Posts Tagged ‘voice mail’

successThe good news is that productivity in the American workforce is near an all time high. The bad news is that we are busier than we have ever been without much hope for seeing things slow down in the short term. Now is the time to use technology to streamline a process, increase customer retention and make it easier for your customers to give you their money. Let’s take your telecommunication system as an example.

Let’s make some basic assumptions and see if we can find a resolution.

  • Customers who call in want a question answered or problem solved. Unfortunately, voice mail is not the answer. Voice mail will document their concern but can never address it. Ignoring and being unresponsive to voice mails will only aggravate your customers. The answer is to leverage the mobility solutions inherent in the more advanced VoIP systems. Find Me-Follow Me and IP Mobility come to mind.  Find Me-Follow Me allows your extension to ring initially but if unanswered, will ring your mobile device. If you are busy or can not answer on your mobile, the caller returns to your company’s voicemail (not your cell phone provider) where they can leave a message or zero out to the operator. IP Mobility works in conjunction such that when you are talking to your customer on your mobile device, you have all the features inherent to your desk set such as, transfer to another extension, record the call, send it back to your desk phone and more. You may even initiate business calls from your mobile device in which the call is routed though your VoIP phone system. The caller receives the Caller ID of your business, thus keeping your mobile number private.
  • If a customer wants to buy something or pay for something, let them. This may seem obvious but so many telecommunications systems are not programmed to provide this level of client interaction. Customers willing to spend money with you are sent to your employee’s voice mailbox. When the call is eventually returned, the customer may be unavailable or unwilling to part with their money. Programming options available to remedy this situation are:
    • Group Ringing with Overflow. Callers to certain departments; sales, billing and the like, ring at all phones associated with that department. If unanswered, calls will ring at overflow positions where the call can be handled in an “as needed” fashion.
    • Linear Hunt Groups. Callers to a department will be sent initially to those in the department best suited to assist them. If there are more callers than department personal, additional callers will be sent to stations who can help out as needed.
    • Uniform Call Distribution. Callers to a certain department are sent to a pilot number. Personell taking the calls are logged in as agents. Calls are distributed evenly among the agents. Callers not answered are put in a queue and answered in the order received while occasionally reminded that their call is important. 

Whatever method best suits your company’s needs is not important. What is important is that all callers are given a chance to talk and interact with your employees. Problems are addressed, questions are answered and money is spent. Take a fresh look and see if your telecommunications platform is part of the problem or part of the solution.

Every four years it’s leap year. Yes, I know that there is no leap year at the turn of the century; unless that year is divisible by 400. Anyway, we get an extra day this year. What shall we do with it? How about giving your business phone system a 48 month check up?

When you had your new phone system installed you’d have been lucky if it were designed correctly to make it easy for your customers to buy from you and hopefully easy for them get their billing questions answered so that they can pay you. Making it easy for your clientele to deal with your company is the key to customer retention.

As technology changes and competition for business increases, it behooves you to update how your business telephone system interfaces with your revenue stream; your customer base. Take this extra day to do a mental inventory. Ask yourself:

  • Are my incoming lines answered in a timely manner or are my customers hanging up and calling my competitors?
  • Is my Auto Attendant helpful or just annoying?
  • Does my voice mail tell my callers anything other that, “I’m either away from my desk or on the telephone”?
  • Is my system designed to get the callers to someone who can help them or just their voice mail?
  • Are my remote workers connected to my company via their smartphone? 
  • Am I using today’s technology (SIP, Unified Communications, Mobility) to add to my bottom line?
  • Do people find it easier to e-mail me than to call me?

If you answered yes, no or maybe to any of the above questions, that may be a reason to get the 48 month check up. Give us a call at 815-282-5151 or e-mail us (if you find it easier, oops!) at  If that be the case maybe we need to take the day off for a little check up ourselves.

Telephones have been around for over 130 years. It is not surprising that over that century and a quarter a few incorrect assumptions have surfaced. Today we will attempt to shine the light of day on what we believe are the 10 myths about telephone systems.

1. Video Conferencing is too expensive.

In years past that was true. You needed tens of thousands of dollars in specialized equipment and dedicated point to point T1 lines for bandwidth. With today’s low priced cameras and gigabits of inexpensive bandwidth, video conferencing can be affordable for the smallest companies.

2. Self Administration software is helpful if you have a dedicated IT person.

Today’s feature rich applications are designed to be sold to the small business owner. Developers realize this and design the interface to be accessible for even the most novice user.

3. Every system needs Voice Mail.

I am not a big fan of pink slips. I am less of a fan of those who hide behind their Voice Mail. If your business is designed accordingly and has the dedication to customer service, you can function without voice mail. Remember, Voice Mail does not help your customers, it only documents their problem. People solve problems. Get the callers to the right people and see you problems diminish.

4. A receptionist is a waste of money.

As we stated in number 3, you can have a company that chooses not to use Voice Mail. If so, they wouldn’t necessary need a receptionist, but they do need someone to answer first time callers and be available to help customers whose primary contact in the company is unavailable. Having someone work an hour a day and then spend their time filing their fingernails and reading romance novels is not a good idea. Not having anyone to answer when customers call to spend money is far worse.

5. Voice Recording is only practical at the Police Station.

With the drastic cost reductions in hard drive storage and the advancements made in speech compression, voice recording also known as voice documentation can be affordable to almost everyone.  If you don’t think you’re a candidate ask yourself what the financial impact would be if you could reduce order errors? Could you improve customer service if you knew first hand what their experience was? Does your staff make it easy for your customers to buy things from you? The questions go on but the answer may just be voice documentation.

6. Pure IP is always the smart solution.

I’m all in favor of IP phone systems with their laundry list of applications. When it comes to IP, versus digital, telephone sets; that depends on the application. Pure IP may require re-wiring your building to Cat5e or Cat6a cabling, installing QOS routers, POE switches, setting up a V-LAN. If you don’t know these acronyms, you’ll need to hire an IT person to help design your network. If you do understand these acronyms, ask yourself if the investment is worth the reward.

7. Signing a 5 year contract for Network Services is a better deal than signing a 3 year contract.

Historically pricing for comparable Network Services has dropped since Alexander Graham Bell called Watson. Additionally, if new offerings arise that may prove a better fit for your company, those last two years may seem like an eternity.

8. Dealing with a large company is superior to dealing with a small one.

Small companies can give you local personalized service, quick response and in-house billing resolution. Larger companies tend to focus on larger accounts, have defined response procedures and corporate billing resolution. If you think the little guy can do the job and be there when you need them, give him a chance.

9. Never lease, always pay cash.

Leasing may be the way to go depending on your company’s income, expenses, debt and other factors. Talk to your accountant and ask them the benefits and arguments for and against leasing. It just may make their day.

10. Maintenance Contracts are a waste of money.

Today most Maintenance Contract costs are calculated on the actual risk involved. They’re a good idea if you want to buffer and budget for unexpected costs. If your company’s finances can take a little feast or famine occasionally, that’s another story.

We’ve just debunked 130 years of myths. At the rate technology is evolving, we’ll need to address this in about 130 days.