The importance of being available for your customers and suppliers can’t be overstated and businesses that invest in their telecommunications are usually right at the top of the satisfaction rankings.
Mobile phones are a great thing but the much-promised connectivity often doesn’t turn up in the real world.
Whilst it should be a simple matter in practice to forward business calls from a landline to a mobile in reality this ends up with dropped connections and poor call quality.
Giving out your mobile number isn’t always the best option either as many customers don’t like calling mobile numbers because they still associate them with expensive call charges.
If you operate worldwide then the cost also puts people off calling a long-distance geographical landline number.
So how can businesses make sure that their suppliers can get them whenever they need to and that their phone solution doesn’t end up putting customers off?
The answer has to be VoIP.
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What is VoIP?
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a method of replicating and extending phone functionality but using the internet rather than traditional copper phone lines.
The good news is that although VoIP services are usually cheap, they replicate the functionality of very expensive enterprise-class telephone exchanges.
Where a standard phone uses hardware to connect the call, with VoIP, the software is used to both connect the call but add-in functionality that just isn’t available for a normal desk phone.
The VoIP functionality is added in different ways; some services are software only but others use adaptors or special phones that allow calls to be made over the net.
How does VoIP help businesses?
The aim for any business has to be seamless connectivity. If a customer has to phone several numbers, or calls but finds the number engaged then they will often move on to another company.
The more numbers you have for your business, the more confusing it is for your customers and suppliers and nobody wants to be transferred from person to person.
VoIP is designed to stop all of this, with one number finding you wherever you are and whatever device you are using.
To the caller, everything looks like a standard phone service but the benefits for both customer and company make it so much more than that.
The cost of a VoIP number is low (or often free) so a business can have one direct number per person or with some services can auto direct the call based on which customer is calling or where they are phoning from.
The call will then be put through to the employee whatever device they are using. For executives that might be a desk phone, for people out in the field their mobile or tablet and for call centres it could be their PC with a headset.
And a good VoIP system will allow you to move between devices and still retain the call so you could begin a voice-only call on your tablet, change to a video call on your phone and finally send files from your PC, all on the same call!
The business will also benefit from very low costs. Whilst tariffs vary it is normal for calls made within the same VoIP system to be free and charges are often only incurred when people call out to standard landline or mobiles.
This could mean that the business would have free employee to employee calls across the whole organisation.
One of the biggest reasons for using a good VoIP system is the functionality that it can bring.
Different services offer different features and as you would expect, the more you need the more it will cost but when compared to other methods of achieving the same thing, VoIP is almost always cheaper.
Using software to make calls means that you can usually integrate it with other systems like your CRM.
Staff can call out directly from their contact lists, log details of the call and even keep a recording of the call attached to the customer’s record.
For many companies, the biggest benefit of VoIP is the availability of analytics.
If you run an outbound call centre then it is important that you know how many calls are being made and the outcomes of these. With VoIP, you can capture this information.
For inbound call centres, it is important to know things like customer wait time and abandon rate so that you can assess the quality of service.
Advanced exchange features
A good VoIP service will include a suite of advanced exchange features that make managing communications simple.
Automatic call forwarding to different devices, menu systems, auto attendants and call queuing help manage inbound calls and direct them to the right person.
And of course, VoIP can be used to offer free inbound calls from customers for those all-important sales leads.
Being able to conference people in at the touch of a button makes group calling simple and video conferencing has become a staple of business life.
Not only will an excellent VoIP system accept voicemails but they can also be sent to email or texts so that the recipient knows they are waiting.
Advanced systems allow file transfers between callers, push to talk connectivity and have chat messaging allowing staff to talk with each other or to customers through things like chat boxes on websites.
The number of different functions available to VoIP users is increasing every year and if it doesn’t have what you want now then it is likely that the service will be along soon!
Voip – saves money, improves service.
VoIP can save your money, not just in terms of installation and call charges but also in the hidden costs associated with poor communications.
Your customers and suppliers will also appreciate the quality of service they get and will value the ability to get to the person they need to speak to and do so using voice or video.
There are so many good reasons to use VoIP that you really should checkout out now and improve your calls right away.