Archive for February 27, 2012

The Importance of Having a Virtual Phone System

In our modern business world, we have a great deal of responsibilities, not only to our employees but also to our families and clients. That’s why we see more and more people walking around with two, three, and even more cell phones, PDAs, and tablets. It seems that there are a dozen places we need to be at once, and we’re not the only ones who are dealing with these struggles; our employees are running to and fro in a frantic effort to help fulfill their responsibilities and satisfy your customers at the same time. 

So how do you keep everyone grounded? How do you maintain a center for your business for your all-important customers to contact without getting the runaround? How do you maintain professionalism and simplicity at the same time? By incorporating a virtual phone system, that’s how. 

The Fundamentals of a Virtual Phone System

 A virtual phone system is actually a simple concept. Your business has one contact phone number, such as an 800 number, and a custom greeting that you set up for it, and from there, your callers, whether they are customers, clients, partners, suppliers, or anyone else trying to reach your staff members, can be directed to dial an extension for those individuals. The difference between a virtual phone system, though, and a regular business line, is that those extensions can be routed to any phone, such as a home phone number, cell phone, etc.

Imagine being able to have your employees running double duty. Talk about efficiency! They can be out of the office, on their way to pick up supplies, review a claim from a customer, or provide an estimate for work to be done and still take calls without having to share their personal cell phone numbers.

Life Moves Fast, but a Virtual Phone Number Keeps You Grounded

Businesses today have to be mobile, they have to be able to be reached, no matter what else is going on. Traditional business lines keep employees locked to their desk during normal business hours. Then what happens when normal business hours are over? The customer will usually be met with a standard recorded message asking them to call back tomorrow.

Do you really want to risk losing that customer? With a virtual phone system, you can provide access to specific employees even when it’s after hours. Of course, using a virtual phone system may be an unfair advantage over the competition, but isn’t that the point?

Discover just how invaluable a virtual phone system can be to your business and you’ll not only gain more loyal customers, your employees will feel more liberated and more empowered at the same time.

Why a Company Should Get a Vanity Number

How often do you pay attention to phone numbers on advertisements or on the commercials? For most people, phone numbers have become background noise in their life and many businesses end up spending an enormous amount of money on marketing and lose a large percentage of their potential customers because their number is just that … a number.

With most advertisements today, consumers are barely paying attention, but when something catches their eye, when your ad grabs their attention, you want them to be able to remember the phone number easily. That’s where a vanity phone number can make all the difference in the world.

What is a Vanity Phone Number?

Basically, a vanity phone number is similar to a vanity license plate. It is the combination of numbers that, when converted to their alphabetical sequence, create a phrase or word that is easy to remember. For example, most people, when asked, will admit that they have heard of 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-800-MATTRES (leave the last ‘S’ or for savings ring a bell?). Being able to list a vanity phone number with your business means that when people see an ad for your business, whether it’s in passing or while they are doing something else, or are unable to write it down, then they will be more likely to remember it if it’s a vanity number. 

There are certainly limits to the combinations that can be used when it comes to vanity numbers, but there are still plenty of them available for just about any business. 

A Vanity Number is Marketing Genius 

Most businesses will spend a great deal of time and money on their marketing campaigns. They will invest in advertising companies, television commercials, radio spots, print ads in magazines and newspapers, and yet too often they fail to understand the importance of having contact information that is easy to remember. You should assume that your potential customers are going to hear about your business while they are doing any number of activities during their day. How many of those people are going to stop and jot down your phone number? 

But if you have a vanity number, you can bet that they are going to take the time to remember it. ‘Hey, that’s easy to remember,’ they’ll think. And it will be. In this modern, fast-paced, hustle-and-bustle world, you’re competing with thousands of other businesses, both local and international, for the same customer base. Ultimately it comes down to which businesses make it easiest to remember and contact.  

With a vanity phone number, you put yourself on the leading edge, ahead of the thousands of other businesses that rely on their potential customers remembering 10 random numbers.

The Importance of the Call Blocking Feature

Do you know the 80/20 rule? If you’ve been in business for any length of time, then you’ve probably come across this term, but even if you haven’t, then you’re about to. The 80/20 rule basically states that 80% of your revenue will be generated by 20% of your customers. But what is one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make time and time again? They spend 80% of their time trying to please 20% of their clients who prefer to complain, gripe, and be frustrating to deal with. 

That means the 20% of your customers who drive your business don’t get the attention they deserve, whether they are asking for it or not. Now, when it comes to your business’s phone calls, you’ll find (or you already know about this) that there are always that one or two people who will call everyday, making a nuisance of themselves and wasting valuable time. The calls could have nothing to do with the products or services that you provide. They could be disgruntled customers who will never be satisfied and want to waste your time. Or they could be politically motivated individuals who are trying to break through and make some kind of point. 

Whatever the reason for their repeated calls, the call blocking feature is a life saver. You get full control over who can call you and get through. With caller ID today, we know almost every number that is calling into us and when you have call blocking on your side, they won’t be able to disturb you again.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that they can’t go and use a different phone and begin their assault on your business all over, but then you simply only have to block calls from that number as well. Before long, the person who is harassing your business will tire of the effort you’re forcing him to go through and will find a different company to bother. Hopefully that will be your direct competitor. 

Another benefit of the call blocking feature is the ability to limit the number of phone calls you receive during any given day. Are you running a new ad campaign? Maybe you don’t want to receive calls from a particular area code because you don’t ship there, aren’t allowed to do business with that region, or for any number of reasons, and instead of taking up valuable time, you can block that entire area code. 

When you have full control over your calling features, you can maximize your business’s efficiency. At the end of the day, that’s what drives business success.

The Importance of the Call Recording Feature

What happens when a complaint is filed against one of your employees for the way he or she treated a customer on the phone? How do you train future employees on the best manners to use on the phone and what to do in the event of a certain circumstance arising during a call? The answer to both of these scenarios is the call recording feature that you will get with iTeleCenter.

When you call most major companies today, you are often instructed that, ‘This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.’ This serves two purposes: to protect the integrity of the call center and the employee from abuse or false allegations, but also to ensure that they treat their callers with the utmost respect and courtesy, and secondly to provide instructional tools for future employees. 

Managing Customer Interactions 

If you own your company, you likely have more than enough to keep you busy from sun up to sun down. You don’t have time to answer all of the phone calls from your customers. That’s why you rely on your employees to do that. So how do you know that your employees are treating your customers (or callers if they are not customers … yet) the way you want them to?

By using the call recording feature, you can randomly sample calls from all of your employees. Is Bill in accounting conveying the right message? Is Sharon in human resources answering questions with courtesy and respect? Is Michael from sales being too pushy and losing callers? You can learn a great deal about your employees through the call recording feature. Of course, you could stand over their shoulder and listen in on the call, but they are not going to be their ‘normal’ selves when you’re there; they are going to be performing. This isn’t about spying, though; it’s about maximizing the efficiency of your business and being able to train employees in the most efficient manner possible.

Employee Training

The call recording feature is also great for employee training. By recording the calls, you can highlight the positive as well as the negative aspects of certain calls, including those that are mundane or emergencies. When you hire employees, you will certainly instruct them on the best manner in which to handle calls, but there are going to be plenty of different types of callers. Some will be passive and others more aggressive.

By using the call recording feature, you can help your employees diffuse volatile callers and leave all of your callers with the feeling that they got what they wanted, and if they didn’t, then they will feel as though they were treated with the respect they demanded. 

The call recording feature is an invaluable tool for any business in today’s world.