the office. Because at the end of the day it’s just good manners.
Are you using your phones right?
You can spend a fortune on sophisticated TV commercials, expensive print ads, cool office interiors, and a cutting-edge website – but not having a telephone policy can harm your brand more than all of those marketing efforts could ever compensate for. And yet, many companies think it’s enough to hand out phones, connect them to their PBX, and let every employee figure out the rest themselves.
Sure, using a phone isn’t that hard – everybody has a smartphone these days – but using it right is an entirely different kettle of fish. That is why your telephone policy should be a part of your overall communication plan!
An important communication minimum
Costly marketing activities mean nothing if the company routines can’t deliver on the promises they make. As soon as somebody calls your company, they need to be met with a clear and professional approach, or the caller will hang up quicker than you think. A personal voicemail that is checked regularly is the bare minimum for modern companies – and very little is required to maintain it. Still, many companies are lax about internal routines and information.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a new telephone system, adopting a new way of working, or if you’ve just switched to a cloud-based PBX solution, you’ll always require clear internal information. A telephone policy is as much a set of internal guidelines for team members as it is a tool helping the entire company deliver quality for your customers.
Tip! Make sure that every new employee who gets a phone receives the telephone policy at the same time. And make having read (and understood) it a requirement before they start working!
Telephone policies improve quality and results
With a telephone policy in place, you’ll improve customer-facing quality in no time. The shared approach to telephone communication paints a distinct picture of your company – one where all calls are treated the same, regardless of whether you call support, customer service, or individual sales people, for instance.
Nor does your telephone policy have to be stiff and formal. Rather, it is important that it reflects your company culture in a way that resonates with your staff. That makes it easier to take on board, and creates an awareness of how every team member is important for the success of the organisation as a whole.
In fact, a telephone policy can contribute to improving your organisation’s results long-term. Few people these days would keep reaching out to a company that doesn't respond to voice messages, or whose customer service isn't pleasant on the phone. Once someone has experienced this, chances are they’ll opt for a competitor instead! Being met with indifference is often worse than a busy line. The most irritating thing for today’s customers is not being called back after having left a message, or receiving unclear information about where their call has been directed – two likely scenarios if you don’t have a strategy in place! By extension, a telephone policy will increase your contact with potential customers.
A vital part of your external presence
The differences between companies that have a telephone policy and those who don’t have largely to do with service. When a customer calls a company that actively follows a telephone policy, they receive plenty of information even before reaching the person they want to speak to!
● Whom they have called at what company
● Why the person can’t answer at that moment
● When the person will be available again
● What options they have – e.g. leaving a message, being redirected to someone else, or being called back
By not having a telephone policy, you’re missing one of the most vital parts of the company’s external presence. Not returning a call from someone who wants to speak to you, not having a personalised voicemail message, or just forgetting to turn your phone back on after a meeting are common mistakes even in larger corporations – mistakes that harm the business both externally and internally. A telephone policy provides security and clarity for team members, who know how they’re expected to use their own phone, and how their individual actions contribute to building the company’s voice.
When your company invest in a new telephone system or a cloud-based PBX, you probably spend a significant amount of money to make it work at its best. In order to set yourself up for success, it’s important to give the entire organisation the right tools and routines – and to have a plan for internal implementation. A telephone policy makes it easier and helps everyone move towards the same goals.