If you have a customer service line or provide other services, like sales, to your clients over the phone, having a good and steady connection is literally your business' bread and butter. However, because technology is constantly evolving, your business phone system could be out of date, and as a result, you may not be serving your customers as well as you could be. A phone is a phone to many business owners, and it costs money to upgrade telephone systems, so you'll want to get as much use out of your system as you can. However, if your phone shows the following symptoms of "old-age", you know it's time to spend money for something more advanced:
1. Your customers spend forever on hold.
Older telephone systems operate with multiple phone lines that allow each of your agents to operate a line. These can quickly become bogged down with multiple callers. Customers who must spend an hour on the phone before speaking with a representative may persevere, but most have better things to do. Newer communications system do customer calling through an online base, which allows more lines and agents to be added to the system when the call center or office gets busier than usual.
A backlog of callers also shows that your old system should at least be expanded so more people can be talking at the same time. If your business is growing, your phone systems should be also.
2. Your customers can't talk to a real person.
If your phone system has multiple options that require people to jump through a menu of "press one" or "press two", only to end at a dead end voicemail, it can be really frustrating for them. Older phone systems require someone to be at the desk or at the switchboard to make sure calls are answered. With online ViOP (voice over internet protocol), this eventuality becomes non-existent during regular business hours. Of course, a standard voicemail can be there to make sure people reach your business when no real person is present to answer, but internet calling can direct a customer to anyone who is present at a company computer, or even direct calls to the cell-phone of an on-call employee after hours.
Modern technology should make speaking to a real person easier, especially because ViOP services can also be based in other countries. If you want your customers to always be able to reach someone, you can set up calling centers in other time zones if needed.
3. Your phone can be "busy".
The dull tone of the busy signal should be left behind in the 20th century-- it's for landlines and home phones. Nobody should ever get a busy signal when trying to reach your business. Even if your business is not large enough to need a broad internet support team, two or three lines should be added to your business phone to make sure no caller is turned away without being heard.
4. You have different phone lines for different parts of the company.
Your receptionist should be able to transfer calls to anyone and receive calls from other departments. Also, if one department is "down," other interacting phone systems should be able to pick up the slack seamlessly while the wrinkle is ironed out. Basically, besides personal lines for people higher up in management, every employee and department should be accessible. If they are not, it's time to look into something more advanced.
5. The line is not clear.
Older tech is more susceptible to poorer connections. If you find that many calls are dropped or lost, its time to call a communications company to see if the problem is not people driving through rural Montana with bad cell reception, but your own outdated system. Static and volume trouble can also be caused by a system that needs upgraded.
Your business will have a great telephone presence if it is modern, easy-to-access, and provides a low-stress option for your customers to get the help they need. If your older phone system needs to be expanded or changed, don't hesitate to make the investment.