Often, if your business is very busy, you’ll often have to stick a customer on hold until someone can handle their call. It’s important to try to minimize this, but often hold is unavoidable.
However, there are a few things you can do to make this less frustrating for the customer, meaning they don’t hang up.
- Have hold music Some phone systems have only silence or an occasional beep while on hold. This is not good! The customer is liable to hang up in like a minute with that.
- Have creative hold music Don’t have boring, wandering soundtracks like other companies’ hold music. Get creative! Find some songs that really exemplify your business and mood.
- Play advertisements Customers on hold are a captive audience. You might as well brainwash them with sales messages from your company! However, you should probably try to play advertisements your customer would be interested, and as opposed to just raw “buy my stuff” messages.
- Have a greeting chime in Having a greeting that thanks the customer for waiting on hold chime in during the music can often help ease impatience. Don’t overdo it though; if you have boring hold music, you can have it play about every 60 seconds, and much less if you play fun hold music or ads.
Most discussions about VoIP deal with phone calls (a phone calling another phone, in case you don’t know what that is).
Paging comes in many forms. Essentially, the goal is to address many people (as opposed to one, via a phone call, or a select few, via a conference call.).
- Intercom Someone can, from a phone, broadcast their voice over a speaker system.
- Strobe Light In some environments, a strobe light can be used to alert employees or customers, either instead of or in conjunction with an intercom.
- Phone Paging System administrators can page handsets in the system so they can talk out of the speaker – even if no one answers the phone! (This isn’t used very often, but is still there if you need it.)
If you already some kind of paging system in place, you probably realize how useful it is. Integration with a phone system has the added bonus of being able to call into the speakers from a phone, making paging super easy.
If you don’t already have a paging system, you may or may not need one. Paging is generally used in environments like auto and repair shops (where employees work near loud employees), stores (to call employees to particular aisles), and other places that involve addressing a bunch of employees at once.Read more
Most business phone systems are one of two styles. #1: the most common kind is a bunch of handsets and/or cordless phones, all connected to one phone number. #2, another variety is a bunch of employees with cell phones, each with a different phone number.
Option number 2 totally stinks. Really, it’s important to have one phone number.Unless your company is so small one cell phone can handle everything, you customers will quickly get confused by all the different phone numbers. Option number 1 is pretty good; it does work well for most offices.
But sometimes, it’s good to have an actual cell phone in the system! There are quite a few advantages to this.
- Portability If your cell phone functions as a business phone, you can always receive or make business calls, anywhere, anytime
- Follow me A handset with follow me enabled can dump calls to a cell phone, meaning calls don’t get lost! (Read more here.)
- Cost effectiveness Handsets can be expensive sometimes. Using cell phones, which everyone already has, means you can cut out the cost of the equipment
- Contractors If you’re a business like a salon, realty group, or other company with lots of highly mobile, independent workers, cell phones hooked into a phone system allow customers calling in to your main number to simply dial an extension to reach who they want.
- Texting As great as handsets are, you can’t text on them. A cell phone integrated in your phone system can receive and send any texts coming into your business number.
As you can see, having an integrated cell phone allows you to take the best of both worlds – handsets and cell phones!
(Okay, maybe stalk is the wrong word, since you do have the right to keep tabs on your employees. So, let’s call this “How to Rightfully Keep Tabs on Your Employees with your phone system”.)
Anyway, this is a manger-only guide on how to put your system to good (or bad) use against your workers!
- Active Call Viewing From a website, you can see every single call currently active in your system, along with who is calling and who the call is going out to.
- Call recording Very common, but still worth pointing out! Many companies record calls, and there are quite a few good reasons why. If you’re ever in a “He said, She said” dilemma with an employee, a recording can really straighten things out.
- Eavesdrop A very powerful and Big Brother-y tool, Eavesdrop let’s you dial in (without anyone knowing) and listen to an active call. You can even, if you desire, talk to one party involved, without the other knowing (this is useful for coaching an employee while they’re on a call with a customer).
- Paging From your phone (if you have this privilege, anyway), you can actually dial one or more extensions (including EVERY extension), and have your voice come out of the speakers on it – even if no one answers the phone! It works kind of like a paging system or intercom, but just through your phones.
- 911 Alert Less of a spying thing and more of just very helpful, 911 alert sends you an email if someone in your system calls emergency services. For district and regional managers, it could be particularly helpful to know if skittles are hitting the fan at a location.
Okay, so those features aren’t quite as invasive as you may have been hoping for. But, they still are pretty helpful!
A major part of designing your phone system is deciding what phones to use where. Usually, it’s pretty easy to tell whether you need a physical phone versus a cell phone in a particular situation. But, once you’ve decided on a physical phone, how do you pick between cordless or handset? Here’s a quick way to find out.
