Have you ever called your business to find out what your customers experience on the other end of the phone line? Did it make you cringe?
The saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” applies perfectly to a phone system. When someone calls you, the experience they have on the phone is often their first impression of your business.
Do they come away from that initial call feeling like you’re a trustworthy company that prioritizes the customer experience? Or, did they encounter a frustrating phone tree, long hold times, and a staticky connection?
Even if your phone system is the last thing you think about as you try to manage all the moving parts of your business, it’s an incredibly important part of your success. While most companies focus on a pretty website and a well-trained customer service team, it’s easy to forget that the phone system also needs attention.
Is it time for you to upgrade your “ancient” phone system? Here are five telltale signs that you’re overdue.
1. You Use the Word “Ancient” to Describe Your Phone System
Chances are, you’re reading this article for one of two reasons:
- You know your phone system is old and outdated, and you’re wondering if you should update it or continue dealing with it for a few more years.
- Your PBX lease is up for renewal, and you’re not sure what your next steps should be.
If you do have a PBX system, then it’s going to become increasingly more difficult (and expensive) to maintain it. Support technicians and new parts are in short supply, so be prepared for an uphill battle as you try to keep your system going.
And, if your system is old or your lease is coming up, it’s time to ask yourself if you want to continue to invest in antiquated technology just to maintain the status quo.
Within the last few years, IP phone systems have improved drastically with new features that can revolutionize your current business operations. From mobile and CRM integrations to video conferencing, you’ll be amazed at what’s possible. You might also be surprised to see how low the price tag is compared to your legacy system. Updating your ancient phone system could be much less expensive than you could even guess!
2. Your Call Quality is Unreliable, and You Don’t Have Any “Bells or Whistles”
Do your phone lines crackle? Does your connection sound muted? Does it echo? Are you dropping calls? All of these are symptoms of a phone system that has seen better days, and it’s likely beyond fixing. Instead, an update with modern equipment may be your best choice.
Newer phone systems also have standard features that used to be expensive upgrades. An auto-attendant with an easy-to-navigate phone tree is no longer a “nice to have feature.” Instead, it’s expected. The same goes for hold music. If a caller does need to be on hold for a minute or two, making them wait in silence is less than ideal, and it can make it seem like each second of hold time is an eternity.
A better option is to offer callers a musical distraction while they sit on hold. Even better is to have features like find/follow me or intelligent bots. That way, the caller can reach a human or get their basic questions answered.
Another useful feature of an updated phone system is to integrate it with your CRM. Then, when the caller is on the phone, you’ll already have their customer file on your screen. You won’t have to ask them to spell their name as you look up all the “Smiths” in your database. Instead, you’ll have their client history all on one screen.
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3. It’s Hard for Callers to Reach a Human
What happens when someone calls you? Is there an automated greeting? Does the phone ring and ring without an answer? Are customers directed immediately to voicemail, or can they dial an extension? Are the phone extensions up to date?
Modern phone systems can be customized with a variety of greeting and routing settings to assist any caller seamlessly. Ideally, your phones should be answered right away by either a live person or an auto attendant that can help the caller find the information they need immediately.
If your callers are ending up in endless loops of menus, and they cannot get their question answered, you’re not likely to win their business. If the caller is already a customer, you could very well lose them.
An ideal scenario would go something like this:
After one to two rings, the caller is greeted with a friendly welcome message. If the caller reaches an auto-attendant, then they would be presented with options to get information about directions, hours, services, etc., or be connected with a person.
Depending on your business, you might have a company directory or have the person routed directly to a receptionist or customer service specialist.
In some cases, you might want a call rerouted to a different person, and you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get it. For example, a caller might want to reach Joe in your billing department. If Joe is on vacation, out to lunch, or unavailable for another reason, the call could be routed to his assistant or another qualified person in the department.
4. You Don’t Have Missed Call Texting
In an ideal world, every caller that needed to speak to a person would be able to do so instantly. Unfortunately, we’re human, and that’s not always going to be realistic. After all, we do need to occasionally go to the bathroom, take a lunch break, or attend to an emergency.
If a call to your business goes unanswered, what do you do? And more importantly, what do you do when the caller doesn’t leave a voice mail? About 80% of people don’t bother to leave voicemail messages, and that number is expected to rise. This means you could be losing out on major opportunities.
With missed call texting, you can immediately text someone back, even if they’re not a current client.
Modern phone systems are equipped with caller ID, so if someone calls and hangs up, you can immediately text them back. But this only works if you have the right phone system. With missed call texting, you can customize text messages, tell the caller when someone will get back to them, and even begin a dialogue that’s purely text-based.
Instead of losing a customer to the next competitor on the list, you can potentially win their business on the spot.
5. Whenever a New Employee Starts, You Have to Call IT to Set Up Their Phone
This sign is one of our favorites because it seems so antiquated, but it’s more common than you think.
The situation might look something like this: Your office has one of those multi-line phones with a laminated piece of paper listing each employee’s name and their extension number.
Every time someone leaves, and a new person starts, someone at your company has to make a new sheet and then manually replace each workstation’s directory. Then, someone from IT (or an expensive service tech from the company that sold you the system) has to come and reroute the extension, update the phone tree, and re-record the person’s name for the directory.
This same arduous process gets repeated when the company expands, or people move offices. Imagine the hassle if you move your entire office location! The whole process is more complicated than it has to be.
None of this is necessary with newer phone systems that utilize modern, cloud-based software applications. Instead of calling IT and wasting hours of everyone’s time, you could update your phone directory, re-record outgoing messages and set up new decision trees all from a single telephone that’s connected to your system. It’s easy, repeatable, and requires no advanced IT knowledge!
An ideal time to look at an upgrade is if your company is expanding or you have plans for growth. It’s a smart idea to look into a system that can scale with you that doesn’t require you to write a colossal check after every new hire, project win, or a round of funding. In many cases, you can add a large number of virtual extensions at a minimal expense, all without adding any hardware.
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential or current customer. Would you want to do business with a company whose phone system was clunky and out of date? Probably not.
While a phone system isn’t a substitute for delivering a quality product or service, it does say a lot about a company’s attention to detail and focus on the customer experience.
Are you thinking about updating your ancient phone system? Schedule a demo today to see how Weave can dramatically improve your inbound and outbound communications.