Not all phone systems are suitable for all businesses. The perfect phone system for you will depend on the size and nature of your business as well as how you operate. If you run a small business, there are certain telephone system features that can really help to boost efficiency and support growth. Small businesses face particular challenges, such as finding ways to compete with larger companies, but with fewer resources. In this article, we give our top five business phone system features for small businesses.
Call forwarding allows inbound calls to be diverted to another phone, whether this is your home phone, mobile app phone or a co-worker’s phone. Some call forwarding features allow calls to be forwarded to a group of phone numbers, which will ring simultaneously until the call is answered, or to a final phone number where the caller can leave a voicemail. This is really handy for small businesses that a) have to stretch the workload between fewer employees and b) can’t afford to miss potentially important business calls.
Voicemail is a pretty basic feature that comes with virtually all phone systems, these days. However, there are certain advanced features that are worth looking out for:
Remote access – Voicemail systems with a remote access feature are really handy for small businesses, as they tend to have longer periods of time when there is no one in the office. The remote access feature will ensure that you can access your messages whenever and wherever you may be, whether you are working from home or out visiting clients.
Extended voicemail length – When you have tight restrictions on voicemail length, callers often end up being cut off before they have finished what they want to say. This can be frustrating for callers and may prevent potential customers from calling back in the future.
Multiple greetings – It’s good to have the capacity to have several different pre-recorded voicemail greetings so that the most relevant one can be played at any given time. You may wish to have a different message to be played when you are on the other line, when it is outside of office opening hours and during holiday periods, for example. This gives a professional impression of your company and saves you the time and hassle of having to change your message every time the circumstances change.
Music on Hold / Advertising on Hold
Studies have shown that the majority of people will hang up if they hear silence whilst being placed on hold. A significant proportion of these people will never call back. It is, therefore, worth giving your callers something to listen to whilst on hold, to increase the chances of them staying on the line. After all, you never know when the next important sales call is going to come through. You could either opt for on-hold music, on-hold messages or a combination of both. Ideally, you would not want to put your callers on hold but the reality is that sometimes this is inevitable. A good way to utilise the time that callers are waiting on hold is by using on-hold advertising. This is a form of on-hold messaging that is used to advertise your products, services or special offers to those waiting on the line. You might also want to provide company details, such as normal opening times and where your office is located or, perhaps, to direct callers to your website.
Some small businesses simply don’t have the time to answer all calls. If inbound calls do not account for a significant proportion of the sales you make, you may find that most of your time spent on the phone is unproductive. It could be that you receive numerous calls from companies trying to sell you their products and services, instead of showing interest in yours. That’s why Caller ID is such an important feature for small businesses. It ensures that you always know when an important call is coming through, so you can make sure these calls are answered.
An automated attendant feature is a must have, these days, if you want to present a professional image of your company. An automated attendant will direct the caller to the appropriate extension via touch-tone or voice response options. One of the great things about automated attendant is that it does the job of the receptionist for you, allowing small businesses to cut down on staffing costs. You can also customise your messages to provide callers with useful information such as your business address, directions to your office and further contact details.
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