Customers call businesses for many reasons, but not every business has the time or resources to answer the phone.
Research shows that when people call a business, 54% want to schedule an appointment, 16% want to ask about a product, and 14% have billing issues.
If your business struggles to make time for customer calls, you could consider a voice services provider.
Voice services help businesses communicate with customers using VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology.
VoIP transmits telephone calls over an internet connection using any connected device like a landline, mobile device, or computer. This flexibility helps reduce fixed costs for businesses on a budget.
Cloud technology has expanded the functionality of voice services, though challenges can arise from network complexities.
As an integrated communications solution, voice services are an affordable and easy way to communicate with customers.
Consider Your Needs
Businesses struggle to maintain communications with customers for a variety of reasons.
A company can be short on time, employees, or lack the money to hire a secretary. Regardless of the circumstances, a business must be available to customers when they call.
When considering voice services, determine which call features would allow you to better serve your customers.
For example, you could bolster your customer support or equip your sales team with professional call equipment. Either would enable workers to help customers but in different ways.
All voice service providers offer basic call functionalities, including:
- Caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, call routing
- Call menus with interactive voice or button presses
- Dialing directory with extensions for certain employees
- Hold music
Basic call features start around $20 per month on an integrated VoIP platform. These features can be accessed from employees’ mobile devices or a company phone system.
Many voice services also offer a web-based dashboard that can integrate call data with their CRM and other business solutions like helpdesk software.
Higher up the pricing tier, virtual secretaries can help businesses to outsource tasks such as scheduling appointments. Call centers are also available, though these are suited to large companies that need to handle high volumes of customer calls at a time.
Ultimately, when people call a business, they want the option to speak with a person.
Consider which voice service features will enhance customer satisfaction and ease communications while being cost-effective.
Do You Have the IT Infrastructure?
Using voice services may require you to upgrade your IT infrastructure.
This is because VoIP technology requires a stable internet connection and enough network bandwidth to handle the new voice traffic. If the network is lacking, calls may be spotty, get dropped, or the entire system can crash.
A business-class internet link to the cloud is vital to call quality. You’ll also need to be able to establish a dedicated link through a dedicated router.
An IT professional can test the capacity of your network and audit your systems. Service providers also offer complimentary testing and optimizing for your network prior to deploying their software.
Next, decide if you want to buy your VoIP system and host it yourself or rent the equipment and pay the provider to host the data.
Setting up your own VoIP system is an investment and requires you to service the network yourself. By contrast, cloud-based VoIP services are easier to use but are costlier over time and may require you to purchase IP phones.
Ask yourself – what phone system and network capacity will I need to handle the call volumes I expect in the coming years? Do I need new phones or can calls be received on employees’ mobile devices?
If you expect a significant increase in call volume, you may need a separate network from your office Wi-Fi to handle the new VoIP data. If your company is growing quickly, a new phone system could be helpful.
By contrast, perhaps you’d prefer to hire an IT employee to maintain your network and conserve the hosting fees.
Depending on your business, it may make sense to pay for hosted service or to bring the VoIP system in-house.
Using a Voice Services Provider
Voice remains a key way to communicate with customers, and voice services are a low-cost and scalable way to take customer calls. When choosing a voice service, it’s important to consider your existing IT infrastructure, your needs, and how whether a hosted or in-house VoIP system is best for you.
Author – Kristen Herhold is a Senior Content Developer for Clutch.