Handset advantages are
- Better audio quality
- More user friendly
- Capable of more features
Cordless phone advantages are
- More portability – no getting tied down with cables
So, ask yourself: you putting in a phone in a place where it will get a lot of use in one location (like a desk, office, etc), or in a place with more moving around (kitchen, workshop, etc)?
Did you know you can get texts to your business number? Many companies don’t. If your business is cell-phone-centric, you’re probably very familiar with texting your customers. Companies that mainly use handsets and cordless phones, however, rarely think about texting. After all, those kind of phones can’t send texts.
Certain providers (like us!) solve this problem by allowing integration with software to allow texting through a computer or cell phone.
- Basic When a customer texts your business number, it’s converted to an email and sent to your inbox. From there, you can call them back (texting back is not an option through your email because it’s, well, your email.)
- Intermediate If you want to text back and forth with a customer, a phone or computer app such as Bria Stretto that integrates with your phone service (like ours!) allows back-and-forth one-on-one texting with a customer
- Advanced Integrate with Slack, and form texting chatrooms with employees, customers, or both.
Being able to text with customers isn’t super huge, I’ll admit. However, it definitely has its advantages, such as:
- Not losing customers who decide to text your number instead of calling it like a normal person.
- Being faster; if, for whatever reason, you need a customer to send you something, it’s often faster if they can just text your business number.
Auto attendants are super useful, and make life easier for both your customers and your business. But, it can be easy to overdo it, and end up with customers cussing out your robot. So, here are three quick tips to make a great auto attendant.
- Don’t have too many menus! Reaching the destination shouldn’t take more than two menus. Customers who feel like they’re navigating a maze to get their call answered aren’t liable to be very happy.
- Don’t have overly long greeting and menus. Again, it’s important for the customer to quickly get to where they need to be. Plus, if they call often, they will eventually be super annoyed by your Shakespeare-bot.
- Don’t replace a human’s job with a robot. Auto attendants are pretty much for telling customers who they’re calling and routing calls. If your auto attendant is having customers say stuff, or is diagnosing service requests, you’re overdoing it! (No one likes hearing “I’m sorry, please say that again”.)
These seem pretty self-explanatory, I’m sure. However, as someone who has suffered through many frustrating calls to giant companies, I’m still pointing out these three errors sure to annoy customers.Read more
Having an answering machine is pretty useful in a lot of ways! Since customers theoretically call you 24/7, and expect some kind of an answer, having a robot answer the call instead of a person is very helpful.
If you’re lucky enough to have a provider that supports auto attendants (which we do!), here are four awesome ways to use your robot receptionist!
- Departments. Pretty much the basic use of an auto attendant, a “press 1 for x, press 2 for y” style menu can give customers an easy way to quickly reach different departments (sales, customer service, etc).
- Employees. Alternatively, it can be used to reach particular employees in the business (“Press 1 for Joe, Press 2 for Doctor John”). Using this saves both your receptionist and your customer time!
- Day/Night modes. Program your auto attendant to respond to time of day! If a call comes in during business hours, have a different greeting (perhaps a menu, or just directly ring your phone). At night (and maybe during the weekend) the auto attendant could tell customers they are calling after hours, and send them to the voicemail box.
- Robot repellent. Junk calls never make it past the auto attendant (for whatever reason). If you have an auto attendant equipped, spammers will no longer terrorize your peaceful office!
The best part? Auto attendants can provide all four of these at once! And once you’ve tailored one for your business, you’re sure to notice the difference.
Nothing is worse for sales than losing calls. If a customer calls your company, they probably want to buy from you. Losing their call means losing their business! No one likes that.
Today I’m going to point out three easy yet effective ways to keep customers calling your company from hanging up.
“Follow me” By far the best way to stop losing calls, Follow me is basically a system of calls following you through phones. Doesn’t make sense? Here’s an example. So, say, a customer calls your business, and your desk phone rings, but no one’s there. After ten seconds, it will also start ringing your cell phone. You answer the call, and boom! You didn’t lose the call. As you can see, this is very useful for understaffed days or if you need to run and grab lunch.
Good voicemail greeting Let’s say a customer calls you, but no one answers. A good voicemail greeting is often enough to convince a prospective customer to leave a message, meaning you can call them back and not lose them. We both know hearing a robot say “Please leave your message for 4 8 0 5 7 1 4 4 5 4…” is not as inviting as “Thanks for calling Voipcom! We’re very busy right now, but leave us a message and we’ll call you right back!”
Hold Music It’s a busy day, and you have to put a customer on hold. If the only thing they hear is silence, it will only take them about a minute to hang up, and probably not call back. Play them some hold music, and they stay on the line! Simple, but effective. (Side note, don’t be afraid to play some funny music; the more interesting the hold music, the less frustrated the customer will be waiting; they might even be laughing at your songs!)
Implementing these three methods isn’t hard at all, but will majorly help you not lose calls while improving customer satisfaction.