Posted on November 25, 2015 by Dan Quick
Providing the best products and service for an attractive price is challenging enough, but when you have strong competition vying for the same customers, it gets even harder. That’s why you need to use every tool available to your advantage, including your business telephone system. Leveraging DNIS numbers to gain a step on your competitors means that while you’re keeping ahead by cutting costs, they are cutting corners to keep up.
Posted on June 25, 2015 by Dan Quick
Well-branded companies have a familiarity and cohesion throughout their user experience. Recently however, much of that design is focused on the theme and feel of web-based interactions and apps. Truly committed companies understand that each one of their potential touch-points needs to be given the same level of attention in order to maintain a high standard across the board. Take a moment to go over this simple infographic and see how you can maintain your brand messaging through call experience as well. Plus, for a very limited time, you can even save on professional recording for any new messages you want to use as part of a branding exercise for your phone system.
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Dan Quick
Although the world seems to believe that this whole internet fad might just be here to stay, the truth is that there is still an extremely high likelihood that you will have business coming to you from more traditional channels. No, letter-writing is a little more antiquated than I was shooting for here, but specifically the telephone is where nearly half of all consumers still prefer to conduct their business. With that high volume of potential business filtering through your phone lines, it is especially critical that it flow freely onto the desks of your employees. Yet, the real challenge here is that an alarmingly high number of consumers still feel frustrated with poorly designed telephone auto-attendants.
Give the People What They Want
This isn’t one of those Henry Fordisms about giving people a faster horse because they didn’t think of building a car, this is a far less abstract concept- people get impatient with terrible design. Not your company’s logo or your color scheme, but the design of the telephone architecture could be helping or hurting your business substantially. Simply stated- if someone wants to do business with you, make it as easy as possible.
According to the reliably thorough think-tank Software Advice, the expert software reviewers that revealed added benefits of both OTT Apps and SIP Trunking, we’ve been able to quantify and verify things we have suspected for a long time to be true. Specifically that if a caller doesn’t feel like staying on the line, they won’t.
Brevity is the Lifeblood of Engaging Callers
At the risk of violating this very simple rule, allow me to explain. Of the consumers surveyed in this most recent study from Software Advice, 42% of them said they would take their business to a competitor after a frustrating experience with a company’s auto-attendant. Nearly half of all callers to your business are ready to jump ship to your competition if your auto-attendant isn’t efficient. Even when you’re discussing succinct communication, that number is representative of enough business to warrant repeating.
These consumers have already dialed your business, which indicates they clearly want to investigate working with you. In order to keep them on the line, according to the study, the best way is to focus on two key areas, namely length of introduction messaging and complexity of menu options.
- Intro Message Length – Remember the Rule of Eight? This was the concept that messaging should be distilled to 8-second sound bites. Turns out, that’s too long. In fact, 69% businesses already have greetings less than 5-seconds long, yet consumers still prefer a 3-second greeting or less.
- Menu Options – In addition to the length of time it takes typical auto-attendant programs to send callers to the menu, the actual amount of menu options themselves were cited as the second most aggravating characteristic of poorly designed auto-attendants. Keeping the number of menu items as close to five as possible is ideal, but never any more than eight, according to respondents.
Don’t Abandon the Auto-Attendant
Very few businesses will benefit from not having an auto-attendant. Simply having an around-the-clock resource for customers can yield huge dividends, but then there is the added advantage of not requiring a receptionist, too. However, it’s obvious that the wrong auto-attendant or one that is poorly designed can also be a crippling blow to a business that can’t afford to lose 42% of their potential inbound leads.
Partnering with a modern business telephone provider will be the easiest and quickest way to test, iterate, and improve your inbound caller experience. VirtualPBX’s sleek and simple Extension Manager is fully web-based so you can take it wherever you have an internet connection, and our Customer Support Team is located right here in San Jose and ready to help you get the most out of your phone system.
Posted on June 12, 2015 by Dan Quick
The ACD Queues platform from VirtualPBX is a simple, intelligent way to route calls and manage call volume. Managing the traffic and extensions of your ACD Queues enabled system is easy, too, but that doesn’t mean a little refresher wouldn’t help. That’s why we’ve created this intuitive infographic, so you can see clearly just how the system works.
Posted on June 9, 2015 by Dan Quick
When it comes to business, we’ve all been taught that first impressions matter. Whether it means walking into a client meeting dressed professionally or having a website that compels prospects to take the next step, how you present your business can literally make or break a sale. As Will Rogers once said, “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Among the most impactful ways to create a positive first impression is to tailor your phone system’s auto-attendant’s message, features and functionality to your callers. This touch point is often the first experience a potential customer has with your business. If your auto-attendant is professional and user-friendly, you’ll be that much closer to converting a prospect into a customer. On the flipside, if it’s confusing, overly verbose, or amateur-sounding, you’ll give callers a reason to take their business elsewhere.
Not sure how to make the most of your phone system’s auto-attendant? The following are three best practices which can help you create a professional first impression while enabling you to route your calls efficiently.
Prioritize Information Callers Want
Callers are dialing your business for a specific reason, and you probably have a good idea what these reasons are. Your auto-attendant message is not the place to promote your new product line or to provide a lengthy monologue about how your business started.
In general, auto-attendant messages only need to provide a few important details such as your business name and URL. From there, the goal is to direct the caller to the right extension by providing options. For after-hours and holiday auto-attendant messages, you may want to include your operating hours and address.
Most business communication experts will tell you that a phone system greeting shouldn’t exceed 75 words. Efficiency is key. For example, the prompt to “Press one for the sales department,” can be more concisely said “press one for sales.” As you write your auto-attendant message, focus on finding the most efficient way to state the most relevant information. Both first-time callers and repeat customers will appreciate this!
Keep Routing Options Limited and Logical
Of course, you want callers to be able to reach the person they are dialing. Yet, from their perspective, it can be downright irritating having to listen to a long list of options. For most businesses, there is no need to have a complex web of options and extensions. A single level with a few extensions is a smart phone system strategy.
Your menu of options also needs to be logical. The most requested options should come first, e.g. “press 1 for customer service, press 2 for sales, press 3 for billing. Every effort should be made to limit the number of options. Nine options is excessive and will cause some callers to repeat the message or even hang up. As well, you should always provide an option for callers to connect with a live person.
Align Your Phone System to Your Brand
The voice on your phone system will be most effective when it’s aligned with your business’s image. For example, callers dialing a law firm will respond positively to an auto-attendant message that communicates professionalism and confidence. Whereas, a dental office’s message should sound more friendly and nurturing to give potential patients a sense of comfort.
Interestingly, many businesses simply rely on someone in-house to record the auto-attendant greeting. Even if they have a golden voice that is perfect for your business, what will happen if and when they leave? This problem affects countless businesses, and it becomes very apparent to callers when they hear a patchwork of different voices on system recordings. A much safer bet is to choose a professional voice that you can return to time and time again to build consistency throughout your system. Virtual PBX has partnered with Snap Recordings specifically to streamline the process of managing, uploading, recording, and ordering professional messages.
Your auto-attendant is a valuable, image-promoting tool that will support your callers’ needs if it is optimized effectively. With a few best practices, your automated message and menu will speak volumes about your professionalism and desire to provide great service.
About the Author
Saul Ives is the VP of Business Development at Snap Recordings. As a leader in professional, studio-quality voice recordings for business phone systems, Snap Recordings offers more than 80 voice talents and multiple language options, along with a user-friendly, online ordering system. Learn more about Snap Recordings at http://www.snaprecordings.com/virtualpbx/