The 3 S’s of Small Business VoIP Services

In the past few years, more and more businesses have made the switch from traditional landline phone systems to VoIP. As a result, many new VoIP services have emerged. If a VoIP firm wants the ability and opportunity to gain some of these new converts, it’s essential that they have the features needed.

The main things that modern business owners are searching for from a VoIP phone system can be narrowed down into the three S’s: Setup, Scalability and Support.

It’s no question that these three S’s make total sense when it comes to what small businesses with under 50 employees should be searching for when shopping for a VoIP service provider.

The fact is, business owners don’t want to spend all their extra time and money on this, which means they need a system that’s fast to implement, with quality technical support and that allows easy expansion when the time comes.

Setup

Modern small business owners want the setup process of a new VoIP system to be fast and simple. With VoIP, this is possible thanks to the nearly instant process of getting a phone number and activating the system.

There are some service providers that even make it possible to get a phone number anywhere in the US. Also, you have the option to select a number from the inventory of what’s available and activate this number instantly, or you can port an existing number.

If you decide to port your existing number, the amount of time this takes depends on when your current provider gives the needed authorization to release the number for you to use with your VoIP company. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

After the porting process, the call flow is designed. This determines how your calls are handled through an online editor of some type.

Scalability

As a small business owner, you want to know that you can scale your system easily as your company grows. Whether you know it yet or not, you don’t want on-site PBX. The best solution for businesses today is hosted business VoIP.

With this setup, you have the ability to quickly and easily add new users, change call flows and add extensions. Also, there’s usually never any cost to update these settings.

When you can add unlimited users, it will help you save quite a bit of money; however, this isn’t a feature offered by all VoIP service providers, so be sure to ask ahead of time.

Support

As a decision maker for your small business, you know what you need. If you look at the features, you will find that VoIP support is second to none. There’s always someone available to help, regardless of the day or time as it's a complete service.

VoIP is a phone solution that makes sense for virtually any small business. If you are considering making this investment, be sure to consider the options and find a service provider that meets your needs and objectives.

If you are ready to make a change and get quality VoIP services, contact Fluent Voice.

5 Reasons Why VoIP Phones Make Sense for a Small Business

The phone system is at the forefront of your business and nothing but the best is important for your company's success. While the best may seem the most expensive or complicated, what if it wasn't?

In fact, here are 5 reasons why VoIP phone services make sense for a small business, including affordability and being user-friendly.

User-Friendly for Staff

In the past, phone systems could be complicated and a real headache for employees to use. Whether it was trying to transfer a phone call or using call forwarding with complicated numbers and signs, traditional business phone systems were not the easiest to use.

With VoIP, the technology is integrated into systems that you and your employees are already using, like the web and mobile devices. Management portals can be customized to your business to provide a simplified interface to administer your communication needs.

Remote Access

Technology today allows many employees to work remotely and VoIP works as a virtual environment so that employees at home, sales representatives on the road, and anyone off-site can work easily and still be easily able to access the workplace.

Affordability

There are many ways in which VoIP saves money. There is no expensive phone equipment to buy, less repair and maintenance costs, there is no need for a room full of equipment, and calls are based on a different platform than the old school phone system, so there is no need to pay long-distance calls. Last but not least, VoIP service is a flat fee so budgeting is easier and there are no surprises throughout the year.

Flexibility

In the past, a phone system had to handle the number of employees physically in your building, so when you needed more phones you likely needed more hardware in your phone system closet to support them. With VoIP as your small business grows, your telephony system is flexible with packages where you can easily add extensions at-will without buying more equipment.

Things like video conferencing, multimedia sessions, Internet faxing, and more -- without having to buy or own additional equipment such as a fax machine are all possible.

Here are a few other things that VoIP with Fluent Voice offers its users:

  • View recent calls or calls from any date and time in history.

  • Manage auto-attendant settings.

  • Easily accessible personal and corporate phone numbers.

  • Extension dialing to co-workers.

  • Listen to and manage voicemail.

  • Manage which device rings when a business number is called.

  • Access to company international dialing plan.

  • And literally a TON of other great features.

Ongoing and Safe Technology

Hosted VoIP providers act as a buffer between enterprises and the risk of obsolescence. The provider wants to stay relevant and ahead of the competition so upgrades and allow them to do so. And keep in mind that just a few of the key features to expect include call waiting, remote extensions, caller ID, web-based administration, three-way conferencing, and more.

