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Don't Forget About Training!

Teaching your staff how to use the new features of your phone system is a crucial part of the process. All phones systems provide basic features like hold, conference, and so on, but making the most of new features—such as accessing voice mail remotely, or unified messaging—will pay big dividends.

We structured basic phone-training sessions of three people per phone, three phones at a time, in one-hour classes, to cover all of the basic features plus the new voice mail system, using a test system that the vendor brought in. With it, we could simulate our environment—placing calls, transferring, using the hold feature, performing conference calls, etc. In this setting, we got a lot of participation, and people learned a lot more than if we had just given them the manual and said, "Here you go." Handouts were also appreciated as reference materials for later reminders of what users had learned in the classes.

One unique part of our training was to hold separate training sessions on unified messaging. We knew that many people wouldn't use the new technology and would just get their voice mail messages through the phone as they had always done. For more adventurous users, we covered all of the options for UM. Those who opted out of the UM class initially were encouraged to try it out anyway, and by popular request we're now planning to hold additional UM classes. We didn't force everyone to attend a UM class, instead letting peer pressure work to our advantage; the rest of the staff are now interested in something that they didn't think they needed.

We upgraded in a big way to get the awesome features of our new phone system. Knowing what's available to you and how it can benefit your company will assist you in making your next phone system purchase a great one.

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