5 areas where an inefficient phone system will negatively impact a business

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An inefficient phone system could literally be killing your business. Okay, so we’re being slightly dramatic, but don’t be fooled; an inefficient phone system will reduce opportunities for success.

 The new generation of super efficient phone systems can give a business tangible competitive advantages. In this article, we explore what this could mean for your company.

1. Importance of data

Accurate, timely information supports informed business decisions. From sales to finance, all departments produce useful data to support strategic decision making. But this data will not always show the complete picture; the gaps in this data that can lead to mistakes creeping into the decision making planning process. These data “gaps” can also prove the most valuable.

One solution is the review and identification of information sources that can be included in business metrics; such a source is your business phone system. Phone systems offer access to valuable data on your business’ communications. This is in other words, accurate, unbiased business performance data covering sales, customer service and service delivery that highlights areas of weakness and missed opportunity.

2. Are all our calls being answered?

Not an easy question to answer when you are dealing with 100’s of extensions and multiple systems spread over many sites and continents.

Any business, regardless of size strives to offer the best customer service it can. A big part of this is answering every incoming call. This isn’t always achievable however, so measures must be put in place to continue the service to customers whose calls aren’t answered at the time.

When a business does not respond to a voicemail message and return the call, this can prove vastly more frustrating to the customer than the call not being picked up in the first place! It is thus crucial that all voicemail messages are followed up in a timely manner.

3. The time it takes for a call to be answered

BT research shows that 69% of people that call a business will hang up rather than leave a message.

An alternative to putting calls through to a voice mailbox is to be placed into a call queue and held there until an agent is available to answer.

This opens up a range of questions – How long can we leave a customer in a queue? What is the optimal time?

The obvious answer is to keep the waiting time to a minimum – or risk the customer abandoning the call. The optimum wait time can only be answered by obtaining actual call data from your own customers and looking at call drop off rates, as each industry and business will vary.

Having these key statistics visible in real time allows managers access to a number of useful metrics, including:

  • Average call duration
  • Call abandonment rates
  • Average call waiting time

Metrics can be broken down at a more granular level to show the calling habits for departments, teams and individuals. This can reveal areas/people that would benefit from further training or support to improve service delivery.

Customers rank speed of response, speed of resolution and staff friendliness as the three most important aspects of customer service. – Zendesk

4. Its marketing’s job to keep the phones ringing

A key indicator of marketing success is “how many new leads were generated?”. An efficient, next-gen phone system will allow users to “tag” incoming calls using a specific account code, which can represent many things depending on the business’ needs; specifically, “tagging” calls that are in response to an individual marketing campaign or call to action.

Tagged calls can be categorised in this way, making it simple to produce reports that can be included in calculations to judge marketing campaign success, and integrated with other data to show a complete view of campaign responses and conversions. This ultimately supports future budget and resource planning; because you can’t manage what you can’t monitor.

The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) delivered its annual UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI) in July 2014, which highlighted the fact that customer satisfaction levels were at their lowest across all sectors since 2011.

5. Just HOW many calls were lost?

When a customer disconnects before speaking to an agent, this doesn’t necessary mean that their business should be entirely lost. Through call reporting, managers can access a list of calls that were abandoned combined with the originating phone number. Using this data, the customer can be called back, apologies made for the problems they had in getting through and a promise to try and follow up their query and bring to a satisfactory conclusion.

After all how would you feel if you got a call back from a business that you didn’t even leave a message for?

This data can also be used to reduce lost sales, and identify team members or departments that are not meeting the expected levels of service and response.

The combination of an efficient phone system with call reporting opens up significant benefits for a business; offering managers valuable, key metrics and data to make informed business decisions.

Conclusion

Staying with an inefficient phone system could very well be putting your business at a significant disadvantage. Without valuable data gained from next-gen system call reporting, effective decisions to improve business performance are made more difficult.

An efficient phone system can help a business gather insight on their customer’s communications, facilitating:

  • Improved planning for resource allocation
  • Budgeting for future demand peaks
  • Improving customer service delivery
  • Reporting on marketing campaign success
  • Delivering additional insight to support future business strategy
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