60% of customers still prefer a phone call: Is your business phone system up to the task?
When a customer wants to get in touch with your business, how will they do it? They will most likely try to phone you, judging from a recent survey. In this survey’s findings detailed by Small Business Trends, 60% of customers were said to prefer calling small businesses rather than using any alternative contact method.
What does this mean for your business? It means you need to make sure its phone system is up to scratch – and, paradoxically, audio calling could be far from the only functionality it requires.
Make sure you keep your corporate phone system staffed
This means keeping that system staffed right through all your company’s business hours. Otherwise, when someone attempts to call you but does not get any response to their call, they could too easily end up putting the phone back down and calling another company operating in your line of work.
What if your business is currently a one-man outfit and you cannot afford to just tie yourself to the traditional office – and, with it, a fixed phone line – right around the clock? This would be understandable if you often must take business trips, such as to meet new partners and clients in person.
For scenarios like these, though, you could simply make sure your business phone system is integrated with your smartphone, too. You could, for example, route calls so that those made to your widely publicised business number are sent to your mobile when you are out of the office.
Don’t neglect other communication channels your customers could use
While 60% is certainly a high proportion, it’s still far from 100% or even 90%. In the previously mentioned survey, emailing was the second most popular means of reaching out to a small business, with 16% of respondents indicating this preference.
Meanwhile, 4% would first attempt to contact a small company by messaging them via a contact form, and 3% would turn to social media. The implication is clear: there remain many potential customers your business phone system wouldn’t sufficiently cater for if it was solely geared towards audio calling.
This is why the system should cover many different communicative bases – as you could ensure by, for example, investing in a wide range of voice, data and mobile services by Gamma, a provider of enterprise-grade telephony solutions.
Consider implementing a unified communication (UC) solution
This system would work by weaving various communicative functions – including audio and video calling, instant messaging, emailing, and faxing – into one cohesive interface. Consequently, you and anyone else staffing the business would be able to switch seamlessly between these functions as and when required.
While chatbots might prove useful for picking up some of the slack your business phone arrangement inadvertently neglects, you should aim for customer queries to be directly handled by a human whenever possible.
According to research mentioned in a Forbes article, 86% of consumers prefer to interact with a human agent; therefore, you should give your customers many different ways to contact you when they want to do so.