Underpinning business transformation with best-in-class mobile communications

While businesses are investing heavily in transformation programmes, they risk losing competitive advantage if their communications strategy impedes the pace of change. Business leaders must take note of new innovations in mobile voice communications that can drive revenue and enable smarter, more efficient ways of working


With the myriad of ways in which people can now contact your company, from phone calls and e-mail to Twitter and Facebook, your business needs to have an effective strategy for managing them all.

Top of the list must be voice. After all, when it really matters people pick up the phone. Customers expect a delay when they e-mail or tweet a company. But when they pick up the phone, be it to place an order or complain, they expect their call will be answered instantly, with qualified staff available to handle their inquiry. And in the context of business transformation, the best person to answer the call could be working across town, across the country or across the world.

That’s where Resilient comes in, the company behind the smartnumber services that have been driving transformation across 2,000 customers in the defence, retail and finance sectors for more than 15 years. Resilient has taken what it has learnt from these demanding industries and applied this insight to a new suite of mobile services that, for the first time, deliver true innovation to the business mobile user.

Available through BT, smartnumbers services help transform the agility and efficiency of businesses by integrating business processes right into the fabric of their communication services.

James Foley, vice president of customer experience at BT smartnumbers
James Foley, vice president of customer experience at BT smartnumbers

As James Foley, vice president of customer experience at BT smartnumbers, explains: “Considering it’s been 30 years since the first mobile phone call was made, there’s been little innovation around mobile voice services. We’ve changed that with the launch of BT smartnumbers mobile, which embeds mobile voice into all sorts of key business processes from relationship management, compliance, team-working and many more.”

Many of the BT smartnumbers mobile innovations are aimed at improving business performance through ease of use, increased staff productivity and simplified compliance. They work across all UK mobile networks, meaning that people can keep their SIM, their tariff and mobile number.

One such feature allows subscribers to have two separate mobile numbers on one device, without the need for a second SIM, benefitting both companies and their staff. Mr Foley says: “Fourteen million people in the UK carry two mobile phones to separate their business and personal communications. With the average cost of ownership of a corporate mobile phone at £32 per month, that represents £5.5 billion of additional spend. This is not only inconvenient to staff who have to carry two devices and expensive to the company which provided them, it’s also irresponsible environmentally.

“The two-phone model makes no sense. Instead, why not overlay a second mobile number on a single device? With BT smartnumbers mobile, business calls present a business mobile number and are charged to the company, while personal calls are charged to the user on the same handset. Staff never need to worry about checking or charging two phones again.”

There are clear business benefits too. Not only does it avoid the cost of having to provide a dedicated business mobile, it also means that as staff leave the business, taking their personal mobile number with them, the company retains the business number. And in the world of customer service if you keep the number, you keep the customer.

Taking the issue of customer service one step further, many organisations are looking at how to improve their customer engagement by tracking all communications, including mobile communications, directly on to their customer relationship management (CRM) system.

“Organisations are investing heavily in CRM systems such as Salesforce.com to try to obtain a 360-degree view of the customer. But it has been incredibly hard to track these conversations over employees’ mobile devices. And as the business becomes more mobile, the amount of potentially untracked communication increases,” says Mr Foley.

BT smartnumbers can reduce or eliminate this CRM black spot by automatically recording all calls and SMS texts between customers and staff working on their mobile devices. For training and quality purposes, the conversations can be recorded and accessed via CRM so management can review overall customer engagement, as well as tracking the performance and effectiveness of their mobile sales teams.

Mobile call recording is not only important for management, but in many sectors it’s a compliance imperative too. In fact, the market for mobile voice recording is set to increase dramatically.

In 2018, a European directive known as MiFID II comes into force, making it obligatory for even more financial services firms to record their business mobile calls. Under MiFID II, anybody involved in giving financial advice that may lead to a trade will need to have their mobile conversations recorded and securely archived for five years. This includes financial advisers, wealth managers and, in practice, any staff in the sector who provide investment advice over the phone.

BT smartnumbers allows businesses to drive the pace of change, enabling them to become more mobile without compromising customer service, revenue or reputation

“Unless businesses plan carefully, they could fall foul of new European data protection rules, as while more business calls will need to be recorded, personal calls must remain strictly private. This is exactly the sort of business problem that BT smartnumbers mobile was designed to solve.  We’re tackling this requirement head-on with the launch of BT smartnumbers Vault as the secure online repository for storing business call recordings without the need for on-premises equipment or IT personnel,” says Mr Foley.

One of the outcomes of business transformation inevitably is the change in working practices towards an agile, more efficient organisation. Central to this are teams that collaborate towards shared goals.

And yet team-working has, until now, been a real challenge for the mobile worker. Callers either reach the intended recipient or are given the option to leave voicemail. Waiting for your call to be returned is not exactly business at the speed of thought.

“With BT smartnumbers mobile, we’ve taken the key features of the corporate voice network and extended these across the mobile estate. In this way, callers benefit from staff delegating their calls to team or co-workers when they’re busy or unavailable, with instant alerts to inform all parties that important calls were handled effectively. In this way organisations can become more mobile without compromising revenue or reputation,” says Mr Foley.

After years of hype and a great deal of inaction, the promise of fixed and mobile convergence is finally at hand, bringing with it improved customer service, increased agility and greater business efficiencies.

BT smartnumbers services are available in the UK from BT and other resellers.

For more information go to www.btsmartnumbers.com or call us on 020 3162 3030