This week we are showing small businesses how to increase sales and retain customers through better communications.
We constantly help our small business clients implement some basic technology to help them make the most out of one of their most critical business tools: the phone system.
Increasing sales while keeping the bottom line intact two things that all businesses, especially small businesses, struggle with on a daily basis.
As a small business, you constantly compete with larger businesses and other small businesses for customer share. Competition is fierce, as customers know they can look at many different options to purchase their goods and services.
So how do you attract new business without decreasing the level of support you currently provide your customers? Better yet, how can you improve your level of service to existing customers so they become repeat customers and “tell-a-friend” about the great service that they have received from you? How can your sales staff or mobile workers become better connected to the office so they can be on top of situations as they occur?
And perhaps most important of all, how can you control costs while doing all of this?
Imagine a potential customer who is calling in order to get hold of pricing information for a particular item of interest. The first hurdle they must overcome is getting someone to answer the phone. Unfortunately lunch hour, coffee or bathroom breaks, and office administrative tasks can interfere with this.
As a result phones can remain unanswered, ringing endlessly, or callers are dropped into the operator’s or admin’s voicemail. These days, people expect better. They demand a very high level of customer service, more than 9 to 5 support, and immediate resolutions to queries.
Those callers who are used to instant answers hang up the phone and try the next company on the search engine page. The odds are you’ve lost a customer forever.
But what about those who do get past the first hurdle? The phone’s been answered. The admin may know to whom the call is routed, but then the same issue arises. Now, the phone on someone else’s desk rings and if they aren’t there it is dropped right back to voicemail. Again your customer more than likely has moved on to another company – looking for that immediate response.
If you have gone through the trouble of setting up a business to sell a product or service, you owe it to yourself to ensure that you make it as easy as possible for people to do business with you. Making it easy for people to contact your company is essential and puts you a step closer to selling your products and providing exceptional service.
What you need is to implement some basic technology to help your company make the most out of one of your most critical business tools: the phone system. And this is where Pinnacle can really help.
There are a whole range of areas that smaller businesses should look at to improve the customer experience through things such as call distribution, mobile communications, roaming, and innovative networking solutions.
To start with, when your phone rings, there is no reason why that call shouldn’t be immediately and automatically routed to the appropriate person or group, eliminating the time needed for someone to manually complete the task.
An easy way to determine the best routes for your automated system is to set up a simple chart. Write the date along the horizontal axis and leave space for the reason for the call on the vertical.
For a week or two have your front line staff quickly jot down the reason for each call: those answered and those dropped to the admin or operator voicemail. At the end of the monitoring period you should have a fairly good idea of what people are calling about. From there, you can develop your automated attendant by grouping and tallying the results.
It’s a very simple exercise, but now you have a situation where callers can bypass the endless ringing at the front desk and route themselves to their area of interest: be it customer-based or personal calls. If a caller does have a request that is out of the ordinary, they still have the option of speaking to a live operator by pressing “0”.
What this means for you is that the front line staff who was previously spending a significant portion of their day routing calls is now free to concentrate on other tasks. Essentially, you’ve gained a more productive employee with more time for other company business. This can only benefit your bottom line.
What if your needs are greater? Your auto attendant can forward to a department, but what if that department has more than one person who can respond to a call?
Call distribution solves this problem for you. Ring groups can be programmed to have termination points, such as if the call is not answered in a certain amount of rings it should be sent to voicemail or another answer point. This increases the chances of someone being available to answer the call.
Or there is ‘hunting’ where a call can search through a pre-programmed sequence of telephone extensions, terminating at the first free one it finds.
There are many such communications issues that especially small businesses struggle with on a daily basis. But the easiest and most cost-effective way to change is by unifying your communications. We offer numerous options for small businesses, allowing them to compete and excel in a competitive market.