How often are you on the phone at your job? An hour a day? A few minutes a day? Or do you feel like you’re almost constantly on the phone?
Some positions require more phone time than others—especially sales positions, where talking to other people from a distance is a near-constant occurrence. If you’re in one of these positions, your ability to efficiently and conveniently communicate will directly affect your performance—so if you want to be better at your job, you’ll need the right tech in your corner.
Important Tech Investments for Phone-Intensive Positions
These are some of the most important investments you’ll make for your phone-heavy career:
- A better phone. One of the most important investments for you is going to be the phone you use to make calls. Most people these days rely on smartphones for business communication, since they’re loaded with other apps and features, but don’t neglect phone-related features like international calling capabilities, audio quality, and compatibility with other devices. Look for a phone and a carrier with a good reputation for sustaining consistent communication, and don’t be afraid to pay a little extra for greater storage capacity and faster processing (for all the peripheral features you’ll be using).
- A visual voicemail system. Visual voicemail sounds like an oxymoron, but it has the potential to dramatically increase your availability and productivity. This minor tech upgrade will allow you to capture any incoming voicemails you aren’t able to address immediately, transcribe them, and send them to your email for further categorization. With so many communication channels available, you’ll need some way to integrate them (and hold yourself accountable for following up with your inbound calls).
- A contact management system. Chances are, it isn’t just one person that you’re spending the majority of your time on the phone with. Instead, you’re probably dealing with dozens of contacts over the course of a day and hundreds over the course of a year. That’s a lot to keep up with, which is why you need an intuitive and flexible customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. You’ll have to put some money down on licensing, but the ability to keep all your client notes in one place is well worth the costs.
- High-quality headphones. If you plan on talking on the phone hands-free, while you’re driving, or while you’re on the go, consider investing in some high-quality headphones with built-in microphones. These will help you understand the conversation better, and communicate more clearly to your recipients. You may even find headphones with more built-in, advanced features to make communicating easier.
- Backup messaging systems. Even if phone calls are your preferred communication medium, you won’t be available to take calls 100 percent of the time. You’re going to need some backup messaging systems in place, including instant message chat-based apps for your coworkers and internal team, and centralized platforms for managing projects directly with clients. These will serve you well if your phone ever experiences difficulty connecting, and can back up the majority of your conversations.
- Apps for international calls. Even if you don’t regularly make international phone calls, it pays to install at least one app capable of making international calls. You never know when you might need to travel to another country, or when a prospect from another client opens conversations with your business.
How to Make Better Investments
Knowing what types of tech you need to be successful is just one step of the process. You’ll also need to take measures to make the right investments, in the right tech:
- Try before you buy. Before you make any commitments, try the technology yourself and gauge how it feels. You might be surprised to learn how some tech operates differently than it claims.
- Appreciate the learning curve. Understand that you may not be able to master or fully understand a new platform before it’s embedded in your daily routine. On the other hand, if a platform seems ridiculously hard to learn, it may be best to avoid it. Try to estimate the learning curve you anticipate.
- Experiment. Don’t assume your selection of tech is the best—experiment with different options before you complete your ideal setup.
- Keep looking forward. Stay tuned to the latest tech blogs to discover and learn about the latest tech developments to try.
With the right tech in place, you’ll be able to make more high-quality calls, and enjoy better conversations with your customers and coworkers, all while spending less money and making your life more convenient. It’s an element of your job that you can’t afford to ignore, so prioritize your acquisition and management of tech—and you’ll start seeing incrementally better results almost immediately.