Communication between staff, customers and stakeholders has always been a vital cog in the wheel that keeps small business moving. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of communication more than ever. As business owners wrestle with challenging circumstances, including forced shutdowns, restrictions on services and a distributed workforce, maintaining contact is essential to survival.
Many business owners have found their existing communications solutions don’t provide the services they need to stay in touch. With millions of employees now working remotely, businesses static landlines are missing the mark. Many companies are now considering making a move to cloud-based phone systems, but it’s not as simple as comparing price and features.
Here’s what you need to consider before switching to a cloud-based phone service
What is essential to your business?
Understanding what’s important to your business will help you narrow down whether you need just a primary phone line or a more sophisticated cloud phone system. Whether you’re working from home or you have staff working remotely, it’s essential to be able to take calls at home while using a normal ‘work’ phone number. Cloud makes this easy.
Megan Hodge, founder of Your Wealthy Life, a financial planning service based in Gawler, says making the shift to a remote setup was simple as she had a cloud-based phone service.
“Now we have this professional landline number; it’s helped remove everything coming through me for the business. When we had to shift to working from home, it really helped in the sense of, if I can’t get to the phone, the call will still be answered [thanks to all my staff having access to CloudLine],” she said.
Call handling was easy, and she did not need to upgrade her service. Megan says staff could simply download the CloudLine app to make and receive calls straight from their smartphone. While she simply packed up her office cordless phone and plugged it into to her home network – no tech support required!
What is essential for customer experience?
Customer experience is the next significant consideration. Your phone service is part of your business process, and getting that right makes it easy for customers to do business with you. Some specific goals include:
Reduce missed calls
It’s a fact that customers want to be able to reach you and your business whenever they please. A Consumer Reports study found 75 per cent of people said they are highly annoyed if they can’t get someone on the phone in a reasonable amount of time. If you miss a call, you’re missing out on customers. According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, businesses that reply quickly to a customer are seven times more likely to make a sale.
Manage increasing call volumes
The coronavirus crisis has caused a massive shift in the way Australians work and run their businesses. Many business owners are now operating from their homes. This means they are fielding an increasing number of phone calls, especially for taking orders and managing customer service. By utilising a business phone system, you can opt to create custom messages to take some of the pressure off. This frees you up to get back to business rather than fielding calls about operating hours.
Calls reach the right person
A single main line can become a bottleneck and point of frustration for customers. With a phone system, you can set up automated routing so that calls are directed to the right person, every time. Opting for a cloud-based phone system can keep you connected with your remote team and makes it simple to stay in touch. The option to use mobile apps for calling means that even mobile delivery staff can stay connected and contactable. So, there’s no rush for your team to come back into the office. Customers benefit too, as queries can be directed to the right person for the right advice.
When shopping for a business phone system, it’s easy to get ‘sold’ a bunch of features and hardware that you don’t need. Please keep it simple, think about what’s driving you to consider a cloud phone system and weigh up how critical phones are for your business process.
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