Back in April, I wrote a blog about using phones at work. There are many reasons I wrote it, but mostly they related to all this “noise” I read about nobody using phones at work at anymore and everyone using different kinds of collaboration platforms at work to communicate. Look, there certainly is something to be said about using an instant message tool to get a quick answer from somebody, especially when they’re on a conference call. But to me, having a face-to-face conversation is the best, and having a phone call is the second best.
So that’s why I wrote about the phone. And it seems other people agreed with me given some of the comments I received, especially about millennials and Gen-Z’rs entering the workforce. But it also spurred some comments about the end of the business communication system and PBX at work – like some people didn’t see a reason to use one of these going forward!
OK, that’s a pretty bold position. But I think that perspective is from a very stovepiped perspective of just internal employee communications. Yes, I suppose you could go through a day without talking to anyway – just using an IM tool, using collaboration tools, etc. And if you needed to talk, maybe these tools have a button to just “call” someone. So I certainly get that. But it’s very shortsighted because in the end, your business exists because you have customers.
But that perspective doesn’t take into account the customer. And while some customers don’t really want to make phone calls and can communicate via chat and the like, there will always be a need to talk. And talking means a business communication system. Because a business needs to record calls, put call information into a CRM, have a way to find the business to call (i.e. a phone number), have a way to route calls to the proper place, etc.
And no matter how you cut it, this means a business phone system is required. Maybe someday it’s not a traditional PBX per se but instead a more chat/IM centric design, but it will still be a business phone system.