Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Many small businesses have a modern telephone system - but only use a few functions. Yet digital telephony functions not only make communication more efficient. They also contribute to customer loyalty and convey a good image to the customer.
Always close to the customer
When Mr. Müller is on the road as the owner of a one-man business, he doesn't have to worry about missing an important call. When he is in the office, his desk phone rings. When he is on the road with a customer, the call is forwarded to his smartphone. And in the home office, he takes the call from his home phone. The location-independent use of telephony allows a call to ring on up to three devices.
Mr. Müller can thus be reached by his customers on the company phone number at any time - an important feature for many small businesses. After all, it is not only customer satisfaction that depends on having the right contact person on the phone right away. Much more dramatic is often the lost turnover when a prospective customer bounces off a recorded message, for example.
Location-independent use is not only worthwhile for one-man businesses. In larger companies, accessibility is a must for some employees. Or an employee frequently changes jobs between the company location and the home office. In each of these cases, this functionality can be used. The terminal-independent telephone number offers similar advantages: "Here you can configure several telephone numbers on one terminal," says Josef Furger, Senior Product Manager B2B at the Swiss telecommunications provider UPC . "This means that a contact person is always available if the actual target person is on holiday, ill or otherwise unavailable."
Better customer service
Countless other modern telephony features ensure that no call ends up in nirvana and support small businesses in providing close customer service. The many options for call forwarding, for example, ensure that a customer always reaches a suitable contact person - or at least lands on a voicebox with the information that he or she will be called back in a moment.
With the ring call, you determine in a certain order who receives the incoming calls. If the reception is busy, the receptionist answers; otherwise a member of the sales team answers. If no one is available here either, a member of the technical staff picks up. Only at the end of the chain - when no possible contact person can be reached - is an announcement triggered with the option of a voice message.
The features of modern telephone systems not only facilitate communication with customers, but also contribute significantly to good customer service and customer loyalty: Call hold, forward, toggle, transfer, speed dial, busy indicator, conference call - these are initially just many small functions - but in their entirety a powerful service tool for any business.
Some of them simply help to convey a good image to the customer and make an impression. Here is just one example: a one-time stored announcement for the end-of-year holiday with personal Christmas and New Year's wishes is automatically activated every year at Christmas. The customer is happy when he calls "It's just a little thing you set up once, but the customer is surprised at the effort the company makes," said Josef Furger.
The fact that a large part of smaller businesses leave the potential of digital telephony unused is not only due to the users' lack of knowledge about these functions. The telephony providers are also challenged to bring the features closer to their customers and to motivate them to familiarise themselves with all the possibilities.
In any case, there are no technical hurdles: one does not have to be an expert to use the modern telephony functions. The basic features of digital telephony, such as call forwarding or ringing, can be set up and managed by every company via a portal. After the basic configuration, each authorised employee is given personal access and can set, change and expand the functions as he or she wishes. "If an employee leaves the office in the evening and he has forgotten to switch the telephone, he can log in via the portal and make the switch afterwards," explains UPC expert Furger.
If the basic functionalities are no longer sufficient, they can be expanded with advanced functions such as call centre features if necessary. Unified Communications offers even more extensive possibilities. Here, all communication services such as telephone, e-mail or chat are brought together on the PC.
Useful telephony functions for SMEs
Up to three terminals such as desk telephones, Dect telephones or smartphones can be assigned per call number so that the subscriber can always be reached.
Conversely, several telephone connections can be placed on one terminal. This is practical when employees are not available or on holiday, but a contact person should always be available.
Calls can be forwarded to a destination number or voicemail box depending on the case, so that a customer call can always be responded to immediately.
Via the ring call, calls are automatically forwarded through several stages until a staff member picks up or a message can be left.
Voiceboxes can be recorded with personal greetings or standard texts. Personal announcement texts can be freely selected so that the customer can be specifically addressed.
For meetings in a small circle, each telephone connection offers the possibility for 3-party conferences
With fax functions, faxes can be sent, received and forwarded or sent via PDF at any time.
All settings can be made conveniently from a PC via a web portal. Special knowledge is not required.