Making Business Communications Personal with MultiLine

April 4, 2018

Today’s mobile tech allows businesses to support a distinct, company-owned second number on a single device, making it easier for employers to manage their corporate mobility strategy and enforce policies that ensure compliance.
With personal devices proliferating in the workplace, companies are challenged to address the issue of employees bringing their personal identities with them as well, and the potential downsides that can present.

Companies want to meet their employees’ needs and help them work as efficiently as possible, but at the same time balance that with some degree of control. If employees are most productive when they use their own phones, then BYOD should be embraced and encouraged.

But the trend does create a management obstacle in terms of exerting business control over those phones. This is especially true in light of the fact that the convergence of social, mobile, and digital have created an explosion of customer interaction points across new channels, devices, and applications.

Fundamental shifts in consumer expectations and behaviors, coupled with new technologies, have put increased pressure on businesses – especially those in regulated industries. Consumers are more informed, empowered and more connected than ever, demanding instant and personalized communications whenever and however they prefer.

Losing control of customer interactions

Customers who consult their sales rep’s business card, for instance, will probably see two numbers – a direct line through the company network and a mobile number. The average customer is going to choose the mobile number, since the odds of reaching the rep on the first try are a lot higher.

Ten years ago, that wasn’t as much of an issue, because the mobile phone was likely company issued. All communication was done through corporate assets. But nowadays, employees simply use their own personal phones, which they prefer for a variety of reasons.

All of this means that the mobile number on that business card may be completely disconnected from the company. It’s likely the sales rep’s own phone, and as convenient as that may seem for everybody concerned, the company has lost control of the communications equipment – and as a result, the connection with the customer.

It gets worse if the sales rep leaves the company, because customers are still calling his or her personal phone. In effect, the employee has just walked out the door and taken the company’s customer contacts with him or her.

Regulated industries face unique hurdles

Regulations have dictated how and where a financial advisor, government agent, or doctor can communicate. Regulations designed to protect consumers from privacy concerns, fraud, and negligence have the unintended consequence of making it difficult to connect in new, more efficient ways.

But the reality is that consumers prefer to engage with their advisors and representatives on their terms through the channels that suits them, because they’ve grown accustomed to this in their experiences with most other consumer brands.

New technologies are emerging that enable these regulated industries to innovate and still remain in compliance.

Solving the problem with MultiLine

This is why more and more businesses are turning to our MultiLine approach, where an app enables a distinct second mobile number – strictly for business – to operate on any smartphone, regardless of underlying carrier.

With this approach, business calls, texts, and voice mail take place on the business-owned number on the employee’s phone. Business and personal communications and contacts are kept completely separate. The corporate IT department can exercise complete control over the business number in a “mobile-first” environment, managing all user types and mobile requirements.

IT can even set operational parameters such as times of day, days of the week, and whether call recording is required on that business number. It’s a carrier-grade, reliable, secure and dependable solution.

For regulated industries, MultiLine offers sophisticated and secure call handling features. Think about this: For a lot of customers, the preferred method of communication is a text. But in regulated industries such as financial services, advisors are forbidden to text because of concerns about risk and compliance.

In fact, one major bank used to forbid texting with customers, even if it was their preferred method of communication. Its advisors essentially had their hands tied when communicating with clients, until the bank moved to MultiLine which made it easier to comply with financial regulations governing data monitoring and retention.

With MultiLine, its advisors are free to text with their clients, and the improved communication is reflected in a better client retention rate. All communications — voice and text — are properly recorded and archived for compliance purposes, and the experience is much more positive for clients. That bank is now officially “mobile first.”

Just as a company wouldn’t let its employees use a personal email address for their business correspondence, it shouldn’t let them use their own personal phone number either. The ability to put a distinct business number on an employee’s phone is not only practical but professional. It helps create a better customer experience by making it possible for customers to more efficiently communicate with the company.

And importantly, it gives the employee the proper corporate business identity in all of his or her communications, and puts control of those communications where it belongs – with the business.

This post appeared on Sprint’s blog on March 23, 2018.

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