The Modern Employee is Mobile - There is No Reason Their Voice Presence Can't Be

The workforce of today isn't always at found doing a normal day in the office. Many roles across several industries really only carry a handful of hard requirements: do you have your work system and do you have an internet connection?

With so many of us on the move while still being available and productive - whether that be taking a long lunch or making the most of free time before catching a flight - our voice presence in the office isn't really well represented. In most cases, when an employee is not physically in office where he may answer his desk phone or dial out from his desk phone we resort to calling him on his work mobile. Or worse, looking up his personal mobile number and trying to reach him there.

While mobile technology and the evolution of cellphones into pocket sized dynamos of functionality has given us amazing freedom, there are still valid reasons why it's important to keep a consistent voice presence "in office" (we won't tell anyone you're at the bar and grill if you won't tell on us). First, using a personal mobile device and sharing your number with a limited circle of contacts can spiral out of control. If you only tell five people your personal mobile number for emergencies and half of those people tell someone else and so on, eventually that number will be known to many. You may end up with calls after hours or during personal time from your coworkers or business associates. This makes it hard to truly be out of the office for the day. The same holds true for company issued mobile devices.

Regardless, with a mobile device you also end up needing to manage potentially several voicemail boxes. This can become cumbersome as you try to keep up with the voicemail left on each device (plus your desk phone).

With a desk phone, it's normal to have a regular office schedule that will allow callers to progress through a menu and typically hit a directory or enter in a direct extension number. This helps keeps business contacts abiding by a reasonable schedule to reach you by phone. Call forwarding is also an option, but if configured incorrectly, can cause the forwarded caller from your desk phone to your mobile device to end up leaving voicemail on the mobile device.

Presence aside, we can't neglect the fact that mobile devices generally don't support business functions very well. While most mobile phones allow for conferencing of callers, active call management can still be obtuse. It also requires use of full telephone numbers regardless of who you are speaking with or calling. So while you may be speaking with a business associate, if you needed to transfer him to a coworker who doesn't have a DID, you'd have little choice but to transfer him to a main number and he must dial your coworker's direct extension number.

So what can you do when you want to have a mobile office voice presence, but don't want work voicemail ending up potentially in a personal voicemail box and you want to control the flow of calls to you in accordance to your normal core hours of availability and you need business handset functionality? You try NocTel Go.

NocTel Go is a softphone app for Android and iOS. A softphone is a software-based phone. Instead of using a mobile device's SIM card that has the mobile device's phone number registered to it, a NocTel Go extension registers with NocTel's VoIP servers in a similar way your desk phone does - they both do so over the internet. On a mobile device this means as long as you have WiFi or mobile connectivity, you can be available on a work extension and/or receive calls on your NocTel Go extension through a set phone number on your organization's account.

Because NocTel Go is considered yet another variety of device - similarly to Polycom VoIP handsets - it can be configured and managed near identically to a physical handset would. This means configuration like schedules, Hunt Groups, outbound caller ID, cold and warm (attended) transfers, and native direct extension dialing are all supported.

For example, if I have a normal desk phone in my office but I'm also frequently traveling for work I can install NocTel Go on my mobile device and add it to my NocTel Talk account. Within my NocTel Talk account I can configure my direct phone number (DID) to route to an extension that checks my core work hours schedule - let's say that's 6 am to 6 pm. When someone calls that DID during my active hours, I can have that caller route to a Hunt Group that has both my desk phone and my NocTel Go extension as members. This means when someone calls me during active schedule hours it will both my desk phone and NocTel Go extension through the Hunt Group.

But what happens if someone calls outside those active hours? I could tell the routing configuration that after it's tried ringing my Hunt Group for however long to send the caller to the voicemail on my desk phone where I know I will get an email notification if the caller leaves a voicemail. This prevents voicemail from piling up on my mobile device. I don't get pestered with missed call or voicemail push notifications when I'm done for the day, and my voicemail is in a place I can get to with a lot of flexibility by either listening to it from the email attachment directly or simply logging into the NocTel Talk control panel and listening to it there.

In a similar scenario noted earlier, if I am speaking with a business associate but find he really needs to be speaking with Joey, I can transfer that associate directly to Joey by just transferring him by dialing Joey's direct extension number. I can do even better, though. Quick Dial contacts in NocTel Go on the same NocTel account will populate with status lamps - very similarly to how you would see BLFs on a Polycom handset for your speed dials. Instead of just blindly transferring to Joey, I can check on his presence status first and then speak to him first before transferring the associate over (this would be performing a warm transfer). If the situation had been a little different where I needed to conference Joey in instead of transferring the associate over, the steps would be very similar.

To wrap up, our mobile devices have given us a tremendous capability on their own, though not always in ways that are well aligned with business needs. NocTel Go is the killer app that turns your common smartphone into a functional business phone that is configured and managed the same as physical handsets on your account.

If you're an employee who's frequently on the move, ask your IT department or NocTel Talk account administrator how you might be able to Go instead!