Contributed by Dave Thomas
Communications both amongst your employees and with your customers are two keys to running a successful small business.
So, what happens when you feel like both your in-house communications and those in interacting with your customers are not as good as they should be? In some cases, you can make some minor changes to try and better the issue, but other times it pays to find a better solution to the service needs of everyone involved.
One such service need is having the right communications system in place, something that any small business owner should never overlook. Without the right set up, important messages could be left waiting, meaning a potential sale or question/solution to a customer problem is not solved as expediently as it should be.
If one of your goals going into 2013 was to improve your communications approach, then you may want to dial-in to VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol.)
Also by Dave Thomas: Help! My Brand Has Fallen And Can't Get Up
In basic terminology, VoIP is a phone that offers built-in IP technology and transport options that allow you and your team to send and receive phone messages. With VoIP, your small business can expedite its daily needs, opening up the potential for additional sales and revenue.
If you decide to connect with VoIP this year, consider the following:
Finding the right provider - Start off your VoIP search by getting quotes from several different providers. Among the key areas to focus in on are products, costs, financial history and stability of the company, and customer service. Compare and contrasts the offers you get, along with seeking a free trial program so that you can try out the different options. If the provider attempts to get you into a contract from the start and applies a high degree of sales pressure, look elsewhere. You should not agree to any potential deal for product and service until you and your workers have had a chance to try out the new VoIP system.
Finding the right features - As you learn more about VoIP, you will come to know that the phone’s major offerings include a screen, keypad, microphone and speaker, handset, headset jack and Ethernet ports. With the right VoIP setup for you and your employees, you can all enjoy things such as video tele-conferencing, caller ID, call waiting, call transferring, speed-dialing, call forwarding, 3-way calling, and other key features. Some of these features can be great for your business when you have a few or many employees that travel for business. They can still stay in touch easily with the office and/or customers via VoIP.
Finding the savings - With VoIP, your small business can see over time savings, something that proves especially important today when many companies are trying to balance budgets. There are different calling plans available, including those that save you on long distance and even international business calling. Compare the different costs for each provider’s package of services, remembering that the cheapest isn’t always the best (see below);
Finding the best customer service - Just as you try your best when it comes to serving your customers, the same should hold true with the VoIP provider that you settle on. Your VoIP provider should offer excellent customer service, answering and solving any needs that you or your staff have. As previously mentioned, this is why having a free trial period is so important, allowing you and your team to work out the kinks before going ahead with full installation. Doing this also allows you to see how effective the provider’s customer service
If this is the year that your small business opts for VoIP, make sure you connect with the right provider, allowing you to connect even better with your team and customers.
About the Author
With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave Thomas covers a wide array of small business topics, including how to find a quality VoIP provider.