This post was guest authored by Cathy Habas
Offices might vary in their design and layout, but so many features are universal.
Desks or workstations, filing cabinets or shelves, computers, copiers, printers, and reams of paper, to name a few.
And there’s one other machine that used to be omnipresent in every office, but that has slowly faded away in some industries while never missing a beat in others: the fax machine.
Depending on the nature of your business, the fax machine might get a healthy workout each and every day.
Companies in the healthcare, law or education fields are particularly reliant on hard copies of documents despite the colossal shift toward cloud file storage. Thus, sending documents via fax machine is easier than sending them via email.
Then again, there are fax machines that rarely ever get used and are shoved to the side or located in some obscure corner of the office.
Whenever the rare need to send a fax arises, a bit of panic sets in — how does this thing work again? Did it really go through? Did the machine break??
Finally, some offices have fully embraced mobile technology and cloud sharing to the point where even those ubiquitous industrial copiers and printers are nowhere to be found.
And a fax machine? Please. Why bother?
Two Worlds That Need to Stay Connected
Where does your business fall on the spectrum of “fax machine love”? Do you regularly use a fax machine, or can you count on one hand the number of times you’ve ever sent a fax in your life?
Well, if you don’t like to send faxes, you can just never send faxes. Easy, right? No need for a fax machine at all!
Not so fast – if you’re conducting business with someone who loves to send faxes, they’ll need a way to send them to you, and that means you’ll need to have a fax machine dusted off, fired up and at the ready.
Whenever two businesses with polar opposite preferences for fax machines try to send documents to one another, one of them is bound to be unhappy. And when you’re trying to cultivate a healthy business partnership or serve a client, happiness and satisfaction is a big deal.
Think about it this way: the person who prefers email has to print off a hard copy and send it through the fax machine. Anything received via fax then has to be scanned to the computer in order to upload it into their files.
When the person who prefers to use hard copies (and thus prefers to receive documents by fax) receives an email, they will print a hard copy for their files.
To them, it would be easier to just pull the papers straight from the fax machine than to have to go into their email. And to send something by email means having to scan it to the computer too.
Can these two worlds be reconciled?
Online Faxing Is a Genius Compromise
Yes! There is a solution that can keep both sides happy, and it’s called online faxing, Internet faxing or email-to-fax.
When you sign up for an online faxing system, you get a fax number. But here’s the amazing part: whenever someone sends a fax to your number, the document is actually sent to you as an email attachment.
And when you want to fax resources to someone, you enter their fax number followed by the “at” symbol and the domain name of your Internet fax service provider, and voila! The document is churned out on the recipient’s fax machine.
No one ever has to know the difference. You can quickly and efficiently send faxes without ever laying a finger on a fax machine.
What does that mean for you? It means you can save money by not having to pay for the:
- Fax machine
- Paper (for receiving faxes and for printing hard copies to send)
- IT troubleshooting
It also allows you to stay more focused by quickly sending a file while you sit at your desk. You don’t need to get distracted by having to get everything assembled for a fax.
Online faxing allows you to send and receive documents in a way that is convenient to you (email), while also allowing your business partner or client to send and receive documents in a way that is convenient to them (fax).
Neither of you will experience any disruption to your normal filing system thanks to online faxing.
Most email-to-fax service providers also have mobile apps, which make it easier than ever to send documents while you’re on the go. Just retrieve the file from your cloud storage, send it off in an email and you’re done! No need to wait until you’re back at the office or pay to use a public fax machine.
Author Bio: Cathy Habas is a full-time freelance writer and editor. Naturally curious, she will write about virtually any topic, although she has extensive experience in writing about behavioral health. Cathy is based in Louisville, KY but works with clients from around the globe to help them reach new audiences. Special thanks for service company eFax Australia for a few inputs to this post.