One of the big cost-saving benefits for businesses when switching their phone system to a VoIP based solution is they can instantly allow their "desk based" call center employees to work from a home office.
This saves the company the overhead of maintaining an expensive office cubicle and opens up the potential labor pool to a whole lot of qualified U.S. based call center employees who are glad to "do a quality job for less" so long as they can work from a home office.
This single benefit is one of the biggest reasons many businesses are bringing off-shore call center jobs back to the U.S. that had, in past years, been outsourced to India, the Philippines or some other far away land where they "kind of speak English" but not completely -- and not to the satisfaction of your upset customers calling into your call center.
The big purchase decision question for businesses trying to properly outfit home office employees so they can tap into the new VoIP enabled office phone system is "How expensive of a phone do home workers need?"
Well if the home-office employee is the CEO of the company, then the most expensive phone that Polycom sells. But what about your call center employees that don't have stock options?
Many VoIP and SIP phone vendors will tell you that you don't need to buy your home-office workers a phone at all, saying "the beauty of our VoIP phone solution is all your home office people need is our 'soft phone' that appears right on the screen of their computer".
Well, in theory, soft phones work just fine -- until the soft phone user has opened up 27 browser windows on their computer or you get confused about using the keyboard and mouse for both their phone call and order fulfillment on their computer at the same time.
Combining your computer and phone keyboards or trying to get your computer to be a phone is really a recipe for inefficiancy and "angry at the IT guy" home office employees.
Split the Different for WAY UNDER $200!
The most important phone feature for your at-home worker is the ability to work hands free. Whether your home-based employee is a call center worker keying an order into their computer or your highest paid sales person just needing to wave his or her hands while giving an empassioned sales pitch, you'll likely not find a "work at home phone" that better splits the cost difference than the Plantronics CT14.
The list price is $160 but your local telecom consultant will likely be able to get you a significant discount.
Using the new and uncluttered DECT 6.0 technology, the CT14 is most perfect for the home-office worker that has longer phone calls as it gives them the ability to walk around (up to 300 feet from the base station) and still use their hands in a crystal clear phone call.
Check Out the Video Below to See the Phone in Action!
Does the CT14 Phone Need an Extra Phone Line to Work? Yes and No...
For best overall home-worker happiness, the Plantronics CT14 does need to plug into a phone jack to draw dial tone so they can dial-into the office VoIP phone system. If your home office employee has a home phone line to use that doesn't get residential calls all day then that's one option. If the company doesn't mind paying $50 to $75 a month for a second dedicated POTS phone line that's a second option.
A third option that is saving many businesses serious money is the Ooma, netTALK or magicJack "black box" option.
Instead of subscribing to a monthly phone line service from the a phone or cable company, Ooma, netTALK or magicJack each provide a gadget than plugs into an open port on your home office employees' Internet router and then into any home phone -- including the Plantronics CT14. Which service is best? Compare & choose. For most any of the three (or similar) will work fine.
(Yes, I agree that using a magicJack-like phone device for a business purpose seems kind of hokey, but they do work...)
Don't Forget to Buy From Your Local Telecom Dealer
Sure, everything's cheaper on the Internet but the "Internet" rarely makes personal consulting calls to your business to help you out of a jam during your next big technology emergency. Please feel free to educate yourself about what's possible by letting your mouse finger do the clicking when it comes to shopping, but when you're ready to buy, please buy from your local telecom dealer -- even if you have to pay them a couple extra bucks!
You're both be happier and more profitable in the long run because you'll both be watching out for the profitability of each other's business.