Ask any startup or look at any photo of a startup office space and you won't see a Desk Phone in sight.
Young entrepreneurs have only ever known mobile phones, their whole life revolves around their mobile phone, and they simply don't have a need for any outdated technology.
Mobile phones have changed communication forever by allowing people to connect with friends, family, coworkers and customers, quickly and efficiently, but most importantly; from anywhere and at any time. So it begs the question why on earth would someone used to the freedom and flexibility of using a mobile phone want to tie themselves to a desk, trying to grapple with a curly lead attached to a lump of plastic? There is no sane reason on the planet.
Handset manufacturers are still selling well and they are throwing more in to marketing and bolstering their product line with even more features and functions than you could imagine, but their days are numbered. They and the VAR's that sell their product will tell you the Desk Phone is more convenient, more comfortable, ties into the office switchboard, can tell you the time and weather and stock prices, but in reality none of which betters the capability of a mobile phone.
CityStasher a young startup is typical. They have a really great service which solves two problems; finding you somewhere to leave your luggage when travelling and creating an income for spare space in high street businesses and hotels. It's a win, win opportunity and the founders who all met at University are working hard to grow this fantastic model. At no point did the directors consider Desk Phones as a solution to their communications dilemma.
As Jacob Wedderburn Day describes; "At our start-up (CityStasher), offering on-demand customer service is crucial. Handling customer calls was a challenge for us. We wanted a way to get a professional 020 London number, that sent calls to each of our co-founders. Until we found RipDialer, we just published our individual personal mobile numbers on the website!"
"RipDialer changed all this for us. It's been so easy to use, allowing us to organise who takes calls on each day, and seamlessly sending missed calls to the next number but also allowing us to keep our personal mobile numbers private when we call customers back. RipDialer is a top quality product. The RipDialer team were also very proactive and designed international numbers in to the solution for us to enhance our overseas business profile. Having met Mark and Michael in person, we know they're a professional team and they care about offering a great service. They've always been awesome at replying to our questions. I really couldn't recommend them highly enough."
The RIPDialer service and others out there, are simply extending the capabilities of the mobile phone to allow multi-number calling on the fly, in conjunction with PBX switchboard integration.
I just checked my own personal call logs for yesterday. I made 17 phone calls in total (5.5 hrs approx) to USA, UK and Spain. Three of those were conference calls with between 3 - 5 people on our conference bridge and some of the calls were over 45 minutes in length. Every one of these calls were made from my mobile phone and apart from the call to my wife, none using my personal mobile number, but instead either using my companies international numbers or my personal Spanish or UK virtual mobile numbers. I remember a couple of calls I made from my favourite high street cafe, and the rest from my office. As is my will, I often leave my desk chair and wander whist in conversation or sit in my armchair away from my desk depending on whether I need my PC.
In reality my desk phone is never used and is simply collecting dust and acting as a glorified 'post-it note' holder. Looking at my logs again I have made over 4,800 high quality calls over the current RIPDialer service from my mobile. I simply love my ability to quickly pull a contact from my; favourites, contact groups, recents list or the contacts list itself, and make that call using any of my business numbers, wherever I am. I don't have to think about internet and WiFi connectivity as the service hooks in to the mobile voice network and just works, every time. Yes I am biased, but believe me if it didn't work I wouldn't be using it - you can't make 4800 'crappy' quality phone calls - people just won't pick up if they are in for a poor quality experience.
"Call Centres", I hear the Desk Phone entourage cry! Correct I am not in a call centre environment, but the reality is the call centre is in for major changes over the coming months and will be hit from three different emerging technologies:
1. Mobile phone technology allows staff to work from anywhere. They are instantly connected unlike the hassle associated with routers and ISP internet connectivity to get Desk Phones working. I only have to mention 'Ports' and 'NAT' to any phone engineer to get them to come out in a sweat.
Mobile phones are independent units which will happily connect to the companies WiFi but equally work standalone either using a mobile data or voice connection. Points of failure and disaster recovery are simply not a consideration and even office moves are a breeze.
Mobile phones can drop in to a docking station if a user wants the comfort of a 'Curly Cord'!, or users can hook in earbuds or headphones.
2. Multi-appliance communications is a reality. Using headsets hooked in to PC's, tablets, cloud connected screens, and laptops some with touch screens and all offering PBX switchboard functionality and features including predictive dialing, means the Desk Phone is simply taking up desk space.
3. Probably the biggest disruptor to the call centre is going to be AI (Artificial Intelligence) many of the current and traditional call centre staff roles will be replaced by AI. Don't think this is years away, many of us are at an advanced stage of development and it will be available main stream some time this year. As one client said; "If I can simply turn a member of staff on or off with a switch, that is a huge benefit." In reality AI won't need; coffee breaks, sleep time, sick days or assessments, it will simply work 24/7 on either inbound or outbound.
Even Hotel Room phones will be lost to mobile technology, with companies like ourselves already supplying Guest solutions which hook guests directly to hotel departments from personal mobile phones, allowing them to; book Spa appointments, Restaurant tables, Taxi's or even Pizza a Takeaway, wherever they are in the Hotel complex. From the hotels perspective they save a fortune in not having to maintain handsets which no longer earn revenue from guest calls and they can also use the opportunity to promote special offers and events to all guests in a convenient, inexpensive, manner.
Startup's like CityStasher by their nature are street savvy. Most understand technology and how to use it effectively. They are often able to multi-task and understand social media interaction and the importance of communication. The majority of time that communication will be conducted on their mobile phone - in their world the 'curly cord' never existed - the desk phone is dead, long live the mobile!