A traditional phone system relies on phone lines that are connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), on circuits operated by Private Branch Exchange (PBX) equipment. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider transmits your voice over the Internet as data and has the above benefits when using it for small businesses.

Fluent Voice Managed VoIP offers hosted PBX, SIP Trunking / PRI / POTS analog, unified communications, and application integration. The choice is clear -- VoIP works better for your needs and costs less. Give us a call to see how we can help you get there!

3 Reasons Why Customer Service Is the Actual Product

“If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service, you can make a fortune.” — Jim Rohn

Without your customers, you can't build a business, even if you have an amazing product. That is why great customer service is the most valuable aspect of your business. After all, there are only two ways you will improve business operations — decrease your costs or increase your sales.

Treat your customers right, and they will help you achieve the latter.

Customer Service Is King

In today's competitive market, most experts agree that great customer service is your most important metric. If you develop strategies that allow you to consistently deliver sincere appreciation and value to your customers, you will drive your success.

However, if you ignore this critical metric, you can quickly seal your own fate. According to an American Express survey, 78 percent of consumers did not make an intended purchase or bailed on a transaction due to poor customer service. In turn, this will negatively impact future or recurring business.

After all, it takes 12 positive experiences to rectify the consequences of one unresolved issue. That is why you must begin to focus on the true impact of your customers' experience each and every time. This is particularly true regarding word-of-mouth in relation to your company's reputation.

3 Reasons Why Good Customer Service Is What You're Actually Selling

If you are serious about “making it” in the business world, you need to understand that good customer service is the actual product you're selling. Sure, you may be successful at first based on a quality product, but if you are not thinking about the big picture in terms of customer satisfaction, you will not thrive.

The following three reasons are something you need to consider, starting today.

1. Retaining an existing customer is far less expensive than gaining a new one

When it comes to your company's long-term success, YOU are the product, remember that. That is why when you acquire a new customer, you need to focus on your ongoing success instead of just a one-time sale. Since it costs approximately five times more to attract a new customer in comparison to retaining an existing customer, the logic behind good customer service is clear.

2. Offering great customer service will strengthen your brand

Poor customer service can kill your brand. In comparison, since customer service will be your primary communication channel, you can actively encourage a more positive perception of your company and overall brand. The key here is to invest in sustainable relationships.

Although many businesses communicate with their customers via email, it is important to offer a phone number as well. Some customers do not have access to a computer, and in many cases, customers appreciate speaking to an actual person in real-time.

3. Great customer service increases your ROI as you stand out from the crowd

By investing in good customer service, you will build a community of loyal customers that trust your brand. Taking that extra step will allow you to achieve a significant return-on-investment. Also, as you interact and get to know your customers, you can better predict their behaviors.

This is particularly true for companies that are selling a commodity in a crowded market. In addition to offering a quality product at a great price, you need to go above and beyond. This will help you identify your core differentiating factor as you increase customer satisfaction and, in turn, encourage growth.

So, invest in good customer service and always remember what Shep Hyken once said, "Consistently amazing customer service doesn't happen by accident. It happens on purpose!"

Give us a call at 518-616-3300 to find out how Fluent Voice can help you deliver a better customer service experience.

5 Ways a Cutting-Edge VoIP System Can Increase Your Sales

Voice over IP (VoIP) allows small companies to compete with their larger rivals when it comes to call management. Using cutting-edge technologies, businesses can exploit every sales opportunity that arrives by phone. Not only that, but VoIP also improves customer retention rates.

But if you’re still undecided, here are a few ways the very latest VoIP systems can increase your business’ sales.

1. Voice Recognition for Better Call Management

There was a time when telephonic voice recognition was reserved for the biggest companies in the world. Now, however, small companies can set up their systems to recognize the verbal prompts of callers. This ensures sales queries are directed to the right department — and in many cases, the right individual.

All too often, small businesses miss out on sales because customers become frustrated by a misdirected call or an engaged tone. Voice recognition ensures callers can take control of how their call is managed.

2. Call Hunting to Reduce Voicemails

A busy tone is often the end of a sales opportunity. But with call hunting, you never have to worry about a potential customer’s call going unanswered again. While similar to call forwarding, call hunting tries several different numbers, rather than just one.

