2015 has arrived and many of us are busy making resolutions for the New Year and beyond.
Dave Millett of Equinox, an independent Telecoms Brokerage and Consultancy (www.equinoxcomms.co.uk) has five telecoms resolutions that all businesses should commit to:
1. Test your Customers' experience by calling your own company – often people's first experience of dealing with a company is when they call them.
Whilst you can use systems to measure time to answer and abandoned calls do you know how customers are greeted when they call in? If you use options such as 'press 1', 'press 2' etc. – how easy are they to navigate?
If you use an answering service is it creating the right impression for your company? Do they sound like an answering bureau or are they offering a personalised service that adds value to your company.
2. Do you have a business continuity plan that covers communications?
It is not just about what happens if there is disruption to services into the building e.g. a builder cutting through the cables in the road can take weeks to repair. It could be that you cannot access your building due to inclement weather or transport disputes. Do you have a plan that enables you to answer incoming calls from customers and suppliers? There are plenty of solutions to improve resilience which cost a lot less than lost business.
3. Is the telecoms solution you are using inhibiting the productivity of your staff?
The following have all dropped in price in recent years: technologies that enable effective home working and working on the move, services such as call recording to review the quality of customer service and video conferencing / webinar services. All investments need to be justified by the return they generate but because costs have fallen it is worth revisiting many technologies to assess if they can benefit your business.
4. Are you using the right phone numbers to promote your business?
Many businesses don't consider what their phone number says about their company. For example, research shows that 30% of people will not call a company that does not have a landline.
Should you use 0800, 0845, 0844 or Geographic numbers to front your business? If your customers and prospects call from mobiles then 08 numbers can be very expensive. Also most networks warn callers of the cost, at which point a lot hang up. 08 numbers can be an advantage if you want to hide a location or want people calling from landlines to get through for free. Using 0844 and 0871 numbers send a very bad message; these are almost always expensive to call.
If you want to appear to have multiple offices it is easy to have phone numbers for each ringing into your one office. The advance of technologies such as SIP and inbound services means it can look as if you have many offices around the world.
5. Finally, when did you last check the costs you are paying for telecoms.
Call costs have fallen significantly and we regularly see clients who are overpaying by 30 – 40%. Are you paying for services you no longer require? We find that 1 in 7 companies can cut costs by just cancelling things they no longer use.
Finally some unscrupulous providers have a trick of raising prices without telling you. They may win a deal on a promise of low prices and then slowly increase them – so also check your bill against the original contract.
By follow these telecoms resolutions in 2015 your business will be healthier, better prepared, and probably more profitable too.