Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dial in for Better Business: 4 Simple Tips

A singular landline used to be a core facet of any business, and as the main point of contact; questions ranging from operating hours to prices to directions came in solely through the phone. The difference in today’s market is that there are multiple connection points, including your website and social media, and the landscape changes daily. But perhaps the communication innovations that seemingly eliminate the need for the phone as a key channel actually make it all the more valuable?

1. Use Multiple Phone Numbers to Track Ads

When Internet companies place ads in different channels (such as Facebook or Twitter), they use unique links to measure traffic. But what happens if ads aren’t only on the Internet? How can you measure where people are coming from if you’re advertising on a billboard, with flyers, or through a partner business? This is where having multiple phone numbers presents a simple solution. Services exist that provide multiple numbers for each channel, all managed directly through a mobile device. This provides a clear view of each channel’s effectiveness.

2. Text Responses

A couple of months ago, Yelp launched a new service called Message the Business. If a user doesn’t find the information they need on a business’s Yelp page, and they don’t want to call, they can choose to send an email instead. The business owner receives the message, and can reply directly via their Yelp account. This reflects a growing trend in how people communicate: they prefer to type rather than call. Allowing customers to text you directly through a secondary number can also enhance the user experience.

3. Local Area Codes

Many customers tend to prefer local businesses because they support and give back to their communities. However, sometimes being just a mile or two away from a certain location can result in a different area code. Virtual numbers with local area codes provides a simple fix.

If you place ads in two geographic areas, you can create two different numbers, each with the area code of the region you’re targeting. This ensures that customers see you as a local business, which might eliminate contact barriers. (Additional bonus: you can track which area has more of your customers!)There are also benefits for phone sales. If you’re based in Seattle and call a prospective customer in Miami, they’re much more likely to pick up a call that comes in through a Miami area code.

4. Smarter Customer Service

You might be the only person running your business, but your business has many focus areas ranging from sales and customer support to legal and operations. A great way to utilize multiple phone numbers is to assign one to each department. Advantages include:
  • Knowing the purpose of a call: If a call comes in through your sales number, you can prepare for it differently than if it comes in through the legal line.
  • Improving your image: Having multiple lines shows your customers that you have departments dedicated to specific issues. It’s a win-win. You operate more effectively and gather improved data, while your customer has a better experience!
  • Organizing your conversations: Each phone number can also keep track of individual conversations in a dedicated timeline. This provides a helpful overview to broaden your understanding of customer needs, which can guide planning and implementation.


Keep Your Lines Open

There are endless ways for businesses to use phones to collect quality data and deliver better service. The phone continues to be a crucial part of doing business, and recent advances in technology have actually created more opportunities to enhance use of this trusted communication channel.

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