“Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed…”
Sound familiar? It’s one of the most common catchphrases of the modern business phone system prompt. It might be a little cliche, but at least it’s not among the worst sins your phone system could be committing that is preventing your business from potential success.
Put yourself in the shoes of one of your customers or clients. In fact, don’t even do that. Wear your own shoes. We’ve all experienced some of these painful moments when calling other businesses—it’s your responsibility as the decision-maker in your organization to make sure you don’t put your customers through the same thing.
Nobody has ever called a business to listen to automated marketing messages, taglines, catchphrases, or royalty-free hold music. The goal of your phone system’s auto attendant is to quickly and efficiently direct the caller to the person or department they need to speak to. Obviously, if you have limited people to answer the phone, or you need to put somebody on hold to transfer a call, that is simply the nature of the beast, but you really want to minimize the amount of time they spend dealing with the system.
That means keep your auto-attendant messages clear and short and simple. Avoid long, drawn-out messages as much as possible, and try to offer the most common or pressing destinations first.
We’re not knocking the marketing messages and hold music either—go ahead and put that to use when the line is ringing or when someone is being transferred, just avoid making someone sit through it before they can even choose their destination in the system.
Your clients and customers aren’t always going to know who they need to talk to when they call you, especially if your departments aren’t familiar to them. For example, let’s say you are a car dealership that has separate sales, service, and finance lines.
If you have cute internal names for these departments, such as your “driver happiness department” and your “certified gearhead team,” it might confuse someone who isn’t intimate with the inner workings of your organization. It’s definitely cute and looks great in your marketing, but for a customer or prospect trying to navigate your phone system, it’s just going to be confusing.
Instead, you would want your phone system to announce these departments like this:
“Dial 1 for our sales team, dial 2 for service and maintenance, and dial 3 if you have billing or financial questions.”
If a customer calls with a problem, or a call otherwise doesn’t go well, it’s important for management to be able to review the call to evaluate. Being able to quickly bring up recordings and transcriptions will help uncover details to remediate and correct the problem.
On top of that, meetings over the phone can be complicated, often with a lot of different things being discussed that a single note-taker might miss. Being able to pull text transcripts from a call can make this a whole lot easier and prevent things from being lost in the mix or forgotten.
If this is the case, you are likely using a much older phone system, or there is something wrong or misconfigured. We remember way back in the day when traditional phone systems started offering the ability to remotely connect to them. It was essentially like calling into your phone system and then using it to call out—it was a neat feature, but it often made the audio much worse, and it could be pretty finicky. Fortunately, modern phone systems don’t tend to have this problem, especially cloud-hosted solutions.
If you have remote or hybrid staff, or you have traveling sales people or multiple locations, having a phone system that compliments this can really add some huge benefits to the way you communicate. Your staff can use their smartphones or laptops to take and receive calls, they can transfer calls to other members of the team even when they are a thousand miles away, and everything will be much more seamless for the customer.
Phone systems, especially legacy phone systems, are expensive. The cost of implementing them, upgrading them, and supporting them is often a major expense for most businesses. Like most on-premise technologies, they aren’t supported forever either, which means your business will need to pay out-of-pocket eventually to replace an older system with something newer.
Modern hosted cloud VoIP solutions don’t work that way. You don’t need to install a phone system in your office, you simply pay for the number of lines or users. Sure, you still might need to purchase handsets and headsets, but most modern systems also include smartphone and Windows apps so you can make calls from any device. There’s no shelling out major money for upgrades or to repair and replace hardware—everything is in the cloud.
VoIP also tends to give you more features for less, whereas more traditional phone systems would nickel and dime you for the services and capabilities you need. It’s a win-win!
Want to ditch your unsavory, overpriced phone system without going broke? Give SCW a call at (509) 534-1530 today.
About the author
Sam is a network engineer with a broad range of experience spanning more than 35 years. He wrote is first piece of code in 1979 and has been involved with the industry ever since. For the last 20 years, he has worked for SCW Consulting where he has embraced his passion for network technology and security.
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