As a small business, you can’t afford to miss that important call from a potential customer or investor, but you may struggle to answer the phone every time it rings. Thankfully, there is a way you can make a difference. Find out how to make your response ‘always on’.
One of the biggest advantages a small business has, whether you’re a start-up, a home-based business, an entrepreneur, consultant or freelancer, is that you can offer your customers a personal, responsive service that your bigger rivals can’t match.
However, 95% of small businesses in the UK have less than ten employees, and most have less than five, so they can struggle to answer customer calls at busy times or outside normal hours. When that happens, your customer may simply call a competitor rather than leave a voicemail, so how can you be ‘always on’ and make sure you never miss that important call?
Cloud-based business phone services, where calls are carried over the internet, are revolutionising the way small businesses interact with their customers by lowering the cost of advanced calling features that were previously only available to corporate giants.
Call forwarding is an incredibly useful tool for small businesses. Whether you’re part of a small team or starting out on your own, you can’t be in two places at once. With call forwarding, just point your business phone number to ring on your mobile (or any phone you choose) and your calls will follow you wherever you go.
Sequential ringing is a great solution for a small, busy team. When a customer calls, all of your different numbers, including mobiles, will ring in sequence, so you have more chance of receiving the call. Meanwhile, the customer is given a greeting and asked to hold. The sequential ringing service loops several times. If all the numbers remain unanswered, the caller is forwarded to voicemail.
Simultaneous ringing is similar, but rings all your phones at the same time. Your customer will remain on hold and as soon as any phone is answered, simultaneous ringing stops. This can be particularly useful if you’re a one-person business. You can be available on both your landline and mobile phone at the same time, or contactable wherever you are in your premises or home.
When you really can’t take a call and a customer leaves you a voicemail, the key factor is how quickly you can call them back. It can be difficult to get down the key information, especially when you’re on the move. Visual voicemail solves this problem by transcribing all your voicemails into emails, so you’ve got everything you need in front of you to respond straight away.
Dedicated cloud-based business line
If you’ve only got one phone line to deal with every kind of query, you could be missing customer calls without even knowing it. Or you may find personal calls taking over your phone line, especially if you’re a home business or using your mobile. With a dedicated second line, you can keep your business calls separate from your personal calls.
As well as saving you time, a dedicated business number will give you a competitive advantage. Your phone number says a lot about your business and has a major impact on what customers think about you. When you’re using your mobile number as your main point of contact, your business can look less professional than if you had a landline number.
Of course your mobile phone is essential because it keeps you connected wherever you are. The trick is to use your mobile but make it look as if you’re using a business ‘landline’ number. Cloud-based business phone services give you the best of both worlds – you can stay connected on your mobile but with the professional edge of a trustworthy business phone number.