Telephones are a necessary part of doing business, but since they were invented in 1876, they've come an extremely long way. Today, smartphones are basically tiny laptops that allow us to do everything from calculating tips to running our business' social media platform on-the-go. A good use of telephones could bring your customers closer than ever, but a poor use could open up your business to unwanted security breaches.
When it comes to telephone pros and cons, the positives almost always outweigh the negatives. Sometimes, people just like to talk to a human. Automation has made strides in customer service and rendered the telephone more-or-less a last defense for a customer service interaction gone wrong.
Mobile Phones Are Zapping Employee Productivity
Smartphones keep us continuously plugged in, but is it one of the many telephone advantages or disadvantages? It's a bit hard to tell. Your phone helps you run your business from anywhere_._ It allows your employees to blur the line between their work-life balance. Sometimes, it's for the best and allows people to spend more time on work when they're not in the office, but research has also shown that mobile devices have cost employees eight hours of productivity every single week. The average office employee spends about 56 minutes a day using their cell phone at work for non-work activity.
BYOD Business Practices Make Telephones A Security Threat
Mobile malware used to not really be a concern – especially when smartphones were just starting to hit the market. Things certainly have changed. In 2017, McAfee labs detected a total of 16 million mobile malware incidents in the first quarter alone. Though these security breaches affect personal cellphones, for example, the celebrity iCloud leaks, it's particularly dangerous to businesses that allow employees to use their own devices. Even the White House isn't immune. In October of 2017, it was found that General Kelly had been using his personal cell phone for business and it had been compromised by hackers, potentially giving cyber attackers his physical location through the phone's GPS and his cell ID data. Hackers even have the ability to take over a cell phone's microphone and camera to hear and see confidential, classified meetings. Both Apple and Android are working to combat these known threats, but the weaknesses still stand.
Mobile Phone Apps Are Allowing Increased Employee Collaboration
It takes a village to run a business, and telephones undoubtedly allow this village to work together. Mobile phone apps like Google Docs, Slack and a number of cloud-based sharing services allow employees to collaborate like never before. Slack operates like a virtual office linking multiple branches or simply connecting the team to those working from home. It makes the idea of a physical place of business less and less necessary. Add this to Google Docs, which allows businesses to share important projects and paperwork, and employees across an ocean can feel like they're sitting in the cubicle next to you.
Customers Still Want To Talk To A Human
When it comes to customer service, many businesses are abandoning the idea of speaking to an actual person on the phone. Some have adopted chatbots or text-based, online communications. This is all fine and well – a great way to keep customers from waiting on hold – but sometimes, you want to talk to a human being. Until artificial intelligence can solve customer service problems as quickly and easily as a human, a telephone may be the most important line of defense. In fact, a Google study showed that 61 percent of customers still call a business when they're in the purchasing phase. This is especially prevalent when the customer is buying a more expensive item.
Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.