Small businesses still need to take calls from customers, in spite of the many other options for communication which are commonplace today.
That’s where a phone system comes into play, and the trick isn’t just to pick the right one, but also set it up in a way that benefits your organization at every level.
To help you do just that, we’ve pulled together some top tips so that you can take full advantage of your small business phone system.
Use software that gives you a local phone number
Just because your business is small, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be fielding calls from customers across the entire country.
The problem with this is that if you’ve got just one geographic phone number, it will cost inbound callers from further afield a lot more cash to get in touch.
Worse still, calling prospects in far-flung places is tougher because they won’t necessarily trust any non-local number they see on their screen.
Thankfully, with the use of a local phone number supplied via software, you can deal with both of these conundrums at once, and you won’t need to change anything else about your phone system in the process.
Embrace CRM integration
There are lots of great customer relationship management platforms out there which support integration with business phone systems, whether you’re using an on-site PBX or a remote, software-based equivalent.
The suitability of a particular CRM for your needs will depend on the features you value most. So for example, you might prioritize picking a package that lets you track lots of different metrics relating to calls, and use analytical tools to determine how effectively you are handling conversations with customers across an entire sales team.
It’s easiest to achieve integration if you’re using a VoIP-based phone system, and you could even benefit from things like automatic conversation logging and real time transcription with such a setup.
Implement call forwarding ASAP
Even the simplest phone system should be able to forward calls, and this is very relevant for small businesses that might not have large teams available to answer landline connections from a single location.
Calls can be forwarded to several devices consecutively, whether that’s your modern mobile device, your home phone line or to another office entirely.
The good reputation of your company is dependent on being there to answer customers when they contact you, so activating automatic call forwarding has to be high on the agenda.
Train team members appropriately
If your business is small but growing, it’s unlikely that you’re the only one who will have use of the phone system you choose. So don’t just assume that because you’ve got to grips with its various features and functions, others will find it similarly intuitive.
Offering training for all team members in the use of the phone system will ensure that your investment in it pays dividends.
Look to the long term
The final aspect of setting up a phone system for your growing small business involves considering how your needs will change as time passes, and making sure that your existing configuration won’t become a limiting factor as you add more employees to your ranks.
More flexibility is afforded through software and internet-powered telephony solutions, of course. But things like the number of desktop handsets you buy, and the number of connection points that are available, must also be assessed.
Getting the bigger picture sooner rather than later will benefit your business further down the line, and your phone system will be an asset rather than a bottleneck.