Ringing the changes

Wrong numbers, signal fluctuations, even the modern phenomenon of pocket dialling are just some of the vagaries of a joined up communication system which we’ve probably all experienced from time to time. Thanks then to Ofcom for adding to the list with the story of how a faulty doorbell immobilised cars.

The story comes from a town in Northern Ireland in which residents and business owners in one street were suddenly unable to electronically lock and unlock their cars. When one key fob goes wrong you might suspect the battery, when everyone’s fobs stop working, you look for an outside cause. One enterprising business owner apparently called in Ofcom experts who traced the problem to interference from a faulty wireless doorbell.

Electrical interference isn’t a new phenomenon, indeed one of our colleagues remembers working for an organisation some twenty years ago which experienced office computers grinding to a halt whenever electronic equipment was intermittently switched on in a neighbouring building. There again it took experts with specialist equipment to trace the fault. But with the growing availability of electronic and electrical devices, it’s hardly surprising that the available spectrum is filling up; leading to unintended consequences from time to time.

On the plus side, the communication revolution has opened up the way for businesses to be far more innovative in the way in which they interact with their customers. The days in which one business had one telephone line are now a dim and distant memory; as are the days in which if you wanted more than one line then some form of expensive manual switchboard had to come into play.

Nowadays businesses are free to choose as many phone numbers as they need in order to best serve their customers. More importantly, virtual switchboards mean that calls to these numbers can easily be routed and rerouted around the organisation in response to operational needs.

  • Promoting a new product; why not advertise a special dedicated line with calls being switched to the sales or marketing team.
  • Moving into a new area; why not offer a local telephone number to attract your potential new customers.
  • Running a visitor attraction; then how about a dedicated number linked to an information line to provide visiting times and costs.

Oh and if you’re looking to expand your offering overseas, then there are a whole range of international, local and freephone numbers to choose from. So it doesn’t matter if your customers are from Spain or Southend, New York or New Malden, there is a choice of numbers which will suit them all.

In other words, there is no excuse for companies which are really looking to communicate with their customers and suppliers not to promote themselves as being ready, willing and open to talk business on the phone. And once your potential customers call, by deploying a company switchboard, calls can be transferred not just across the office but across the organisation to ensure that queries are dealt with promptly and effectively.

The communication revolution has opened up pathways to success; isn’t it time that you looked at your communication matrix and started ringing the changes.

Written by Alison