Knowing when someone is at their desk can cut down phone tag and waiting games.
How many times have you called for someone to have the person answering the phone report that they’re not sure if the person is in or at their desk? When someone is not available you have effectively three choices:
- Leave a message and wait for a return call
- Send an email and wait for a response
- Try to call back later and hope to catch them
The problem is that this behaviour hasn’t changed for the past few decades. The only difference is now calls are cheaper and we have email.
Corporate instant messaging is not new, and with Lync Online making it so much more accessible and cost effective as part of Office 365, why aren’t more organisations using it?
For many small businesses the concept of corporate instant messaging is strange. In many conversations I have with prospective customers their response is usually, “I don’t see how we’d use it”. Many think that Lync could just be used for audio or video conferencing, or perhaps hosting virtual meetings.
What they don’t realise is that Lync provides them with the ability to better support their customers and increase collaboration between staff. How does it do this?
Imagine that you call to speak to your supplier, but instead of the receptionist saying something like, “They’re in but not at their desk. I’m not sure where they are. Can I take a message?” the response is actually, “They’re in the office but haven’t been at their desk for five minutes. Let me send their desk neighbour a message”. Or how about, “They’re on a call but let me send an instant message to see when they’ll be off”.
If both organisations are using Lync Online then there’s no need for a phone call at all, as you can send an instant message to the person and upgrade it to a voice/video call straight away, along with application and information sharing.
Because of Lync and the fact that I federate with almost everyone I know who uses it I find I am able to conduct far more conversations throughout the day and get things done because I’m not waiting on return calls or emails. For only $3.20 per user per month it’s hardly worth even having to think about.
Some useful tips for people new to Lync:
- Find out who of your contacts have Lync so you can add them to your contact list
- Tag contacts for status alert changes (that way Lync tells you when they’re back at their desk or out of a meeting)
- Pin people you speak to regularly to the frequent contacts to make it easier to find them
- Make note of presence orbs in Outlook and SharePoint – you can use these to communicate directly with the person, and it has the added benefit of setting the subject of the communication to be whatever the original source was (eg. subject of email).
Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.