Six reasons to re-evaluate your telephone system

Having a reliable telephone system is vital for business. But if your company still uses a traditional phone system that's not tied into any other business systems, you might be surprised at how integrating the two can help your company. Michael Thomson, director of engineering and product management at unified communications vendor Swyx, explains

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Many businesses keep customers waiting while the business locates the information they need. Companies tend to use a number of different, independent systems that are not integrated with the telephone system.

Staff may have to open several applications to find the information they need, or end up transferring the call to someone else. Either way, it creates delays and frustrations for customers.

But what if you could integrate the information from all your systems and display it on a single screen? A unified communications system can do just that, delivering these significant benefits.

1. Be more responsive

If your telephone system is integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) solution, then when a customer calls, the system will use their phone number to automatically identify them and then show relevant information.

In a single window on your screen, you can see everything you need to know about the customer, including their name, address, what they've bought in the past, and so on.

Having instant access to this information allows you to respond more quickly to the customer's requests.

2. Turn things around faster

Whether it's a sales or support query, sometimes you need to transfer a call to a different person or department. If your system can read information from employee calendars, you instantly know who is available.

This avoids games of ‘telephone tag' that prolong the sales or service cycle. You can even incorporate remote or mobile workers, so that clicking a button on-screen puts the call through - no matter where that person is.

In a competitive market, being able to put a sales call through immediately can stop a customer going elsewhere.

3. Offer better service

You never know when your employees might not be able to make it into work. Severe weather or transport problems can result in your company being shorthanded.

A good unified communications system should be able to keep your people connected, no matter where they are. This means your staff can work just as easily from home, with the same access to internal documents and resources as if they were in the office.

Likewise, unified communications enables employees to share documents across different offices or sites.

4. Improve credit control

Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of a unified telephone system is the impact it can have on cash flow.

If your telephone system can pull information in from your accounts system, then when a customer calls you can flag if they have unpaid bills. You can even transfer them straight to the finance team and require them to make payment before placing another order.

5. Boost customer retention

In business, one-to-one relationships can be key to long-term success. The telephone is a wonderfully intimate and direct tool for developing a rapport with new and existing customers.

When combined with software-based unified communications, you have access to even more tools to make your customers feel special. For instance, you can integrate web-based information like details of the weather where that customer is or local news that's relevant to them.

It can make the difference between good service and exceptional service.

6. Stand apart from the crowd

People remember great service, so providing exceptional customer service can really differentiate your business.

By combining data from several sources, you can keep the optimum amount of information at your fingertips. Knowledge is power, giving you everything you need to match customer requirements with the right product or service.

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