Archive for January 29, 2013

Calculating Your ROI on Toll Free Numbers

Marketing campaigns are an essential part of any business and your business is no exception. They are necessary to make people aware of your product/service and also for the recognition of your brand.  In today’s time, you should not limit your marketing efforts to banners, billboards, television ads, newspaper advertisements or radio commercials only. You also need to try new forms of marketing like pay-per-click, email marketing and other forms of online marketing. Using toll free numbers is perhaps the smartest of the modern marketing techniques.

Toll free numbers enhance your professionalism and make your business credible.  You can track the success of a pay-per-click campaign or email marketing campaigns by using analytics. But the success of using a toll free number is directly reflected by the increase in the number of queries you are getting from your customers per day. These queries are your business opportunities.

Effective communication

You can further enhance the edge of your business or business campaign by using toll free numbers with a virtual phone system. It can do miracles for your business and can change it forever.  It allows you to forward calls, transfer calls, use voicemail service and many more.  It also allows you to preserve the privacy of your personal phone number without compromising your business need – creating an effective communication system with your customers. You can publish your toll free numbers on all your business communications – banners, business cards and your customers will call you on that number.

Marketing and branding tool

Though a toll free number is more successful in a business campaign than a normal telephone number but the influence of a vanity number is undeniable. Vanity toll free numbers are special alphanumeric numbers that are easy to remember and contain a word or a phrase related to the business. These numbers are highly successful in promotional and marketing campaigns. It is quite unrealistic that your customer will remember your 10 digits toll free number just by seeing it on a banner by the side of a highway. But remembering a vanity number is quite easy. For example, 1 800 SUN LIGHT – “sunlight” could be the name of a business or the kind of service or product that a particular business provides.

A vanity number also works as a brand for your business. A few of the famous vanity numbers that have become almost synonymous with their brands are: Toyota (1 800 GO-TOYO), FedEX (1 800 GO-FED-EX) and others.

Do You Need an Auto Attendant For Your Business?

Why you need an auto attendant? Does it really make any difference to your business? Is it a better option than hiring a receptionist?  If you are still stuck with these questions then this write up is especially meant for you.

Automated Receptionist

The auto attendant is a flexible, powerful front office tool that acts like an automated receptionist for your customers. When a customer calls your office, he is received by an auto attendant. It greets your caller and routes him to the right person or department of his choice. This automated receptionist works 24×7 and completely eliminates the need for hiring a receptionist. This can have a considerable influence on your business because it helps your business to operate within strict financial boundaries.

Always Available

If you want to make your business big, you have to operate 24×7 because customers are no longer limited by geographical boundaries or timelines. Using a toll free number further enhances this. You can receive queries from your customers 24 hours a day and you need somebody to answer their calls and route them properly.  The role of an auto attendant becomes particularly pertinent in such scenarios.

Professional Voice Over

You can prepare the script of the welcome message of the auto attendant and can also record it. Alternatively you can also hire a professional for the voice over. Hiring a professional will make your greetings sound more professional.  You actually get the best of both the worlds – a professional will answer your customers all the time and that too within your budget. Now isn’t this incredible! You can also customize your greeting and message according to seasons and festivals or whenever there is a need.

Easy Instructions

Keep the instructions of your auto attendant simple so it will be easier for your customers to follow them.  For example, “Welcome to ABC Company. Press 1 for Sales 2 for Customer Service…0 to speak directly.”  This is the most popular format of any automated attendant and people are generally accustomed to this format. Using something different can confuse your customers.

So if you want your business to benefit from this special feature of a virtual phone system, use it in the most popular way. An auto attendant can help your business grow in more than one way. It is affordable and yet effective. It works round the clock attending your customers and routing them the right way.

Basics of a Toll Free Number

There are a few basics of a toll free number and its underlying technology that you need to know before you start using it. A toll free number is not meant for general use. This number is designed with a special purpose. It is meant for using in businesses because it enhances the visibility and credibility of your business almost instantly. It is most relevant for your marketing and promotional efforts. So before you use this powerful tool for your business, it is most pertinent to know a few fundamentals about this number.

