Thursday, 23 August 2018

This is why you will fall in love with VoIP telephony




Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Are you in the process of sourcing a new phone system for your business?

You may decide to stick with what you know. Possibly a traditional PBX system, or move to cloud based technology and embrace a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system.

Here are some compelling points you should consider before signing up to any provider and will help with the decision making process!

Scalability

With a traditional premises based telephone system, you initially purchase the hardware and software upfront. This means you have to gauge how much capacity is necessary, now and for the future. 

This means, if you are going through a quiet patch or your business is seasonal, you can’t scale down.  You are therefore paying for lines and services that are not in use.
 

With a VoIP system, it's simply a case of adding or taking away extensions and services when demand dictates. This is especially important if your business is growing, as you can add to the system incredibly quickly and easily. 

Features

Generally a premises based telephone system costs more than a cloud based system and  delivers less in terms of functionality.  Once your premises based system is live, you then need to pay for bolt-on modules, which can be expensive.

We’d say this is probably one of the main reasons that business communications are moving rapidly over to cloud based telephone systems. 


You will enjoy standard features such as:-

Easy to access call reporting
Voicemail to e-mail
Compatibility with CRM software using TAPI or API integration, for click to dial and screen popping

Auto attendant i.e. Press 1 for sales, Press 2 for marketing.
Call queues and cascading
Call recording
Free inter-site calls

All these features can be implemented easily to create a bespoke system for your exact business needs.

Every small or medium business can now benefit from sophisticated features that once only larger companies could enjoy. The system can be tailored EXACTLY to your needs and changed with very short notice.

Business continuity

If business continuity is important to you, (and why wouldn’t it be!) then VoIP is for you!

You can easily divert calls to other phones and locations, if disaster strikes.

Divert to a mobile(s) or another landline(s) or both.  This means your business keeps moving along without loss of important calls.

With a traditional system, it can take several hours to install a divert and take the divert off once everything is back to normal.

And, with a traditional telephone system, you can only divert the lines to one number.  Conversely, with a cloud based phone system, you can divert to any number of devices. 


Infact, you can set up an automatic divert so that calls instantly fall over to another phone if your data connection goes down, or there is a fault on the line.

Control

If you have several sites or offices or occasionally work from home then a VoIP solution gives you the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere, providing you have a data connection.

This data connection can be broadband, 3G or 4G. You simply plug your own extension in, and the phone acts exactly as it would on your own office desk! This particular feature is practically non-existent with a traditional system.

Capacity

The major advantage of VoIP over a traditional system, is that you can make numerous concurrent calls.

A broadband connection with a 1 Mbps upload speed is equivalent to 10 lines. You can immediately see the potential of being able to take and receive more calls at any given time!

With a traditional system, you can only make and take calls over the lines you have. One line - one call.

Future proofing

Having a system that is instantly upgraded with the current release of software is really important. And, this is exactly what you get (free of charge) with a cloud based system.

Why would you want to wait for an engineer to call and sort an upgrade out and then charge you for doing so?

Before you decide, take your time to talk to a telephony expert to establish what is best for your business now.

Cloud based telephony is THE way forward - what's not to love? 



If you need impartial advice, give Merlin a call now.

The Merlin Team
08008778810



Thursday, 16 August 2018

Is live chat the remarkable tool you think it is?

How naive can you be?

It wasn't until I read a very interesting article by Call Centre Helper, that the penny dropped and I realised that when I enter into online "live chat" I probably wasn't getting one to one assistance!

So if you are thinking about installing live chat into your business, have a read of the below article to weigh up whether it will really work for you. 

https://www.callcentrehelper.com/things-wont-tell-live-chat-130664.htm

The premise that having a live chat function works out cheaper is challenged and customer satisfaction will quite obviously dip if the advisor is working on more than two concurrent calls.  The other interesting point is that some customers will use live chat instead of picking up the phone, because they probably can't be bothered to query a minor issue.  This means that the amount of contact and possibly, number of complaints rise. Not what you hand in mind.

Carolyn Blunt of Real Results, has a more positive view on Live Chat, providing you follow some basic rules. 

https://www.callcentrehelper.com/training-your-staff-to-be-effective-at-live-chat-93199.htm

Extending your opening hours for a short period after the business is closed, with live chat,  can be beneficial for both staff and customer and if staff are trained well, they can be far more effective.

Massive growth in customer use of live chat has been recorded, with a rise of 58% in 2014 and I imagine this percentage has grown further to date. 

Before installing live chat you should consider the uptake and who your demographic audience will be.  You need to pre-empt volume and the type of questions your team will be asked.  Customers want information and results quickly. 

Staff will need to have impeccable spelling and grammar and get the right tone.  Not too formal, not too cheeky.  Being able to deal with complaints and angry clients is a must.  Ongoing evaluation of chat logs should be processed to ensure continuous quality. 

From my point of view, I love being able to log onto live chat.  I find it quick, responsive and gets results without having to pay for a call.  When done well, it's an effective customer care strategy and that can't be bad. 

As more and more companies include this as a customer tool, more and more will expect to see live chat.  So, maybe it's time to expand your customer care repertoire!

Tina Bricknell for
The Merlin Team
08008778810