Lost in Action: do you really know where your customers go?

May 30, 2018 Claranet Limited

When it comes to telephony, many businesses report not having a firm grip on the customer experience. And when the customers are subjected to journeys that lead them into dead ends, they give up and go elsewhere.

We’ve all experienced it: the recorded voice on the phone telling us our call is important while proving that it isn’t. 

Some firms don’t even get that far, with lines either permanently engaged or dropping the call mid-hold. This isn’t just operational detail. According to BT Business, UK SMEs are losing £90m per year in potential sales because of missed calls.

It’s a blind spot for many organisations because they don’t experience their business the way their customers do: if they did, the world would be a happier place for all of us. But unfortunately, while the CEO might decide to take a walk down a trading floor or into a retail spot, they’re much less likely to call the customer service or sales support line on a dull Tuesday afternoon. After all, how difficult can answering the phones really be?

That’s one reason telephony doesn’t get taken seriously enough. The board may imagine the customer journey into their business is a gentle paddle down a sky-blue river on a sunny day, when it actually involves white water, crocodiles, and piranha fish.

These issues are usually down to incorrect telephony, or bad implementations. Multiple sites are using multiple systems, often inherited from multiple businesses, and those systems don’t do what they need to do. They can’t handle the volume of calls, they aren’t reliable, and they can’t cope when there’s a fault or other issues. 

And as if that were not bad enough, they don’t provide the reporting tools needed to identify the problems or trends that could so easily be addressed. As a result, decisions are made in the dark.

Don’t throw your money away
We’ve seen many examples of firms missing out on thousands of pounds across dozens or even hundreds of sites. When you don’t pick up the phone, you can be sure your rivals will. 

We also see organisations who can’t adapt their call handling easily, as old systems are hard to change, or the reporting doesn’t show you where people are dropping off, or which teams aren’t managing calls as well as they could. 

For too long telephony has simply not been seen as exciting. But in the same way cloud based technological trends have revolutionised corporate IT, Hosted Voice solutions have also transformed telephony. 

These modern, cloud-based telephony systems can deliver not just better operational efficiencies and improved customer service, but can reduce costs as well. 

Do what you do, but better
The benefits of a telephony platform such as Hosted Voice are significant. 

The most obvious one is the most attractive: it saves you money, and stops you losing money.

But it can help businesses achieve more than this. Think about the last time you went to your favourite restaurant. Did they know your name and your partner’s name, remember your favourite meal or preferred wine? By integrating your telephony and your CRM system, Hosted Voice enables you to deliver that level of personalisation to everybody so that you can target your marketing more precisely and offer valuable cross- or up-selling opportunities.

It provides flexibility and consistency for static, mobile, flexible, and home workers. 

It enables you to redeploy resources on a per-project basis quickly and to use every form of hardware from handsets to smartphones, tablets and PCs. You can acquire a new business and have everybody on board in an afternoon.

That means your business is leaner, keener, and more flexible than ever before. It also means you can gain better insight. No more guesstimates or gut feelings: you have the hard data on call handling, showing what is working and what needs to be addressed. 

Hosted Voice in action
Already mentioned in Always Available, Penlon has been making medical devices for more than 70 years. With a presence in more than 90 countries, its communications infrastructure is crucial to its business, but its existing PBX system was struggling to cope with the company’s need to embrace more mobile and flexible working. 

As IT Manager Tony Serratore recalls: “Our PBX system was reliable enough for phone calls, but severely lacked in mobility or functionality options. It could make or receive calls, but that was essentially it.” Staying in touch with employees working off-site was a problem, and it created a significant business risk in the case of disaster. If the hardware went down at any point, the team at Penlon would have no alternatives for communicating effectively with their employees and customers, leading to significantly lost productivity hours.

Hosted Voice addressed those issues and delivered measurable time and cost savings as well as increased flexibility. As a result, Penlon has been able to roll out more collaborative ways of working that simply weren’t possible before. 

In many ways, it has completely transformed our business,” Serratore says. “Our staff are more able than ever to work remotely with more effective communication channels available from any location. Employees have full visibility on the status of their co-workers and can quickly chat with them through individual dialling codes or instant messages.” 

By delivering consumer-level user experiences on enterprise-grade technology, the system doesn’t present a steep learning curve to new users and delivers across all kinds of devices, not just PCs and PBXs.

Key takeaways:

  • UK SMEs are estimated to be losing £90m per year because of missed calls.
  • Telephony often doesn’t receive the same amount of attention as other IT infrastructure.
  • Cloud-based telephony systems can deliver not just better operational efficiencies and improved customer service, but can reduce costs as well. 
  • Hosted Voice solutions have transformed telephony. 

 

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