Communication is the backbone of a thriving business.
A company’s lack of effective business communication services is a recipe for confusion, misunderstanding, and even conflict. 86% of employees, executives, and educators identify ineffective communication as one of the primary reasons for business failures.
Ineffective communication could result in a frustrated workforce, cursing customers, and managers banging the desk because of unmet targets. To succeed, you’ll need agile business communication solutions.
For your business to have a polished image essential for a top-rated brand, it cannot afford to fiddle and fumble with its communication strategy—or infrastructure.
Yet, with technology continuing to change—and at dizzying speeds—it can be confusing to understand the communication options you should consider and incorporate.
So, what are your options for business communication services, and how can they benefit your business?
Business Communication Services are Incomplete Without a Business Phone System
No matter how big or small your company is, a reliable business phone system is critical to effective communication with your customers, employees, and stakeholders.
Despite the popularity of emails, the telephone is still essential in business. Even with a multi-channel communication system, you’ll need to find a phone system that’s right for your business, and VoIP is an ideal choice.
VoIP Phone System
Also called IP telephony or hosted technology, VoIP enables you to make phone calls over the internet. Its adaptability and flexibility are almost perfect.
Plus, you’ll need minimal additional hardware. With a desktop, laptop, and a good internet connection, you’re good to go.
Statistics show that companies can save up to 75% on communication-related expenses with VoIP.
VoIP offers useful features such as:
- Call forwarding
- Video conferencing
- Call recording
- Voicemail to email
- Multiple lines
- Call queueing
- Automated answering, etc.
In addition to the advanced features, VoIP is inexpensive. Instead of paying per call minute, you pay for a package. You don’t require any hardware except VoIP phones and there are no ongoing maintenance costs.
Additionally, it’s easier to scale with a VoIP system than a traditional one when your business grows.
Business Phone Numbers are a Must-Have
The phone number system you choose for your business can directly impact your image, customer experience, and revenue growth.
Consider these options.
Custom Phone Numbers
A custom phone number, also known as a vanity phone number, is a business telephone number with digits or names that are simple and catchy.
They are much more memorable than a regular number—one of the reasons successful brands like FedEx use them.
Custom phone numbers come in two categories;
- Brand phone words: This is where your business’s brand name is the phone number.
A a good example of this is 1-800-Flowers.com. The main advantage of brand phone words is their ability to improve brand awareness.
- Generic phone words: These are useful for your business to identify with a niche and edge out competitors. A good example is McAfee’s telephone number: 800-Virus-No. It associates itself with the anti-virus business niche in a memorable way that can overshadows and eclipse competitors.
Custom phone numbers that include words, whether generic or brand phone words—are 5x more memorable than numbers with digits only.
You’ll need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of custom phone numbers, some of which are highlighted below.
- Good at improving brand awareness
- Effective for marketing campaigns
- Location will be anonymous
- Lack of market intelligence due to inability to track location
- Risk of losing out on the local market
To mitigate the main disadvantage of custom phone numbers—the inability to track the location of calls— you can have a built-in phone tracking service added to your vanity number so you can know where any call is coming from.
Toll-Free Phone Numbers
A toll-free number is a telephone number with a three-digit code prefix and does not charge the person making the call.
They allow customers to make calls to a business without incurring any charges, even from a long distance. The codes include 800, 833, 844, 888, etc.
Toll-free numbers give your callers the impression of a large, established brand with a nationwide presence. You can build brand credibility and your ability to do business with people from different regions will be increased.
Your provider determines the cost of the number and the service.
Local Phone Numbers
These numbers come with an area code specific to the town or city that the business is serving. The upside of these numbers is their ability to establish and cement local connections.
Internet searches for businesses “near me” grew by 250% from 2017 to 2019. Thus, if you’re looking to build a local presence and target the local audience, a local phone number can be a great asset.
Additionally, this type of business phone number usually offers the lowest cost. Some providers include a local number when you sign up for virtual phone service.
Other advantages of a local phone number include;
- Opportunities for local advertising
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased credibility
- A professional yet local, small business image
Still, local phone numbers come with considerable limitations in reach and scope. If you serve multiple regions, you can get numbers for every region.
Global Phone Numbers
International phone numbers allow businesses in the US to own and provide their callers in other countries with a local phone number.
They not only make it easier for international customers to call you, but they also help them save money because they won’t be charged international calling rates. Instead, their VoIP service provider will charge them based on the local calling rates.
If you have a global customer base, suppliers, or even remote workers, an international phone number will make business easier for you and your callers.
Get an Online Video Chat Service
According to McKinsey, video and live chats have become the most preferred channels of engaging B2B customers.
Also, videos remain the most preferred form of media for content strategy, according to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report.
If you want to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction, these are the essentials to look for in a video chat system:
- Compatibility and Integration: The software should run on various devices, browsers, and operating systems. Integration with a CRM is particularly vital.
- Co-Browsing and Screen Sharing: You should get a system that can support co-browsing and screen sharing. These features can significantly aid product demos and troubleshooting.
- Ease of Use: Users should be able to activate a video chat easily, preferably with only a single click. Customers should also not have to install complex apps before using the video chat service. Again, it should be easy to transfer a video chat to a different agent or department.
Don’t Forget Live Receptionist Services
One unanswered call can cost your company. According to Statista, 40% of customers stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service experience in 2020. That’s 2 out of every 5 customers.
And that’s considering that today’s customers are more forgiving, according to the Statista graph.
With a live receptionist service, a live person will answer your calls and guide callers to an extension of your choice, like voicemail.
This service will make your company more flexible, versatile, and available to your callers at any time, no matter the call volume or business size.
How do you know you need a live receptionist? Here are some tell-tale signs:
- High call volume: Even if you’ve employed many receptionists in your business, the sheer volume of calls may overwhelm them, and you may need the services of a live receptionist.
- Type of business: Businesses in healthcare, law, or home services require a personal, human touch more than other businesses. Also, if your business involves appointment booking, you might get many calls that need to be handled efficiently.
- Time pattern of your call-ins: If some clients tend to call when you’ve closed business, it’s an indication you need a live receptionist.
- Multiple extensions: If you have multiple extensions to transfer calls to, a live receptionist service can be very helpful for doing this consistently and efficiently.
So, what should you look for in a live receptionist?
First, your live receptionist(s) should have intimate knowledge about your company, products, and services. They should also be friendly and professional.
Your receptionist should also be reliable. You don’t want customers still complaining they can’t reach you, yet you’ve already contracted live receptionist services.
Get Communication Services for Your Business
Business communication is vital to the success of your business. Without communication services, your entire system can quickly crumble.
Every business is unique, but vital business communication services such as a business phone system, business phone numbers, an online chat service, and a live receptionist service are essential across all industries.
At Phone.com, we’ve spent a lot of time learning what works for most types of businesses. We know what customers want and what drives growth. Looking for communication services that’ll enable your business to reach its potential? Contact us today and let us design a plan that’ll work for your business.