Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Editor's note: In honor of National Receptionist's Day, our guest blogger is Jeffrey Noe, CEO at My Receptionist, which provides virtual receptionists and front office support services for small businesses. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
In our line of work, a technology hangup is on par with a dropped call, and in 2011, we realized it was time for an upgrade. We had a jumble of Microsoft products that didn’t work well together and made our day-to-day operations difficult. We needed a new platform that required fewer IT resources and helped our employees and clients communicate, collaborate and schedule better together. We experimented with Microsoft Office 365, but the pricing felt unnecessarily complicated and it relied too heavily on additional software to be the fully baked cloud solution we wanted. When we tried Google Apps, we immediately knew it was the right fit: not only was it cost-effective and easy to understand, but we could tell that Google had a more developed product and vision.
While the ease and popularity of Gmail was a key driver in our switch to Google Apps, Google Docs and Drive have completely changed the way we collaborate internally and with our clients. Before, we put our training material in plastic binders, which would then be sent out to 70 people, including clients. Every time we needed to make a change - even to one page - we would need to reprint 70 copies of each page and send new binders out. You couldn't help but sigh heavily when you had to update a piece of information or update a process, because it meant another trip to the printer. Now, with Google Docs, the process, printing and need for mailing disappeared entirely. We just go online, make the change in our doc, and rest assured that everyone has the same up-to-date training manual for immediate access.
Google+ Hangouts have also become a mainstay of our day. Every morning our executive team, which is split between our two offices, huddles on a Hangout. If someone is travelling, they’re patched in and don’t miss a thing. Hangouts are also tightly integrated with Google Calendar, so our meetings are just one click away.
Our virtual receptionists are the first line of contact between a lot of small businesses and their customers, so it’s essential that we give our employees the resources to stay up to date and be knowledgeable about our clients. Our receptionists may not give out candy or cold water to the folks they interact with, but with the help of Google Apps, they have the tools to make our clients - and their customers - happy.