Thanks to the internet, small businesses around the UK are discovering that size is no barrier to offering services online to clients around the world. However, one area where smaller businesses can encounter barriers to serving an international client base is the cost of keeping in touch. Customer service and business development calls can get expensive – especially if your clients are in far-flung regions.
This is something UK-based firm BiA Research has found a brilliant way of dealing with. The company offers online focus groups – a new concept in the research industry. It goes without saying that communication is key to BiA Research’s business, and telephone calls are at the heart of both its business development activity and its work with freelance teams around the world.
Using Vonage, BiA Research was able to cut the cost of setting up its business as well as the ongoing cost of keeping in touch. Robin Shuker, Managing Director of BiA Research says: “The key benefit was that when we started the business we didn’t have to get a second line and the costs associated with that.”
And it wasn’t just the cost that was attractive. BiA Research has also benefited from the ability to choose its own area code. Robin says: “You can call from a 0203 number so it looks like you’re in an office in Central London.”
“With a large number of international clients, being able to make low-cost international clients is of great importance.” He continues: “We’ve just upgraded to Vonage talk world option mobile 250. Because we conduct a lot of focus groups in China and Asia so the cost savings are tremendous.”
Vonage also gives its small business customers access to a range of features that most other providers charge extra for, and all plans come with the Vonage Extensions app where you can use your call plan on your smartphone. Robin commented: “For me, the main service is the call divert. I’m able to divert the calls coming into the office to my mobile so nobody knows whether I’m in the office or out and about. Now with Extensions it’s fantastic because I can take my iPhone with me wherever I go and make calls which are all included in the price plan.”
As a champion of small businesses, Vonage also ensures its customers are well looked after if they need assistance or experience a problem. Robin says: “Customer service is very easy to access, you don’t have to wait and press 64 buttons to try and speak to somebody: a couple of clicks and you’re through.”
Having seen first-hand how Vonage can make a difference to small businesses with an international focus, Robin is keen to help others benefit. He explains: “I’m a member of the ICG which is a group of 400 freelance researchers and often there are questions posed in terms of what’s the best telephone system for small businesses and I’ve no hesitation to recommend Vonage. I would give Vonage five stars and that is not an empty claim. It’s never let us down and it’s a real asset to our business.”