Virtual phone service is a cost-effective solution for business owners due to its flexibility and integrative capabilities. Its adaptability ranges from directing multiple phone numbers to one device to sending one phone call to multiple devices.
From providing marketing analytics to supporting customers with a 24/7 assistant, this service makes call management easier than ever. However, if employees aren’t following basic rules and etiquette, even the greatest virtual systems will fall flat and feel like a waste of money.
Make the most of your investment by considering the following tips for maximizing your virtual phone service:
1. Commit to Proper Installation and Support
When it comes to your company’s communications, there are numerous moving parts, so starting off on the right foot is key. And no matter how tech-savvy your IT employee or team is, properly setting up your virtual phone service is the most important step in ensuring future success.
Working with a company like Ninja Number who specializes in virtual phone systems guarantees every box will be checked during the installation phase—minimizing frustrations down the road.
Attempting to “DIY” your own virtual setup won’t supply you with the ongoing support you’ll likely need when problems arise. Even the BPO in the Philippines and other countries with excellent customer service hire an IT team to help them with installation and maintenance. Trying to do this alone could actually cause errors and for the systems to shut down completely, a disruption you can’t afford.
Work with a virtual specialist who will provide customer service for your most complex questions. Should problems occur, or if you need to alter your system as your company changes, you can easily troubleshoot and strategize with the guidance of an expert.
2. Set Up Caller ID, Automation and a ‘Round-the-Clock Receptionist
For those using their personal cell phones for business, it’s critical to know which incoming calls are personal and which are business, especially when they occur outside of typical working hours. You can do this by having your incoming caller ID show your virtual phone number (not the caller’s), indicating a business call. Having this type of caller ID ensures you answer calls appropriately.
If your customers need to reach you outside of normal business hours, the last thing you want is for them to call your cell phone in the middle of the night. As a business owner, you want to take care of their needs, but not at the jeopardy of your personal life.
Once you’ve set up your virtual phone system, consider what type of after-hours support makes sense for your business. For example, if most of your prospects have the same three to five questions, set up an automated text message sequence that answers those questions so you don’t have to speak to each person. You can also add a personal touch by creating a message to greet your customers after hours.
3. Train Employees for Success
As with any new process, training employees how to use the technology is just as important as properly installing it. No matter how simple or complex your system, your employees need to know how to navigate it to provide the best possible customer experience.
With multiple extensions, call forwarding, texting and voicemail capabilities, virtual phone systems can be quite complex. Take time to host a training meeting to ensure that all employees know how to use the system. Afterwards, provide documentation and FAQs that they can later reference.
4. Establish Company Protocol
When it comes to your virtual phone service, you need to put your own protocol in place for how to handle specific situations. For example, when 5 employees’ phones ring from your virtual phone number, will they know which of them should answer? Make a policy or rule that dictates which employees should answer, maybe based on certain days or during specific hours.
If everyone has access to the same incoming messages, it should be clear who handles the follow-up and through which medium. Be sure your virtual phone system has a paper trail that shows what employee answered a call, and at what time. Having multiple people follow up on a lead will leave a lasting negative impression on your prospect, implying that your employees don’t communicate internally.
5. Return Phone Calls Before It’s Too Late
There is no other time that a lead is more engaged with your company than when they contact you expressing initial interest. Catching them at this peak time can make or break your relationship, so how do you ensure every lead is called back?
According to drift.com, 42% of companies take five days to respond to leads. These organizations are giving their competitors 120 hours to steal a prospect. After all, that time has passed, it’s likely that the once-hot lead has soon turned ice cold.
However, sales reps, business owners and entrepreneurs are busy, and calling back every single lead quickly is one of the biggest hurdles they face. They must stay on top of those leads while taking care of existing clients. But to build a book of business, bring in sales and meet their financial goals, follow-up is the single most important step they will take.
But what if you could get back to a lead in just five minutes? Studies show that even waiting thirty minutes to return a call can jeopardize the relationship. More specifically, you’re 21 times more likely to qualify a lead in five minutes than if you were to wait a half hour.
Sales reps don’t have to worry about staying on top of missed calls or calling the lead back; they can rely on an automated feature in a virtual phone system. This technology can help the user in a couple of ways: it can remind them to return missed calls, or it can send automated messages to the lead.
Prospects are instantly responded to through automated messages until the person can get in touch. Or reps can set up reminders and notifications for getting back to a prospect or customer. Gone are the days of trying to remember who you’ve called back and who still needs to be reached.
Not only does this result in a positive first impression for the prospect, but it also gives the rep some leeway before they need to call the lead back—a win-win situation for both parties.
6. Categorize Your Leads
With a traditional phone number, the only record of leads is your call log. When you’re reviewing your progress, a list of phone numbers doesn’t shed light on what kind of conversations you had. And unfortunately, a call log doesn’t provide pertinent information like how hot or cold the lead was or whether or not they’re a customer.
Once you have the basic virtual phone system established, your next step should be categorizing leads. There are two key benefits to doing this: you can, at a glance, know how quickly you need to be in touch and therefore, prioritize your call-back list.
You set the parameters according to what makes sense for your business. For example, you can label certain phone numbers as VIP customers who need to be contacted immediately. Or you can set categories for lead status, like hot, warm and cold.
By categorizing your leads and contacts, you save time and communicate with the most important people first.
7. Analyze Call History Data to Improve Your Business
Do you know where most of your phone calls are coming from? What about the average length of your calls? Or even the busiest times of your workday? A typical cell phone doesn’t capture nor analyze this kind of information.
However, with the help of a virtual phone system, you can get access to this level of insight. Keeping this kind of data will help you improve your business, and ensure you’re providing top-of-the-line customer service.
Not only should you stay on top of your own call performance, but you should also keep an eye on your employees’ performance as well. By reviewing their call data, you can get a clear picture of how they’re doing. Plus, if they know that their communications are being followed closely, it’s likely that they will perform their best. At your employee performance meetings, you can use this data as evidence for their current standing.
8. Work with an Experienced Virtual Phone System Partner
Growing your business depends on your sales calls and the relationships that come from them. And when the company really starts booming, relying on a personal cell phone to keep up with it all just won’t cut it. A virtual phone system, on the other hand, helps keep professionals organized and responsive, and it assures the caller is acknowledged in a timely manner.
By setting up virtual phone service or number, you portray a sophisticated persona from the start of your business relationship. That’s why Ninja Number was created – to provide entrepreneurs with a virtual phone system that could help them respond more quickly to sales leads. Today, the company is trusted by more than 75,000 customers, including McDonald’s, Delta, Dell and Comedy Central. Call Ninja Number today at 833-639-8729 to learn more or start your free 7-day trial.