One of the most important aspects of running a successful business in 2021 is offering better customer support. Most businesses suck at customer support. Just getting this one thing right will help you differentiate and stand out from all of them.
Businesses get customer support wrong either because they don’t put any effort into it or because they try to automate it fully. They automate it because they have no idea that it is possible to offer stellar highly personalized customer service with a business phone system.
What is a business phone system?
A business phone system is a system where multiple phones used by a business are interconnected. This makes it easy to handle calls, transfer them, organize meetings and conferences. The system can consist of just a handful of phones to dozens, making up a complex system.
These systems can work over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and over the internet as they can also be cloud-based.
6 top features to look for in a business phone system
There are a wide variety of features offered by different phone systems. I recommend you go through the below list and make a checklist of the features you need and then choose a system that has all these features.
For most businesses, a simple phone system that has a handful of the features listed below will be sufficient. While if you are a large business, you can get one with everything.
A hunt group is a feature offered by several business phone systems where a call to a number is distributed to different phone numbers either simultaneously or one after the other (if an attendant doesn’t answer the call, it is redirected to the next person in line). This ensures that someone always answers the phone. You won’t miss out on sales leads.
Some systems let you create special numbers for this. This way you can only assign hunt groups to specific numbers to which potential and current customers reach out. Others can be sent to voicemail or an automated attendant.
If you give people the choice between being assisted by a real person or an automated attendant, they will always choose the real person. But the issue with using only a real people is that your line will get busy eventually when too many calls come in or when the office hours end. This is why you should use an automated attendant to help assist regular attendees.
An automated attendant can also take down details from callers and suggest extensions to make it easy for people to get quick access to the right department. This can also ease some of the pressure on the support team.
Conferencing features allow many people to attend one call. Most systems offer this feature but will limit the number of attendees to a maximum of two. If you need more, make sure you pick one that offers as many callers as you need. If you do pick a system with many callers, make sure you test out the quality. As some systems will offer this feature but the quality will be a letdown.
Even with an automated attendant, you need voicemail as sometimes the attendant might not be able to connect people to a department or a regular attendant either because all lines are busy or because the office is closed.
Don’t opt for software with basic voice mail features that just let you record a message. Instead, look for something that lets you greet people with different messages depending on the situation (after work hours, all lines busy, etc.), let’s callers leave long messages, and allows people to access recordings remotely, not just at work.
To offer proper customer support, you need to ensure that the phone line isn’t occupied with unnecessary calls. This is why you should choose a system with a caller ID to keep annoying salesmen who are trying to sell you things at bay. Caller ID can also help you filter out calls from the warmest leads and loyal customers. You can attend to these people first and put the others on hold.
When you place people on hold, you should be able to offer some form of entertainment such as music to ensure they stay on. So, make sure that your system comes with music tracks. If it lets you upload custom tracks that is even better as you can record important messages and play them or use unique music.
These are some of the most important features your business phone system must have. They will ensure that you offer stellar customer support that will attract new customers and keep the current ones happy. Some other features you can look into are muting, call forwarding, redial, call queues, and VoIP related features.
Another important thing you need to consider while choosing your phone system is the budget. If you have a tight budget, getting a one-time fee software will work best for you. While if you have a higher budget a Saas option where you have a monthly fee will be better. But remember that you need to plan for the longterm when you go with a Saas option with a monthly fee as your plan will get more expensive as your usage increases.