This is a guest post from Edwin J. Frondozo (VP of Marketing at Slingshot)
With the new competitive landscape, due to the internet, how do you stand out from the crowd? What can you offer that gives you a competitive advantage?
One thought here could be providing a toll-free number for your customers to contact you on. Perhaps having a digital receptionist along with departments and extensions to make you sound larger than you currently are
Here is a brief summary of the features and benefits of a professional business telephone system for your startup.
- Instant Credibility
Having a toll-free number instantly give your business national presence. By having a number that is accessible everywhere, you immediately cut the competition that are also located outside your customer’s core market.
- Customers First
How much would your customers appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to put in place a toll-free telephone number, which they can use to get a hold of you. With a toll-free number, there are no long distance charges, and a customer service first organization.
Your customers know the cost it takes to improve their business. They hire companies and consultants to provide solutions that will lower cost and increase efficiency. Having a supplier or partner that has invested some time and money to put in place a proper telephone solution reflects well on themselves. Ultimately, nobody wants to work with a company that does not value the cost of efficiency.
How are your customers being greeted when calling into your organization? Are the calls being answered on a mobile phone? Or perhaps it goes directly to the voicemail. Or maybe you have someone like a receptionist answering the calls. But worst case scenario, they are getting a busy signal.
However it is, there is an instant perception of what and how your business operates. If you are answering on your cell phone in a coffee shop, it sounds like you are a one-man show. If the phone rings busy, it sounds like you do not have enough lines or not the right equipment.
With that, how does your company sound like when someone calls? Or even a better question, when was the last time you called your own business phone number?
Here are the benefits that you can get from having a digital receptionist of your own:
- Greet Your Customers
A professional phone system will always greet your customers with a custom message like:
“Thank you for calling Widgets ABC, if you know your parties extension, please dial it now, otherwise press 1 for sales, 2 for support….”
Not only are you providing exceptional customer service, you are giving your company and brand a professional sound.
- Give callers a Message
Along with greeting and announcing your business name, you can also tell customers your location, office hours, and alternate numbers that you can be reached at.
If you take many inbound sales calls, then perhaps you can provide the phone number for the after-sales support that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Set an Interactive Menu
This would be for the more complex and elaborate phone systems, but it can definitely help your company if your business has specific “departments”, like sales, support, or billing, have the digital receptionist route the calls accordingly, even if it goes to the same person.
I touched upon departments briefly in part 3 of the last section. Within an enterprise environment, it is logical to separate employees into specialized teams:
- Sales Department
- Customer Service
- Technical Support
Within these teams, each employee understands their role and responsibilities which ultimately gets the customer to the right person immediately, which results with a happy customer.
But the typical startup founder wears all multiple “hats” in the organization – from sales, support, to billing. If you are lucky, you have one or two team members or co-founders that you can rely on the share of the workload responsibilities.
In the ideal scenario, a potential customer calls in and is directed to the appropriate department (sales, support, etc.) and either the co-founder and/or team member who can handle the specific questions or enquiry regarding their product and service. And it works great the other way around, knowing what option the customer pressed, you will know what type of call it is and how to answer it.
With some tinkering around. You will not only differentiate yourself from the crowd, but you will also be providing exceptional customer service through your systems and processes.
With that, there are many more things that a phone system can do for your business as you grow like adding conference bridges, extensions for all employees to unify your teams, sales queues, and digging deep into analytics to understand your call usage.
About the author
Edwin J. Frondozo is VP of Marketing at Slingshot.
Slingshot is a cloud based, communications service provider offering business VoIP phone service to small and medium sized enterprises. Slingshot is business phone systems. Simplified.