Rise of New Toll Free Prefix

Firstly, a toll free phone number starts with a special prefix. Though “800” is the most recognized toll free prefix, other toll free prefixes like: 855, 866, 877, 888 are now also used. This is because of the shortage of 800 prefix. With the rising demand for this number there has been a scarcity of “800” prefix. A toll free number has a special characteristic. It does not charge the caller for the call. This has a huge influence on the people because their calls are not charged. So you can expect to answer more calls and queries from your customer that will in turn increase the sales of your business. A number of this kind is more effective in your marketing efforts than any other ordinary number.

Vanity Toll Free Numbers

But you can make your marketing efforts even more effective with vanity toll free numbers. Vanity numbers are special alphanumeric numbers that can make your marketing and promotional efforts more successful than any ordinary toll free number. A vanity number contains a word or a phrase related to business. For example, if you have a flower business, then a possible vanity number for your business would be: 1 800 RED ROSES. This is easy to remember and recall. So it is quite likely that when people need flowers they will remember you and your vanity number.

Using Toll Free Numbers

A toll free number with a virtual phone system can make a visible change in your business. Using this number with a virtual phone system is like enjoying the best of both the worlds. You enjoy the benefits of a toll free number along with the features of a virtual phone like: call transfer, call forwarding, voicemail box, caller ID and additionally you can also use auto attendant. A toll free number with a virtual phone not only makes your business look and sound bigger but is also economical.

Choosing the Right Small Business Phone Service

You now have a whole lot of small business phone services to choose from. Each of the phone systems has its own strengths and weaknesses. But the most difficult part of using a small business phone service is to decide on the right kind of phone system that best suits your business needs. You need to be very selective in deciding the phone system that is most effective in bringing about the desirable changes in your business.  To begin with, start comparing between the available phone systems.

It usually takes some amount of time to investigate the different phone systems available. You have to spend a considerable amount of time to become familiar with the various phone systems. It’s better to start by spending some time to learn the features of the phone systems. This will help you decide on the kind of a small business phone service that will be ideal for your business.  For your convenience, we will discuss few phone systems here:

Different Kinds of Phone Systems

VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is one of the phone systems commonly used by small businesses.  It uses the World Wide Web as its primary network.  Its call quality is dependent on the strength and stability of your internet connection.  The private branch exchange telephone system is also used by small business owners. It enables you to make calls either from within the company phone network or outside it. But its equipment needs heavy installation that can prove expensive for a small business.

Virtual Phone System

A virtual phone system is just perfect for a small business phone service.  It does not need any installation, hardware or software.  Moreover, you also do not need a dedicated telephone connection. It can be used with any telephone connection. It gives you all the benefits of a traditional phone system like call transfer, call forwarding, voicemail box and others. Additionally, the auto attendant of this phone system completely eliminates the need for hiring a receptionist.

Using a Toll Free Number

Using a toll free number with a small business phone service definitely has an extra advantage.  It not only enhances your visibility but also makes your business credible almost instantly. Today customers are no longer restricted by geographical boundaries. A toll free number can be dialed directly from anywhere and your customers can reach you easily without any confusing long distance codes.  This number has also proven to be successful in promotions and marketing campaigns.

All about a Toll Free Number

Most of us are familiar with a toll free number. We all come across some form of this number every day. Some of us might also have used one of these numbers. So today in this discussion we won’t concentrate on toll free number in general but rather we will try to explore the various forms and types of this number and also why should we use toll free numbers for our business?

Rise of New Toll Free Prefix

A toll free number is a string of 10 digit numbers, which usually starts with 800. It is, in fact the most recognizable toll free prefix. With the rising demand for this number there has been a scarcity of 800 prefix. This has given rise to other toll free prefixes like 855, 866, 877, 888 and others. But businesses are little hesitant to use these prefixes though they have all the benefits of 800 prefix.

