It’s 2017, and it feels like we should be able to handle all of our communication via apps, text message, and email, but you still need to setup and manage a business phone system.
5 Reasons Why You Still Need A Business Phone In 2017
1. Likely 20% or more of your customers don’t have internet
I know a family that lives roughly 2 miles from our office here in Tennessee that doesn’t have internet service. It’s not that they don’t want it and are trying to live the “simple life” it’s that they can’t get it. They remain confounded by it even after five years in that particular location. One cable company runs wire all the way up to their neighbor across the street. Another provider runs wire up to two doors down in the other direction. They have smartphones, but even unlimited data and a hotspot can only get you a person so far. I’m sure you know someone with a very similar story. As close as we are to everyone having high-speed internet, we’re still a little way away.
2. That tiny computer in your pocket is a phone
In 2013 Google commissioned an independent market research company to investigate the effect of a clickable phone number link. According to them, 59% of callers want to get an answer or accomplish their goal quickly. It turns out that people think getting in touch with a live person is essential. This fact couldn’t be more real than in the local service industry. If their numbers are correct, 69% of the people surveyed would be more likely to call a local service provider if their phone number were available to click on a smartphone search result. That tells me two things — One, the customer would like to make a call and two, the customer would like that call to happen quickly and painlessly.
3. A dedicated phone number can be significant to your brand
To continue on the theme above, if you don’t have a number, most people won’t trust your brand. Based on the same research, it seems that 47% of mobile searchers will not interact with a business that doesn’t have a phone number. There is a trust factor that comes when a customer can dial your number and speak to a live person. They know that when they talk to a live person, they’re less likely to be dealing with a fly by night operator.
4. More involved conversations can be had over the phone
From time to time you need to have a more detailed discussion with a customer. This can happen a lot when customers need multiple jobs done or when you need to effect repairs on a customer’s property because of an accident. This also allows you to get to know your customers a little more. Once you know your customer you can understand the trouble aspects of their property or their preferences, you can provide better customer service. This, in turn, can result in better word of mouth among their friends.
5. You can be sure that you aren’t missing any customers
If you aren’t paying attention, someone may go to your website or Facebook page and bounce, and you’ll never know. If someone calls you, you have a phone number to call back. Here at CLIP, we use Ring Central which feeds to our Intercom chat system. This ties everything into the same contact cue so that we don’t miss anyone and can take care of customers in the order they come in. Using this type of system ensures that we don’t lose customers and helps us to maintain productive relationships with them as well.
Consider your options
Now that you’ve decided you still need a business phone, you need to decide on traditional vs. non-traditional.
One option that just came out recently is the Microsoft for Business PBX (the new auto attendant and call queue options came out today for Skype).
What I like about this option is that it includes lots of business technology for one price. Where else can you get:
- Hosted domain Email (professional email that matches your website address).
- Full office suite including publisher.
- Microsoft online storage space 1 TB per user
- Microsoft PowerBi
- Hosted by Microsoft Skype business phone system
Back in the day, you used to use separate servers for calling, email, etc. But now, Microsoft has bundled that into one offering. I know a lot of companies that were using Ring Central that are probably looking closely at Microsoft’s latest offering.
Google has good options for office and email, but they don’t offer anything that can give you calling, etc. If you use Microsoft Office, you may want to look into their new Skype calling options with Office 365.
If you’re a small owner-operator, you may want to use Google Gsuite with a standard cell phone line. Once you add some employees, you could think about something like Grasshopper, RingCentral, or PhoneBooth.