Friday, November 1, 2013

Business Over the Phone

By: Stan Washington
Date: November 1, 2013

I laughed as I tripped over a piece of archaeology in my driveway last month.  I picked up the relic and removed it from its bag. It was a phone book! It brought forth memories of when gas was 50 cents and travel agents existed.

This relic reminded me that the use of phone has changed over the years.

 I actually had a conversation about home line versus cell phone versus business lines and here is what we ran into.

Are Toll Free Numbers still a viable option?
I would say it depends on the business. In the 80's, 800 numbers were a must for businesses, but so were the yellow pages. Ask yourself, does it save my customers money? Vanity numbers could be a draw and it depends on the size of your business whether you need to have a toll free number these days.

Should I get rid of my land line?
I have seen more of a movement to drop the expense of a land line and move to cell phone only business.  Again, it depends on how many people are in your business and do you need to share the phone number?

How do I get on the No Call List?
visit and register your number.  Please note that you can only register so many numbers and there may be other limits.

How do you communicate with global clients?
Global reach can be expensive.  Many people are trading in their phones for web conference communication, but the meeting has to be set up in advance.  Voice over IP (VoIP) has many groups that offer free service as well as paid. I like VoIP but do you have to speak to the person? Can you go to web technology instead?

Should I use a virtual number?
Virtual numbers are nice especially when you don't have a brick and mortar business. They offer messaging services that can send the voice mail as an audio file to your e-mail. Is your business ready for multiple numbers? Do you have sales, support and other departments?

How should I use call routers and voice-mail?
Brevity is key!  It's annoying to call a business with a long message with twenty routing  options.  Keep messaging and routing options simple. Please drop the temptation to oversell while your client is on hold but mention upcoming products.


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