Your Phone Still Reigns Supreme
Most companies will say their customers are their number one focus. In fact, according to Forbes.com 72% of CEOs said they are focusing on improving customer individualization and responsiveness. Countless dollars are spent trying to understand and woo customers but as the saying goes, some of the most obvious ways are right under their noses – this time in the form of a phone system. All businesses have a phone system but not all businesses know how to leverage them beyond basic communication. This quick guide will show you how to get the most out of your phone system and your customer relationships.
Step 1: Invest in a brilliantly simple phone system.
Okay, we’re a little biased but even top analysts recognize ShoreTel to have one of the best phone systems for the lowest total cost of ownership. Whether or not a buyer chooses us or another provider, we encourage them to research all of their options before selecting a phone system. Either way, the phone system should be simple to use, have all of the enterprise features they need, have the ability to scale easily as the company grows and require little maintenance or in-house expertise to operate.
Think of your phone system as your first line of communication with your customer. Your phones matter and you want a system that can make communicating with your customers seamless. Dropped calls and bad connections can spell disaster for a business, especially one that claims customers are their top priority. Maybe finding a reliable way to communicate with them should take that place.
Step 2: Integrate CRM with phone system.
CRMs like Salesforce.com have become the mainstay in customer-focused companies. They have infinitely more power when they’re integrated with the phone system. CRMs are the central database of customer information so it only makes sense to have them connected to the communication outlet – the phone. When employees speak with a customer on their phone, they should be able to see customer and account information before, during and after the call. The customer feels the love and the company reaps the benefits in customer satisfaction, customer retention and customer upsell. Everyone wins. Not all phone systems are capable of CRM integration and some that are, make it cumbersome to use. Finding a provider who can offer seamless integration should be at the foremost of any capabilities assessment.
Step 3: Regularly check in with your customers.
Small companies have an important advantage over larger ones – they often have the time to build a relationship with their customers. Large companies even try to seem “small” so they can imitate the personal attention smaller companies can dedicate to their clients. It doesn’t take much to make your clients feel special. A simple phone call to check in, an email, a newsletter or basic correspondence goes a long way to build customer loyalty and satisfaction. Devise a communication schedule via your CRM, contact management system or even calendar alerts. Log notes of the conversation for future reference, customer issues and potential upsell opportunities. If your CRM is integrated with your phone system, these notes will provide valuable data when the customer calls or is contacted again. No matter your company size, you should never be so big and disconnected from your customers to forget about customer service.
As social media and other forms of communication evolve, there will be new methods to reach customers. No matter the technology, however, people still like to talk to a real person. Your phone is your best resource so choose it wisely.
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