Whether trying to manage staff absence through sickness or self-isolation, staying on top of the rollout of free school meals to children and young people in the community, monitoring pupil levels in school on a daily basis or communicating effectively with parents and pupils trying to learn and educate at home, there is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is challenging schools in unprecedented ways.
With so much to think about and communicate at the moment, is your phone system doing all it should do to make it as easy as possible for you to do so?
Modern communications system can lessen the burden on staff, pupils and parents by making it quicker and easier for each party to communicate with each other. Many schools have turned to VoIP phone systems over recent years, so how are their systems helping them communicate more effectively as we go through some of the most unpredictable times in living memory?
Support staff and boost morale through effective communication systems
Teachers are currently under an enormous amount of pressure whether they are still educating in the classroom or based at home trying to embrace the modern way and deliver lessons from the spare room.
Whilst a VoIP system cannot wave a magic wand and reduce those pressures, it can make it as easy as possible for staff to stay in touch with each other to share experiences and offer peer support through difficult times. Your VoIP system will ensure colleagues can reach out at the touch of a button.
How does that work in reality? They each have a handset that they plug into the internet from home; it then starts working! No calls on the home number and they’re able to unplug or turn it off at the end of the working day, or easily indicate when their classes are in session.
Use hunt groups to deal with reduced staffing
Many schools will be facing staff shortages due to Covid infection, self-isolation or lockdown restrictions. If this has impacted on your front-line reception staff, it’s understandable that call volumes can soon become overwhelming. To solve this, a VoIP system offers hunt group functionality: each phone in a ‘group’ will ring simultaneously when an incoming call is received, allowing any one of a number of team members to answer whether they’re based in the office or working from home. This means nobody is left bombarded with calls and those calling are dealt with in a quicker and more efficient manner – a win for everyone!
Reduce parent frustration by directing calls appropriately
At present, parents are dealing with significant pressures of their own; home schooling whilst conducting a full-time job is certainly no easy feat. When time is tight and pressure is high, the last thing your callers will want is to be left on hold or to speak with someone that doesn’t have the answers to their queries.
The auto-attendant functionality of a VoIP system can help direct parent calls to the most appropriate place quickly and efficiently so that they can get their query dealt with whilst reducing the frustration of reaching someone who cannot help. Identify the most common reasons for incoming calls, set up your menu options and relieve that pressure on staff and parents alike.
Give up to date and accurate information on Covid-19
The reality of any person answering the phone at your school is that they will often spend a lot of time answering very similar questions; can my children still come in? Do I qualify as a key worker? When will school open again? In order to answer some of your most common queries and alleviate the strain on reduced reception capacity, automated messages can be easily and quickly created that convey the answers to these questions, saving you and your parents valuable time.
We’ve been working with schools across the country for more than 30 years; if you’d like to talk to us about upgrading your phone system to meet current challenges please do get in touch with our expert team on 01237 420010.