Dialling in your business plan

How do you leverage your phone system in order to help you deliver your business plan? It’s a question which arose after we heard that a telephone box in Ramsgate was now home to the ‘world’s smallest ice cream parlour.’ Offering a variety of flavours this fledgling business is now co-operating with other local businesses to deliver an even greater choice of desserts from their telephone box base.

We may not all be able to operate our businesses from a second hand telephone box but that doesn’t mean that we should see our phone systems as being a mere adjunct to our core business. In fact there are a number of ways in which properly configured phone systems can add to the business offering. Let’s take a brief look at just a few of these:

  • Phone numbers. When you can look up a business on your mobile and then press a button to dial the number you might think that your choice of business phone number is irrelevant. But business telephone numbers can still speak volumes. Are you going to charge people to talk to you; perhaps by listing a premium rate number for a helpline? Would your business model fit better with a freephone number, or a local or national number which is free for those who have ‘minutes’ phone contracts? And if you deal with overseas customers would an international number be more appropriate?
  • Company information line. If you are regularly asked to provide the same information, might a company information line be the answer. Particularly appropriate for visitor attractions, company information lines can provide up to date information about opening times, what’s on, or special offers; thereby freeing up time to answer more in depth queries.
  • Call transfer. Whether you have a simple switch to answerphone or a multi-call queuing package, the way in which you look to answer calls can speak volumes about your customer focus. Get the mix right and customers are more likely to feel cared for, potentially leading to referrals or repeat business. Lose your callers in a myriad of press this, guess that, and start again options and they might not bother a second time.
  • Conference calls. Whether talking to suppliers, key clients, or just getting the team together; conference calls could save time and travel. With a choice of public access conference calls which cater for up to 50 callers, or private access ones which can accommodate up to 500 and can be controlled via a web access portal, you can choose the optimum call type for your business.

Finally, whatever service mix you opt for now, make sure that your phone system is flexible. That way you can ensure that as your business grows and flexes and as customer needs change, you will be able to offer a business telephone service which best meets changing needs. Phone box or multi-person call centre; it doesn’t really matter. What is important is that your phone system is there for you.

Written by Alison