Starting A Business: Getting Your Telecoms Right

Starting A Business: Getting Your Telecoms Right

Help setting up telecom systems when starting a business

Starting a new business is an exciting time but it’s also confusing and full of challenges. Using an experienced and professional telecoms company is one way to get your new business communicating quickly and stress free.

With all your telecoms taken care of, you can focus on other areas of your business that you are an expert in and have confidence that your telecoms provider will be an expert part of your business for communications.

With Telecoms there is not a one fits all solution – its vitally important that your telecoms provider spends time understanding your business and what you plan to do with your business as you will need a solution that grows with your business to ensure continuity and minimising unnecessary cost.

That means the first thing that a telecoms provider should do is to talk to you. They will find out exactly what is right for you; whether there will be any special requirements, where your business will be located, what your customer profile is likely to be, or things as whether you will require telephone ordering and payment facilities and such.

They will also need to know whether you’ll need to have telecoms connections while you’re ‘on the go’ or will your business be purely office based. Another very important point they need to consider is what type of number will be best suited for your business, and … not least … how soon do you need it.

In fact, there are so many points to consider that any provider who tells you that there is a standard ‘off the shelf’ package available is either lying or they are not doing their job properly.

The point is that the Telecoms provider will design a bespoke telephone system that is exactly right for you and your new business. It’s even possible that they could be able to provide FREE HARDWARE and you may also have to PAY NOTHING FOR THE CALLS YOU MAKE.

Below are the main options or even combination for all businesses

Hosted Systems

When it comes to growing your start-up business, Hosted systems have many benefits in that regard. As calls between in-company phones are conducted on a network rather than on a public phone line, extending a Hosted system to newly-opened offices or even to telecommuters, if you choose that model of staffing, is more cost-effective than a traditional telecom system running on public phone lines. In addition, Hosted technology has started to evolve to include mobile apps, allowing staff to make and receive calls on their smartphones, using existing phone numbers assigned to the company.

For start-ups, flexibility can be critical, and Hosted systems enable that, introducing a new extension is straightforward and in some situations, consists only of connecting a VoIP-enabled phone to the network, re-configuring some software settings in the cloud and on the device, itself, and you are up and running. A service provider will typically be able to do those adjustments for minimal cost or even free of charge.

Flexibility for a start-up also extends to getting things operational quickly, and Hosted systems can deliver on that front. Installation times for a hosted VoIP can be around three days. In the case of an IP-PBX system, with additional video, audio, and instant messaging capabilities, a straightforward install for a start-up could be achieved in around five working days.

VoIP adoption depends, of course, on having a good Internet connection, and for some start-up businesses, this can be a challenge, owing to the unavailability of good broadband. Nonetheless, as broadband becomes more available, even in more remote locations, VoIP is one technology that is going to continue to thrive. Analysts are even predicting that in the course of the next decade, hosted will surpass traditional phone services to become the dominant telecoms system.

Start-up businesses appreciate anything that gives them a potential advantage over the competition, allows easy communication with customers, and helps cut down on costs. It should come as no surprise that Hosted systems are proving popular with the start-up sector.

Virtual Phone Numbers

1. Aid to working from home

Most SMEs when they first start, decide to work from home, and you can see why.

Costs are minimal as there are no extra overheads and time is saved as the working day integrates with your home life. Business owners are in control of when and how they work providing them with the extra flexibility they desire.

By having a virtual number sit upon your home landline, it can give your customer base the impression that your start up is a far more established. Choosing a 03 or 08 number can improve your presence nationwide, helping to attract calls from across the UK rather than just within your geographical perimeter.

Upgrading to the call handling service ‘call whisper’ will announce whether the call is personal or business helping to make you aware of the nature of the call you are about to receive. You can then answer the phone accordingly and maintain a professional image.

2. Reroute on the go

New start-ups are often on the go, trying to improve awareness of their company within the local community as well as further afield.

You don’t want to run the risk of missing an important business call whilst active; this is where a virtual number can help. You can choose at your discretion to reroute your calls through to a mobile phone or another landline, setting time specific rules ensuring you never miss a call from a potential customer or opportunity.

3. Walk in your customers footsteps

Customers value speaking to a human being, think about your customer’s experience when they contact you.

By simply providing a phone number this will not only show you as a reputable organisation but will help to improve customer trust with your business.

When customers do ring, ensure the customer journey is as positive and consistent as possible by being not only polite but helpful. First impressions count so make sure you make the right impression on every call.

4. Improve visibility

Exposure and visibility is key to any business, especially so in the early stages.

Working from home, or in fact in anywhere that does not have an obvious presence, means you have to get your name and brand out there.

Allowing you to choose a number that your customers can recall with ease. Not only is this great for referrals but it will also help to boost your marketing campaigns enquiry rates.

There’s a huge range of memorable numbers to choose from, but the most popular numbers are those with any of the following properties:

• Repeated numbers either singular or double

• A run of consecutive numbers

• Mirrored numbers

5. Think about costs

When considering a virtual number, you must consider how much it will cost your customers to call.

Choosing a number with high costs may deter customers from contacting you and could have a significant effect upon your level of enquiries.

It can be confusing to understand the different costs involved with the various numbers; for example, 0845 numbers are less expensive to call than a 0844 or 0871 phone number, whereas a 03 number costs the same rate to call as a local number. Make sure you do your research as you don’t want to alienate your customer base.

6. A number is for life

Things change. How and where you operate now might not match where you want to be in a years’ time.

With a virtual number you are not tied to a specific location, you can change the phone line you forward calls to at any time allowing you to take your number with you if you relocate.

7. Grow with your business

As your business develops and grows in stature as well as size, so can your phone number.

There are many different call handlings features which can be added to your call package to further the control of your inbound calls and callers. How a call is handled depends entirely upon a variety of factors which are often unique to a business.

Traditional Landline Services (PBX)

Landline telephone services are a reliable and time-tested solution that every business will be comfortable with. They are stable, easy to maintain, and can function independently of power outages or internet connectivity issues that may affect Hosted services (while many phones require power to operate, the technology behind the phone line itself does not).

Landlines operate on a purpose-built network, which was designed for one purpose: telephony. And because it wasn’t built for any other purpose, it manages telephony extremely well. This means excellent call quality, nearly 100% uptime, highly private and secure connections, and the ability to scale and support large volumes of traffic.

The biggest disadvantage of landline technology is that the technology itself is obsolete. No further development or enhancements are planned for it, and there are plans to phase it out. This will also pose a challenge for repairs. Parts are relatively easy to come by now, but they will become scarce as the technology is replaced.