As the world deals with the fallout from the coronavirus and a growing number of people are being forced to work from home or isolated locations, leaders of businesses, schools, and other entities, are scrambling to find ways to communicate effectively with their team members. All the things MSPs have been telling their clients for years about implementing backup systems and enabling remote work options are coming to fruition. Decision makers who have cast aside that advice, often citing budgetary priorities, are now discovering how hard it is to conduct normal business operations from remote locations without the proper infrastructure and systems.
At the same time, many MSPs are understandably avoiding on-site work unless it's truly an emergency, especially in communities greatly affected by COVID-19. Plus, with state and local “stay at home” orders and non-essential businesses asked or forced to close, rapidly implementing new workplace procedures gets more difficult every day. Still, compassionate MSPs are checking in with their clients daily (at a minimum) and helping assess their most urgent needs.
Despite the limitations, MSPs are still able to offer a variety of valuable services to support their clients' remote workforces, especially with voice communications. Cloud-based phone systems are ideal for handling the telecommunications demands that disasters of all kinds place on SMBs and their MSP partners.
While UCaaS solutions address a significant gap in most businesses’ remote work capabilities, this is not the time to focus on sales discussions and playbooks, but an opportunity to quickly and efficiently address a real ongoing concern. Business leaders prefer clarity over marketing materials and sales talk. Give them facts and understandable options.
When your team empowers clients’ employees with technologies that keep them connected and working productively from home and other locations—ensuring that business operations and income continue—it strengthens your partnership and future sales potential.
Leverage Existing Systems
The reality is that many SMBs have never implemented or tested wholesale telecommuting across their entire workforce. That also applies to companies with UCaaS solutions already in place yet not leveraging all their available capabilities. While SMBs love the cost savings, what is more important is the integration capabilities and flexibility of these voice solutions, including literally picking up and bringing their office phones to their home office by plugging them into their home internet service. MSPs can help with activities like porting business numbers to mobile phones and narrowing down options on the auto attendant to speed up customer service.
With the current situation increasing the risks associated with on-site implementation, providers are developing workarounds to give end users most, if not all, of the same capabilities. For example, our “Connect Anywhere” program lets MSPs extend the convenience of various features of UCaaS systems through an end-user website where employees can self-provision office lines to their mobile phones. For clients with traditional premise-based work phones, providers can forward the company number to end users’ homes. Users can also leverage mobile apps and forward calls from their current carrier. A well-crafted hosted VoIP package can help MSPs rescue their clients during communications emergencies.
Build Stronger Relationships
When you put your clients first, good things happen. Whether addressing a significant security breach, making an after-hours on-site repair, or providing creative remote work options in an emergency, business owners appreciate quality support. Mutual respect tightens relationships.
While sales should never be the primary objective during emergencies, crises are excellent opportunities for getting the attention of clients not currently using VoIP. Consider the time and money spent supporting good customers in a crisis as a critical investment in your key relationships.
Even if they decide not to pay for certain services after things return to normal, that extra attention may strengthen customer loyalty and lead to other opportunities in the future. Either way, extending your team’s remote workforce expertise to existing clients (or even prospects) during an emergency will sharpen their capabilities and bring you good karma.
Of course, UCaaS is the perfect tool for MSPs, too. With features such as auto attendant and call forwarding, these solutions make it easier for anyone to run their businesses from virtually anywhere, without missing a call.
The COVID-19 outbreak highlights why businesses must always prepare for emergencies, natural or man-made, and every provider should be ready to respond with flexible and cost-effective solutions in their time of need.
SCOTT SELTZER is CEO of ConnectMeVoice.