How to Make Your SMB Appear as a Fortune 500

In a previous article, we considered how an entrepreneur of small business could operate from their personal mobile phones. We considered the products on the market that facilitated this and the features that each provided. However, sometimes a small business is looking for a means to grow credibility in the eyes of their prospective customers. They will want to appear larger than they are, to be well established having a local or regional presence.

Yet many SMBs fail to understand that the first point of contact, usually the prospective customer’s first telephone call can destroy than image immediately. There is nothing gives a customer a poorer user experience than waiting as the telephone rings for ages before someone finally answers or worse never answered at all.

With today’s technology that should never happen, even a small business can afford to invest in a virtual telephone system to manage incoming calls so that no call goes unanswered. Virtual phone systems such as Grasshopper or RingCentral Professional can answer an incoming call on the 2nd or 3rd ring and welcome the caller with a customized greeting and furnish them with a menu of options in the form of a list extensions or departments. For example, ‘Press 2 for Sales, 3 for Accounts, etc’.

These virtual inbound call management systems are well within the budgets of even small SMBs or startups because the alternative costs in lost business through unanswered calls is both expensive in lost opportunity and reputation and is easily avoidable. A virtual telephone system will not make your business appear as a Fortune 500 but it will at least make it appear as a business.

In order to take the next leap forward in order to convey to the customer an image of a much larger, well establish organization will require a bit more work and investment. This is where cloud hosted IP PBX system’s can be of assistance as they have all the features that were once only available to large enterprises with deep pockets. Nowadays, cloud based software and services make it possible for SMBs to take advantage of the economies of scale and provide their customers with an improved user experience.

There are key features and tools that large companies use to make communication with their customer’s as painless for the customer as possible:

  • Toll free and Local Numbers – These are self-explanatory as a customer is far more likely to call a free or local number than a potentially expensive national number. By providing the customer’s the options of toll free or even a local number will increase the likelihood of calls considerably. Furthermore most virtual IP/PBX providers supply Toll Free, Local and International numbers, which you can use to establish a presence in that area – even if it is just in the customer’s mind.
  • An auto-attendant\receptionist – The importance of a professional auto-attendant to manage incoming calls cannot be overstated. It is vital that you get the greeting professionally recorded, and worded. After all this will be the first contact the customer may have with the company so make sure the greeting is welcoming and the menu well presented to the customer. The menu similarly should be not just welcoming but not too daunting or confusing with too many layers of sub-menus for them to navigate.
  • Click-to-Dial – By placing Click-to-Dial, or Click-to-Chat icons on the company website or on advertising collateral encourages customers to call as it is a free VoIP call, and therefore the company’s physical location is irrelevant.
  • Multiple Communication Channels – by offering customers’ the option of either calling, chatting via messenger, emailing or submitting an online support or sale query enhances the customer’s image of the company. By presenting the customer with a choice of communication channels, you are inviting them to contact you through whatever means is convenient to them and by doing so indicating your willingness to engage with your customers.
  • Call queuing – How you handle call-queuing is another important area where you can unintentionally frustrate customers. PBX’s with advanced call queuing features can alleviate al lot of the pain points if configured correctly.
  • Music-on-hold – the choice of the music you select to be played when a customer is on hold is important as it also conveys an image of the company to the caller. So it is best to go check what other large companies in your field play to their callers as they have typically invested in research to determine the optimal type of music to affect mood and create the correct ambience.
  • Call Center – If you have a call center then proper call center features sets are imperative such as Call Park, so that you can safely park a call while you chat with another agent – rather than cup your hand over the microphone. Other required features that will reflect well with the customers user experience is skill based routing so that you deliver them first time to an agent with the appropriate skills to assist them.
  • Call Conferencing – If you are doing B2B then having a capable voice and video call conferencing service is vital in providing a good impression.

The most impressive IP PBX’s on the market provide you with all the tools you require to build a convincing presence and business profile. Therefore, to let you see how, let’s look at some of them and see what features and tool they have that we can use to build your professional image in a convincing way.

 

RingCentral

Probably the most feature rich and comprehensive IP PBX service on the market provides all of the required features and services at a reasonable monthly subscription fee. Ring Central provides advances voice and video conferencing, multi-media communication channels along with professional call center features and a choice of Toll Free, Local and International numbers.

Read full review | Visit RingCentral’s website

 

Fonality

A cloud or on-premises IP/PBX that is probably the best customer service/contact center IP/PBX by some distance. Fonality provides you with all the features necessary to run a professional contact center as well as having comprehensive administration and management tools. Fonality offer local, Toll Free and International numbers as well as voice/video conferencing and all the multi-media communications channels.

 

Alasdair Gilchrist

Alasdair is a technical writer with interest in business practice, operational strategy, start up philosophy and affordable technology. He lives in Nonthaburi, Thailand with his wife and daughter, and writes terrible novels as a hobby.

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