Your Business Phone App should do More for You

Soft phone and phone apps are quickly becoming a staple of virtual office life. We’ve seen a proliferation of phone apps promising to enhance connectivity and productivity. Marketplaces have shifted into a fully digital environment. Businesses are trading brick-and-mortar offices for ever-evolving virtual workplaces. This transition, enabled by digital progress, was unexpectedly accelerated by the current pandemic. We’re still adapting. The remote team went from an option to the option that now describes a vast and growing workforce. Existing solutions don’t really meet these new needs. What we need is a new water cooler. We need to set expectations and encourage team chat, away from the front desk and customers. And we need a way to build on those conversations, and set goals and keep each other accountable.

As with any rapid change, problems cropped up quickly. Employees working from remote places exposed businesses (of all scales) to a number of complex communication issues. Internal communication needs to be really good to guarantee good  external communications. Teams need to rewire the way they get work done. The water cooler was great, but we don’t all sit in the same place. We still need a way for our team chats to take place. And we can’t keep skipping between 3 or 4 apps just to have a simple conversation. How many times have you had a conversation go from Zoom to text to WhatsApp and then to email? How many times have you given up?

Remote work makes it hard to build effective teams

We all agree that having flexible working arrangements is better than a rigid 9-5 office routine. Making this sustainable is a larger problem. It’s one thing to give an existing, high-functioning team more flexibility. It’s a much more difficult to hire and assemble an team remotely and then expect the same level of performance. You have to really pay attention to both social factors and how information moves, and doesn’t move, though the team.

Good apps can help

We decided to tackle these challenges head-one when we added collaborative features to Yobi. Our team faced all these challenges while building Yobi, and decided that consolidating phone, text, and social media communication simply wasn’t enough. What we needed was a way to collaborate, across continents and time zones, without jumping between a dozen different apps. We started building a series of features and design details into our app that enhance communication. Before we jump into the apps themselves, let’s talk about different types of communication.

Active and Passive Communication

This might seem like a straightforward distinction, but we need to consider all the forms of communication humans use. We must pay special attention to those that are intrinsically limited or eliminated by remote work and digital formats. Then we can try to fill in the holes and build up alternative strategies.

Active Communication

The most obvious example of direct communication is when someone talks to you, face-to-face. Other examples are phone calls, text messages and video calls. Meetings, at least good meetings, are active communication. People are actively creating and distributing information. The key factor in active communication is that there is participation by at least one person is actually communicating something. Hopefully, someone is listening. The team chat around the water cooler is one example, but so is a meeting, an email chain or a video call!

Passive Communication

Contrast this with passive communication, in which one simply consumes pre-prepared information. By the way this has nothing to do with being passive aggressive! It just means the information was already there for us to consume. We still have to participate, but in a different way. A street sign is a passive communication tool. Reading a book could be considered a form of passive communication by the author. There are more subtle kinds of passive communication. For instance, making a button big a red might indicate to you that it does something dramatic.

Combining Passive and Active concepts

You’ve realized by now that most communication is a combination of these two concepts, at least in the sense that one party is always taking an active role. From the perspective of product design and development, it’s important remember that we can do a lot with both forms, and that by adding elements to our product that enhance both of these modes of information distribution we can make our app easier to use. Judicious use of these concepts can also boost user performance and reduce cognitive load.

Phone App features that enhance productivity

First let’s focus on features and design elements that can help your team work more efficiently. Yobi has a bunch of features design to cut down on your overhead by automating tasks or reducing the time you spend looking for information. We also combine information in different ways to present it to you in ways that make it easier to absorb and reducing cognitive load.

Prerecorded Phone Messages

Starting with the basics, prerecording information that is played for your incoming calls is an essential feature you should be using, regardless of what phone system you use. After-hours recordings, voicemail messages with useful information and greetings that tell customers and clients about your business all reduce the amount of time you spend going over this information in person.
Another reason these kinds of features are useful; they help you create a uniform brand and image. It’s hard to keep things consistent and when you have to repeat something endlessly your presentation and quality can suffer. Using recordings can really help.

Call Recordings

Yobi can record phone conversations. This means you can concentrate on the call, and not on taking notes or writing info down. Did you miss something during the call? Go back and look at it.

Even more useful is the ability for team members to listen recordings. This means you don’t have to recount the details from memory. In fact you don’t have to worry about important details slipping your mind. This is especially useful with contentious calls, or when there is a customer service complaint, but can be useful for all sorts of situations.

Unified Call and Message Logs

This may seem obvious, but putting a whole client interaction into one timeline with calls, texts and social media direct messages can tremendously reduce effort. You can see the entire relationship’s evolution in once place. You can refresh yourself before taking the next step or making that follow-up call. Yobi becomes your company’s collective memory for each customer, client or contractor. You don’t have to stress out remembering who talked to whom and when they talked. It’s all written down in a convenient list you can access from anywhere.

Notes attached directly to conversations help with continuity. Whenever you pick up a conversation, notes help you understand where your colleague left off, without scheduling a meeting or a formal hand-off.

Our latest release features Tasks and Team Chat features will keep your team coordinated and connected and most importantly will simplify your work.

Tasks and Team Chat can help you:

      • Tasks lets teammates create tasks and assign them to one another via text messages, audio recordings and attached files (pictures, text)
      • The content of a customer call or text can easily be made into a task and assigned to the right person to follow up.
      • Tasks are clearly marked with a status: open, done or archived.
      • Every user has a custom list of tasks available and assigned by them.
      • Teammates can check the status of any task at any time, this lets people pickup slack more easily.
      • Team members can  update a task with notes, questions or comments that everyone can see.
      • Team members can reopen a task to update it, if needed.
      • Assignees are sent alerts when new tasks are created.

Tasks offers a simple and powerful way to manage your team’s time more effectively, while also simplifying customer service and hand-off, especially in situations where you might be working across multiple time-zones or departments.

Team Chat is simple, powerful, and saves a lot of time:

      • Chat with team members and customers is as easy as flipping between tabs in the Yobi App.
      • Team chats are flexible; create, join and leave a chat as needed.
      • Team members’ online status is clearly displayed so you’ll always know who is around to help.

If you want to enhance your team’s productivity, reduce overhead or just make your life a little easier, check these new features. As always, our customer service reps are here to answer any questions and help you get started with your new virtual office today. For more information visit yobi.app or download the app on iOS, Android, PC and Mac.

 

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