Don’t invest in a new business telephone system just to make and receive phone calls. You would be missing out on leveraging its advantages to create an excellent marketing tool. There are so many seemingly hidden opportunities once a caller is on the line, from catchy marketing messages instead of crusty old on-hold music, to clever use of the keypad to select a service. It requires looking at the options offered with services with a marketing eye, looking for alternative uses for some seemingly innocuous functions. With business in all sectors being more competitive than ever before, each little edge represents a small win over the competition.
What sort of marketing opportunities are we talking about?
Don’t underestimate the importance of voice contact – online alone is not enough. New start-ups may prefer to focus on online promotion because it does not require hiring staff to man the phones. But that is to completely overlook the real human need in many people for human contact to feel good about a transaction. Here is a brief list of specific features and how they can be used to improve a company’s image. All interaction is marketing – so make it good.
Call rates – Analyse which ad campaigns generated the best response by using different numbers and measuring incoming call rates to those numbers.
Call monitoring features measure things like speed of response, which is a critical feature of excellent customer service – and is especially noted if it is slow or not answered at all.
Call recording to listen afterwards and analyse how well a staff member followed the recommended spiel and interacted with the caller. Great for pinpoint feedback and improvement and to build on existing training to help polish individual performances.
Silent intrude – enables a supervisor to discretely listen in to a call and “whisper” in the staff members ear should they forget their lines or need some other prompting.
Display the caller’s name on incoming calls so you can respond “Hello, Mrs Jones.” This requires the phone system to be integrated with your customer database and can really make a very favourable impression, especially as all their details and transaction/order history can also be displayed.
On-hold audio – A good on-hold system is important in all companies but especially in smaller ones that may simply not have the staff to respond to every call in a timely manner. Don’t let the caller wait in silence. Big companies, with adequate staffing levels for call answering, can tell the caller “You are #3 in the queue and are moving forward” or “You may expect to be attended to in approximately 3 minutes.” Smaller companies can use on-hold audio to promote special offers, for example.
Text marketing – can be extremely effective when used correctly because so few businesses use it.