Small businesses have a lot to gain from using the right phone service provider with their operations. The absence or under use of phone services cost businesses billions of dollars in opportunity costs annually. Making proper use of the right features of phone services can improve productivity through enhanced communication. Small business owners wishing to get the most value from their phone service plans and entrepreneurs starting a call center should understand which features they need. Here is a list of the best features to look for from a small business phone service provider.
Audio Conference Calls
One feature that can benefit small businesses is the ability to hold audio conferences over the phone. Small businesses can better coordinate their employees by using conference calls. Having every employee and client on the same page is a valuable ability for any business. Some phone service providers also offer discounted plans for businesses that only use conference calls with a small number of people. For small businesses, this means they can obtain this valuable service cheaply. Small business owners should understand the benefits of conference calling before choosing a phone service provider.
Automated Answering System Integration
One way to boost customer service satisfaction without access to a call center is to use an automated answering system. Customers want to feel like their voice is being heard, whether in the form of an answering machine or an automated secretary. While human customer support is best, an automated response is better than no response. An answering machine or live answering service also allows business owners to get back to clients or employees that called in after hours. For businesses that do have a call center, an automated system can reduce the call load by fielding answers to common questions. Automated answering systems allow small business owners to save on manpower.
The use of a call logging service can help small businesses keep track of their phone usage. Businesses can use call logging to track performance metrics like call length and status. This data can be used to improve customer service. Caller ID can be used to check who is calling before the phone is answered. More advanced call logging features can also be used to track the effectiveness of certain sales tactics. Logging and analyzing phone data allows small business owners to refine their business techniques.
Desktop Phone Equipment
Small business owners can choose to purchase a service that comes with desktop phone equipment or computer leasing. Depending on the service, these devices will either come with the package or charge a small fee per phone. Connecting to a computer or a phone line, this equipment can form the base of the entire business’ phone systems. They also allow employees to separate their cell phones from their business phones. With this equipment, small businesses can also purchase an official phone number to add a sense of professionalism. Small business owners can benefit from the professionalism afforded by professional desktop phone equipment.
SMS And Text Messaging
The use of text message services should be considered for all types of small businesses. For small businesses, this service allows employees to contact clients and coworkers quickly and easily. A text message conversation is many times faster than an email and less commitment than a call. Additionally, text messages can be used in situations where conversation partners do not have strong cellular connections. SMS services can also be integrated into any mobile support app the business uses. Using text message services can be an important tool for small business owners.
Choosing the right phone service features can help small business owners coordinate their companies. Business owners should be on the lookout for features like conference calling, which lets them keep their entire workforce up to date. They should augment their customer support services with automated answering machines. Call logging can be a source of valuable feedback to inform future business decisions. Desk phones can give a business an added sense of legitimacy. While text messaging is sometimes a given, small business owners shouldn’t ignore it as a useful feature of any phone plan. Keeping these features in mind allows small business owners to choose the best phone service provider.