For example, if no one can take the call to a business number, that call can be directed to a home phone. If there’s no answer there, the VoIP system moves onto the next number on the list — often a cell phone or an internet phone service.

3. Virtual Numbers for Cheaper International Calls

If you run an international business, the issue of call rates could be costing you sales. Consumers don’t like paying for telephone calls to companies at the best of times, but making expensive international calls is even more unpopular.

A VoIP system can create a series of virtual numbers that look just like local numbers. Not only does this tell your customers that the call is probably free, but it also gives your business the prestige of looking like an international corporation.

4. Click-to-Call for Better Conversion Rates

While a lot of businesses are now securing most of their leads online, there is still a place for the telephone. And in some cases, both mediums can work hand in hand. For example, you can generate leads by adding a clickable phone number to your website. This is often a simple icon that puts the website visitor straight through to your sales team via your VoIP platform.

5. Hosted PBX for Improved Customer Service

VoIP can harness the power of cloud computing to offer an extensive range of PBX functionality. Historically, the hardware, software, and maintenance required to run PBX systems were prohibitive for smaller businesses. Now, however, features such as business extensions, dial-by-name, and audible menus are easy to set up and exceptionally cheap to run.

Using cloud-based PBX, you can give your callers prompts for better call management. For example, to inquire about a particular product or service, the caller would press the corresponding number on their keypad. Greetings, sales messages, and music can be personalized with ease — ensuring each caller gets a unique and relevant experience. These features are all an important part of turning leads into sales.

Thankfully, all of these features — and many more besides — are available from Fluent Voice. Managed VoIP, the latest technologies, and ongoing support can help you to leverage your sales calls in the most reliable and cost-effective way possible.

3 VoIP Phone Features to Help Impress Your Customers

When you are searching online, you will find countless resources letting you know how to impress people in a face-to-face encounter. While that’s important, you also need to know how to impress people when on the phone.

The good news is, when you’re speaking to someone on the phone, it’s not all up to you to make a great impression. In fact, you can use the three VoIP phone features highlighted here to help impress your callers.

Consider These Situations

If someone is researching several companies offering the product they need, they are likely going to go with a company with the best service/response to their inquiry.

  • Company A: The shopper receives a busy tone.
  • Company B: A person answers, but they are only able to take a message for someone else to call the shopper back at another time.
  • Company C: The shopper is greeted by a professional recording allowing them to select the specific department needed. The shopper then gets to speak to a knowledgeable person who provides the information needed.

Which company provided the best customer service? Company C, of course, and all this was thanks to the VoIP phone features in place.

Keep in mind, when selecting VoIP phone features, you should put the needs of your caller first. When you do this, you will be able to provide the best customer experience possible.

Feature 1: Hold Music

This is an underestimated feature that can add quite a bit of value to your communications strategy. However, that’s only the case if you know how to use it.

If you have music playing while a caller is waiting, that’s great, but it doesn’t really add too much value to their experience. Instead, turn your hold music into a commercial. You can educate and inform your callers about holiday office hours, sales and promotions, and product updates.

The best part is, you can change and customize these messages as often as you would like, ensuring your customers have the most accurate and up-to-date information possible.

Feature 2: A VoIP Phone Number

A good phone number is one that’s easy to remember. If you need one, or want to find one, you can search for local, toll-free and vanity numbers by city, state and area code.

Keep in mind, a VoIP number works differently than a traditional phone number because it is not tied to a landline, which makes it easier to manage with several extensions.

There’s no wrong way to choose a business phone number, but again, the key is to keep your caller’s needs in mind at all times.

Feature 3: Auto Attendant

Chances are, you have already heard how great auto attendants can be for your business. In addition to helping you reduce costs, they can help to automate your call flow. They also allow you to create a personal greeting that is tailored to your specific business.

The auto attendant is more generic than a voicemail greeting. It provides you with the opportunity to show a caller who you are and what you have to offer. There are some businesses that opt for different greetings after hours than during business hours. This choice is completely up to you.

Getting the VoIP Setup You Want and Need

Ultimately, the VoIP setup you choose will be up to you. You can work with the professionals at Fluent Voice to learn more about the best features for your particular needs.