Vanity Numbers

Using a toll free number is just not enough. It is important that your customers remember the number and call you at the time of their need. This has given rise to vanity numbers. A vanity number is an alphanumeric phone number that helps your customers remember your phone number. For example, if you are into flower business your vanity number can be 1 800 FLOWERS. A vanity number has proved to be more effective than a numeric number especially in marketing campaigns and promotions.

Sequential Number

But getting a vanity number of your choice can be difficult because some other organization might already have used that as their vanity number. In cases like this, you can also try another form of a toll free number that is known as sequential vanity number. This is a catchy and memorable sequence of number like “1234” or “999” or “777”. For example your number will look like: 1 888 999. Now isn’t this easy to remember?

Benefits of Using a Toll Free Number

Using a toll free number on your virtual phone system can definitely give your business an extra edge. You get all the benefits of a virtual telephone with a toll free prefix. You can advertise this number on all your business communications like business cards, flyers, banners and your customers will call you in that number. So, the privacy of your personal number is maintained on one hand and your business enjoys all the benefits of a virtual telephone on the other.

Use a Business Toll Free Number for Your Business

A business toll free number is important for you, your business as well as your customers. It attracts new customers and retains the old ones.  It was a common perception that a business toll free number is relevant only for small businesses and new start-ups. But as it’s evident that even big businesses benefit equally from this number.

A Special Number for Business

A business toll free number is a special kind of number that usually starts with 800 prefix. It is especially designed for business needs. All types of businesses can benefit from this number.  When a customer calls this number he/she does not incur any expenditure. This is the specialty of this kind of number. Instead you pay for every call you receive on your business number. This obviously has a very positive impact on your customers and they feel confident to call you even when they have a small enquiry.

Privacy of Your Personal Number

Privacy of your personal number is another important feature of business toll free number.  You publish this toll free number on all your official communication and your customers will call you on this number. So the privacy of your personal number is maintained.  A toll free number easily earns the confidence of people and helps you building your reputation.

It’s Affordable

A business toll free number can be used with any telephone connection. It can forward to your residential phone, your cell phone or your office phone. You do not need a dedicated telephone connection for using this number. You also do not need any expensive hardware or software for using this number. It is very affordable and is just perfect for small businesses where the operating budget of the business is very restricted.

For All Business Types

Although it was initially perceived that a business toll free number is exclusively for small business, it proved wrong in no time. Big businesses along with small business have equal benefits from this special number. This is primarily because of the unique features that are associated with this number. A home business to a multi-national organization, all businesses benefit from using this number.

Can’t Decide Whether You Need Virtual Telephone?

Is your phone system taking away a considerable amount of your profit? Are you looking for an alternative to your traditional phone system? Do you feel your business needs such advanced features like auto attendant, call forwarding, or enhanced voicemail? If you feel that these are true for your business as well, then this is the time for you to change to a virtual telephone.

A Virtual telephone is quite similar to a traditional telephone but with some striking features that help you in your business. It is also quite simple to use because it does not need any installation, hardware or software. Moreover, these are tailor made especially for the needs of business and you can customize it according to your needs.

Auto Attendant

Whenever a caller calls on your virtual telephone, the auto attendant answers the call. An auto attendant works like a human receptionist but with some amazing features. An auto attendant greets your caller and directs him to the right person/department he wants to speak to. It works round the clock and you need not hire a receptionist to do the job. You can also hire a professional who can record the voice for the auto attendant.

Call Forwarding

Your virtual telephone also allows you to forward calls to your colleagues or friends within the office or across the country. This gives your business an extra edge. In today’s business, it is quite common to have offices located across geographies. The call forwarding feature becomes particularly pertinent in such cases.

Enhanced Voicemail

The auto attendant directs the call to the right person or department but what if the person is not available at that moment?  The caller can leave a message in the voicemail box of the recipient and he/she will call back. This is another unique feature of the virtual telephone. Call forwarding and enhanced voicemail ensure that you miss no important call.

Toll Free Number

You also have the benefit of using a toll free number with the virtual telephone.  A toll free number is especially helpful in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.