The New Desk Phone
If we could mold the perfect desk telephone for you, what would it look like?
Maybe my buddy Dave Michaels has touched on something in his post, "Time To Re-invent the Desk Phone." Just make sure you change the right things for the right reasons.
Dave knows that the good ole' desk phone lasts a long time. Dave says that, "Buttons are for suckers." He has a point when he writes that, "'I will try to transfer you, but I might lose you' is an expression frequently uttered by people quite capable in a broad array of other tasks. So common that our response is typically one of sympathy rather than outrage." Then Dave goes on to add that soft buttons with more intuitive design need to be included.
I readily admit to selling multi-button phones to plenty of suckers. Interconnects screwed up early on selling phones without enough buttons (real estate) and expected customers to learn and remember "feature codes." Other dealers of various wares have often undersold to customers just to win the deals, with the rationale that the fewer buttons a phone has, the lower the cost. Our phones have a two-button process to transfer a caller to either a voice mailbox of an individual, or to an individual's phone extension or cell phone. The process is simple: after answering the call and depressing the "voice mail transfer button" and then depressing the user's "extension button" aka DSS/BLF, just hang up. That takes all of what two, three seconds?
Still, Dave is right in another sense, because the bigger the sucker, the more buttons he wants. For large enterprise users with hundreds or thousands of desk phones on location, they get suckered. They buy phones with fewer buttons, since they may not want workers having more buttons than a Director or VP who may use his phone less in call handling than the troops. So the call handling thing goes out the door. Am I generalizing? Maybe. Call control has been hashed and rehashed, but what about call handling?
Buttons are tied directly to call handling, and depending upon the business and nature of the business that you’re in, it's imperative to have enough buttons, and this is unlikely to change without other changes in thinking. Maybe when UC and phones become just one license, then perhaps we'll see a greater decline in phones manufactured with multiple buttons. Meaning the vendors want to monetize on their investments and at the same time they want to keep selling phones and the old molds and maintain some sort of proprietary element. Okay fine, but bundle everything into one and my bet is Dave's argument about buttons then becomes true--fewer buttons means fancier phones. Instead of managing licenses for phones and UC clients, please Mr. Factory man give me just one license, make it affordable and fair and in the background you can figure out how eliminating physical buttons on the desk phone will save you pennies on the button.
We've deployed both phones with buttons and UC clients in busy call environments and the users love having both--using their UC client to do the same exact process I described above with two mouse clicks or a third click to hang up if they are using a Bluetooth or other type of telephone headset.