UC For You: The Office Manager

By Brian Ferguson

Unified Communications (UC) has a solid reputation for improving productivity within businesses, helping better manage relationships with customers and employees, and increasing general office efficiency.  The “robust features” and “simple, easy-to-use tools” that make up a good UC solution are what make productivity and efficiency boosts possible. That being said, it’s often difficult to sift through a massive feature list and understand just what a modern UC system, like Switchvox and Switchvox Cloud, can do for you – in your individual job role.  Features like mobility and collaboration are very powerful; but if they’re unable to truly make a difference in helping manage your daily workload, then those features won’t do you a lot of good when it’s all said and done.

Today, we kick-off a blog series, UC for You. We want to take a closer look at some of the major job roles in businesses and see how UC can really make a difference for workers in those roles.

Let’s start with someone who is the key to a successfully run office: the office manager.  We all know that office managers are often responsible for more than just managing their staff and the day-to-day operations of the office.  They usually set the tone and develop the culture of the office through their personality and management style.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at a few iconic, “celebrity” examples of office managers.  These over-the-top characters may not be the ideal office manager for your business, but they definitely set a memorable tone and culture in their fictional organizations!

First we have Michael Scott of “The Office.”  Lovable, loyal to a fault to his employees (except for HR), and always good for an innovative, yet horribly misguided idea or comment.

Office Managere

“Would I rather be feared or loved?  Easy. Both.  I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” –Michael Scott, The Office

Next, there’s Bill Lumbergh from Office Space.  He’s all about sticking to processes, regardless of whether they actually make sense or are effective in any way.  He thinks he’s great at communicating with his employees, but we all know his employees actually fantasize about physically harming him.  And, he’s not exactly comfortable with confrontation.  

Office manager 2

“Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay.”  – Bill Lumbergh, Office Space

Lastly, we have Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.  Mr. Swanson is a bit distant, believes in a hands-off management style and just wants people to leave him alone.  In fact, his very belief system about government leaves him to believe that his own job is a complete waste of money.  

office manager 3

“Sting like a bee.  Do not float like a butterfly.  That’s ridiculous.”  – Ron Swanson

While Ron, Bill and Michael provide us with lots of laughs, it’s the real-life office manager that keeps our organizations on track.  To do their jobs well, they need to understand all the different job roles in a company and be aware of how those roles work together; they must be an expert in the products and services the company offers; and they must be proficient at managing the systems and processes that keep the business running smoothly.  Office managers need to ensure a quality customer experience for clients, as well as be in tune to the needs of other employees within the company.  It’s a BIG job.  And let’s face it, the key to a happy office is a happy office manager.

So what role does UC really play in the office manager’s work life?

Here are a few of the major ways UC, specifically Switchvox, can provide the tools to make an office manager’s job easier:

– Visibility- Switchvox provides office managers with greater visibility using these features:

  • Presence- Switchvox gives each user the ability to update his or her status, like “on vacation,”  “in a meeting,” or “out to lunch.”  This gives the office manager the ability to see what’s going on with employees and make adjustments to staffing levels and coverage, as necessary.
  • Reporting- UC offers both real-time and on-demand reports to ensure that office goals (like average hold time, total number of calls, and abandoned calls) are being met.
  • Switchboard- The Switchboard gives Switchvox users visibility into the communications of the entire office.  View who’s on the phone with whom, status information, real-time statistics and more on a single screen.

– Training- Office managers need a way to ensure that the level of customer service they expect from their staff is actually happening in day-to-day calls.

  • Monitor/Whisper/Barge- A great tool that Switchvox gives managers is the ability to monitor, whisper or barge for training.  Monitor allows managers to silently listen to the call; whisper gives them the ability to not only listen, but gives them real-time feedback and training by talking to their employee without the customer hearing.  If a call is getting out of hand, or the employee needs supervisory help, the manager can barge and become part of that call with a click of a button.
  • Call Recording- Managers are busy and oftentimes can’t spend the time listening to live calls.  Switchvox provides another way to ensure high-quality performance from employees, call recording.  Calls can be recorded on the fly from the Switchboard or from Digium IP Phones, or scheduled and automatically recorded.  Recorded calls are saved and can be retrieved as needed or sent to their email.

– Customer Experience- One of the major functions of the office manager is ensuring high-quality customer experience.  Switchvox gives several tools to help deliver superior customer service.

  • Mobility- Switchvox Softphone for iPhone and Switchvox Mobile for Android provide powerful mobility features that allow your staff to stay in contact with customers from anywhere.  Make, receive, transfer and record right from your smartphone.  No longer does the office shut down when the employees walk out the door.
  • Messaging- Office managers can control the messaging and the call flow through a very simple interface.  Now, if the office delays opening because of weather, or starts running an exciting new promotion, you can make your customers aware with a few easy clicks.
  • Call Routing- In the past, calls came to specific people, and if those people weren’t available, the customer was out of luck, or at best, got to leave a message.   Today, Switchvox delivers easy-to-configure call routing to ensure that your customers reach the correct people, even if the first choice is on the phone.

This is just the beginning of UC benefits for the office manager.  As you can see, Switchvox provides the tools to help keep your office running smoothly and, just as important, keep a happy and smiling office manager.

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