The art of communication

David Heald, Managing Director at business-to-business communications provider A1 Comms, looks at the changing face of business communications and outlines what organisations can do to keep up with the fast-moving curve.

The world of digital telecoms can often leave a business’s decision makers secretly longing for the company phone operator and those hefty directories. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but it is surprising

how many senior directors dodge the upgrade, believing that there should be a more urgent focus on elsewhere. Only when that crucial video conference goes

embarrassingly wrong is the mind focused on the need for the best kit. There really isn’t any excuse. This year the fastest fibre

broadband has already arrived in Nottingham and Sheffield and will soon be available in Derby. We at A1 Comms Business were named a champion of its

roll-out not just because it means more business but because it puts us where any telecommunications company wants to be – right at the cutting edge of developments. But before we analyse the wider picture too deeply, it is

worth delving into how companies handle the fast-moving world of telecoms in terms of individual customers and staff members. This year the emphasis has become more and more on

home working. Indeed, many of our customers and suppliers work remotely. This means effective communications is key because people

are communicating on the move, whether it be through mobile or hosted systems. We are excited to be their great enabler but, for various

reasons, we see lots of implementations of technologies which aren’t what people need or even want. For example, companies will wrongly believe that they can

only deal with one service provider. But what if, while 48 of their 50 staff have perfectly fine

connections, two don’t? In the past, business leaders have shrugged their shoulders

if a couple of staff members had to suffer inconvenience because their home connections were poor or, in some cases, non-existent. Now, it has become essential that remote working is

properly facilitated so that in times of crisis they can react seamlessly and 100% of staff members need that access. Indeed, winning business may well depend on it. Unfortunately, connections and phones are too often at the

end of the priority list. Boxes are ticked when phones are set up and call groups named but businesses don’t pay heed to whether they are set up most efficiently and to managing change when people leave, join or move roles Too many also give little consideration to what happens to

communications at the weekend and out of core trading hours. So much business is now done outside of the traditional working day, so those contacting a company need to have a good experience. Additionally, teams look to stay in touch outside of the place of work as well as in it. And, in our experience, staff are less happy with their

mobile and fixed phones than their bosses think. Some simply are not fit for purpose in 2020. People might say “I would say this” but an up-to-date

telecommunications strategy needs to be the core of every business. Often, this might just be the basics over who picks a call up,

what happens when a person is out of the office and whether diverts to mobile applications have been applied. These things are easy to implement and our Yappl network

68 business network April 2020

‘The emphasis has become more and more on home working. Indeed, many of our customers and suppliers work remotely’

can help users come up with the right solutions for them but there must be focused time allocated with client user groups to get a business set up for success with its communications systems. Even if companies do adopt well-devised learning strategies

and have the very best of intentions, they don’t induct their new people thoroughly, so, within quite a short time, many of the team are out of the loop. When the pressure is increased on a business, such as in the

current coronavirus crisis, telecoms become more and more important. The stress would be taken away if there was already a coherent and long-lasting plan. Meanwhile, connectivity, as well as procedures and mobile

and fixed phone technology, are imperative for the future of a company - or even our sanity at home. We are used to fairly dodgy home broadbands which don’t

always work on a Sunday evening and are used to paying a high price for a service which doesn’t do what is needed. But, at the same time, data consumption and downloading

are increasing year on year by 20% across the UK. Over the next five years, Openreach networks are being

hugely updated and, with Yappl, we are working with companies which are embracing full-fibre technology, often needing considerable requirement to upload data out of the company as well as downloading.

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