Got cassettes? Do you know anyone who runs a small business using an answering machine? Well, probably not, but who answers your phones, how, and what happens when no one can answer make a huge impression on customers. For example, Microsoft asked consumers for their opinion, and “more than 90% of people who took the survey would consider going elsewhere if they perceived the small business is using old and outdated tech.”
It’s not just about projecting the appearance of a larger and more professional company. The same survey also found that customers want your technology to make it easy to communicate with your employees or to make an appointment. Plus, 62% said they are likely to become repeat customers if a business uses modern technology.
Revolutionary, cost-effective cloud technology—Music to the ears of small business owners
So if your business phone system is stuck in the ‘80s, how do you bring it up to date? Cloud technology now puts the capabilities previously available only to large enterprises in the hands of small businesses. You can set up a cloud phone system almost instantly, without the big up-front investment and complicated set-up required for PBX hardware and software.
Any small businesses can quickly and cost-effectively leverage the features and capabilities of a virtual PBX in the cloud, including sophisticated call handling and mobile connectivity, as well as conference and video calling. And anyone can administer a cloud system from a web browser, which includes the ability to add lines, changes users, or set up advanced call handling features. Whether you are a construction company spinning up a jobsite office or a tax firm scaling up on seasonal workers, it just takes a click of the mouse to set up new lines. You can even drop-ship desk phones that plug in and provision themselves to the new number.
Better still, a leading cloud communications service provider like RingCentral bundles voice, fax, conferencing, business SMS and other functions in packages that are affordable for almost any small business. In fact, you may find that the monthly service fee for an all-inclusive business communications system may be less than what you are currently paying for stand-alone services such as voicemail, conference calling, and internet fax.
Big business features and a bigger brand image for smaller firms
Let’s look at some of the ways this state-of-the-art technology will impress your customers and make your employees more productive.
An Auto-Receptionist serves as your virtual receptionist, greeting callers and routing them directly to employees, departments, or to any landline or mobile phone in the world. This is a first big step to projecting an appearance that your company has it together. It welcomes callers with a custom company greeting—similar to what you hear when calling a large company—including a call tree that lets callers select departments or employees’ direct extensions. It even offers callers choices such selecting office locations or languages.
Set up professional conference calls. Doesn’t it look professional when you receive an email or text with a scheduled dial-in number? This features lets people on multiple phones gather on the same call bridge. Each person dials in to a central conferencing line and can hear and speak to all the other people who call in to the same bridge. With RingCentral Office, you can also set up online web meetings and HD video conferences at no additional cost.
Bring telecommuters into office. With a cloud phone system, your employees who work at home are completely integrated into the business phones system, just as if they were working in the office. They can either use the company phone system from their computers, or you can give them a full-featured desk phone that simply connects to an Ethernet port. Outside callers reach them from the main business number, and you can connect with them using direct extension dialing. They also have access to the company directory and voicemail.
Mobilize your workforce. The free RingCentral app for iOS and Android transforms a smartphone or tablet into a full-featured business phone. Your mobile workers make and receive calls using your business number. They also don’t have to dial in to the phone system or wait to return to the office to check voicemail because they have direct access to voicemails and notifications on their mobile devices. They can even participate in web meetings and video conferences on their smartphones.
Project a professional image with a single number and company brand for all of your calling. With a cloud phone system, your customers contact everyone at your company using the main business number or direct-dial extensions. If an employee isn’t available, the system routes the caller into company voicemail, or gives them the option to speak with someone else in your company. Calls from telecommuters and employees using mobile phones also come from your business number—not from the employee’s home or cell number. Plus, any employee—in the office, at home, or on the road—can instantly look up a coworker in the company directory and directly transfer the customer or partner to that person.
So with a cloud phone system you look like an established, trustable firm that knows how to use the latest technology. Customers reach your employees faster and employees respond faster. And with the capability to seamlessly integrate you remote and mobile workers into the company phone system, you can even set up a new office—without the office.
Originally published Dec 28, 2016, updated Aug 10, 2020