Telephone strategy

As the end of 2021 fast approaches, thoughts turn to the year ahead. For many businesses that means asking some tough questions not the least of which are; how do you develop a strategy when there is the chance of further supply and transport shortages? And how do you plan at all when you don’t know whether additional lockdowns will affect your business, its people, clients, and suppliers?

 

One of the advantages in being able to ask questions such as these is that over the last two years we have lived through some extraordinary times. We have already encountered lockdowns and shortages. And whilst our initial response to these may have been somewhat scrambled, over time approaches and solutions have been refined in order to deliver a close a match to ‘business as usual’ as possible.

 

So perhaps the questions are not as tough as we might originally think. But they still need to be asked. And the answers still need to be incorporated into a strategy which looks towards building a strong future. Here is the next challenge. Strategies are only successful when they step outside the board room and integrate across the business. And yet, past history is littered with examples of seemingly strong strategies which have failed because the day to day business was not geared up to meet the ambition.

 

Take something as simple as the telephone system for example. It’s easy to take your business phones for granted. But will your existing system be able to easily scale up if required? There is nothing more frustrating for a potential customer than to continually receive an engaged signal, or to hear the phone ringing and ringing with no answer.

 

In planning a marketing drive it may therefore pay to set up additional phone answering points, to revisit telephone hunt groups, or to arrange for a virtual assistant service to take overspill calls. Oh, and make sure that all of your people are aware of the initiative. It’s surprising how often people in one department know little about what is going on elsewhere in the company.

 

Or how about a strategy which plans to expand overseas? When you are looking to attract clients from other countries, they may not be too happy about having to contact a UK phone number, particularly if that call will cost them a premium amount. It might therefore be advisable to offer an international regional, local, or freephone number for overseas clients to call. Those calls can then either be switched into your main telephone network or directed towards a dedicated area, perhaps staffed by designated language speakers.

 

The above examples look towards gaining new customers. But what about keeping a relationship going with existing ones? Key customer relationships might benefit from a dedicated telephone line so that they can swiftly get in touch with their nominated contact. Alternatively, your phone system could be set up to recognise certain caller numbers and direct their calls appropriately.

 

No matter what 2022 throws at us, one thing is certain. Integrating the strategy across the organisation just might help to turn ambition into outcome. May we therefore take this opportunity to wish you a prosperous New Year.

Written by Alison