December 1, 2011 Phone Systems The past few Winter seasons brought extreme amounts of severe weather to many parts of the U.S., and this coming Winter is expected to be no different. So it’s important to know how to keep your business up and running in the event of inclement winter weather. Here are three key points to remember when preparing your business: Set up your “Inclement Weather” message and emergency call routing ahead of time This may sound simple, but, often enough, it’s something that’s not thought of until the minute a mountain of snow or ice is bearing down on us. By creating an “inclement weather” message ahead of time, and knowing how to use it, your business can efficiently and effectively let clients know whether your office is, or is not, open and who to contact in case they need immediate assistance. For many business phone systems, this means creating an “inclement weather” automated attendant greeting and simply activating it when the time comes. (If your business operates using the Mitel 5000 Communications Platform, follow the directions here to record your inclement weather greeting. If you use a different phone system, please contact our Help Desk for more instructions by clicking here.) Investigate work from home possibilities At ETA, we have a “never closed” approach to business because we use Virtual Office technology. So even if winter weather interrupts our ability to make it into the office, we’re still able to service all of our customers’ needs while working from separate, remote locations. Even if you don’t want to have a formal Virtual Office setup, staying open during a storm can sometimes be as simple as having IP phones and remote access capability set up for a few key personnel. This can even be achieved if you’re not IP capable or currently set up with IP telephony. If you’re unsure of how to set up and prepare your technology, do not guess. Contact your service provider. While it’s important to set up your “inclement weather” message and to make sure your technology is ready to handle everything that comes with harsh winter weather, it’s also important that you prepare your system correctly. That means no guess work when it comes to setting up “closed office” messages and configuring work-from-home connections. Contact your service provider if, at any point, you are unsure of how to best utilize your system. After all, that’s what we’re here for. Last winter, like countless others before, when customers decided to shut their doors due to winter weather, they turned to ETA for help. Many needed help setting up their “inclement weather” message and call routing for emergency contacts. Some were trying to figure out how to set up the IP phones they needed to work from home but had never plugged in. Others wanted to make sure their SSL VPN would hold up under the strain of extra employees working from home. Still others wanted to make sure their audio and Web conferencing was set up so they could collaborate effectively with their coworkers from the safety of their home offices. Whatever their needs, an ETA Customer Care Specialist was available to help. When they called our Help Desk line (610-828-0800, Option 3) or emailed us at email@example.com, they were served with the same high level of care they’d experience on any other day. That’s because we know that your voice and data communications needs don’t shut down just because your office does. Interested in learning more about how your office can get ready for the next big storm or “Go VO”? Simply contact us by clicking on the “Reach Out Today!” form. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.