Inter-Tel, the end-to-end business communications vendor represented exclusively in South Africa by Tellumat, has devised a formula that will help businesses establish the most productive levels of communication in the workplace.
The ideal outcome of the Inter-Tel formula is a "perfect 10", which will foster productivity and improve customer service. “Anything less is unproductive; anything more indicates e-mail overkill,” says Bennie Langenhoven, GM of Tellumat Telecoms.
Langenhoven highlights an exaggerated importance being placed on alternative business communication channels in today’s workplace. “E-mail has its place, but many companies use it at the expense of anything else,” he argues.
The formula is: (CM+CR – MC)/ET x HW = 10.
Taking into account all phone calls made by the business over a given period (CM), the calls it received (CR), missed calls (MC), e-mail traffic (ET) and hours worked (HW), Inter-Tel’s formula emphasises the importance of striking the right communication balance.
“This formula should be applied to those employees who focus on communicating with current or potential company stakeholders, such as prospects, existing customers, partners or even new recruits,” says Langenhoven. “Given the prevalence of such people in sales and customer service focused organisations, and the high cost of communications, there should be room for a pretty pervasive application of an important formula.”
He notes that e-mail has become much more prevalent in recent years, especially as more and more people work away from the office. “Executives on the move don’t have easy access to voice mail or good telephone communications. So it has become more convenient for flexible workers to rely on e-mail, rather than picking up the phone.”
While e-mail is universally viewed as a great enabler, its appropriateness as a communications channel cannot always go unchallenged, he adds.
“The phone is sometimes seen as outdated and impractical. This simply isn’t true. With IP telecoms, phone systems can have all the flexible benefits of e-mail while maintaining a more personal touch, especially with features such as complex reporting and enhanced messaging tools. Add presence management to this and you are always in contact.
“What businesses really need is the right balance – a communications equillibrium of phone calls and e-mails. By applying the Inter-Tel equation, companies can isolate the areas they need to improve on and find a better way to communicate.”
Balanced communication leads to better customer service and increased productivity,” Langenhoven continues. “Companies tend to throw money at their communications systems in the hope that they’ll improve. But to get the best out of their system, they need to understand how to maintain moderation.
“Striking a balance will become increasingly important as businesses rely more on other communication technologies, such as Instant Messenger, in the future. Using this formula as a guide today will stand businesses in good stead for future changes, as they will better understand their needs and reach their goal of a perfect communication system.”