In an increasingly digital world, phone calls are still very important. Who’d have thought?
Despite the myriad ways consumers can connect with local companies today, those who are ready to buy increasingly want to have questions answered by telephone. For growing businesses without the staff to work the phones continuously, this presents a real challenge.
In 2016, mobile calls represented 60 percent of inbound calls to businesses – or about 85 billion global mobile calls annually, according to the researcher BIA/Kelsey. By 2020, the firm expects that volume to grow to 169 billion, mostly through click-to-call.
Most mobile calls originate from searches, although consumers also launch calls from banner ads, social media, apps and email. Growing businesses can’t ignore this trend. According to Dialogtech, 62 percent of searchers believe it’s extremely or very important to be able to call a business during a critical stage in the buying cycle: when they’re ready to purchase.
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Consider this scenario: With summer approaching, a homeowner tries to start his aging lawnmower, only to discover it needs a new blade and a tune up. Standing in his garden shed, he takes out his mobile phone and conducts a quick internet search for lawn mower repair. Half a dozen local businesses turn up in the results. The nearest garden center, which also happens to top the list, offers repair services. Unfortunately, the website can’t answer his burning question: When can I bring my lawnmower in for repair? He clicks the listed phone number and there’s no answer. At this point, 85 percent of buyers simply move on and call the next shop on the list.
Growing businesses can’t afford to miss those calls. After all, they represent real opportunities for new revenue. Not only that, the inability to handle increased call volume is a sure way to erode customer loyalty and lower satisfaction scores.
One way to meet increased call volume is to deploy a phone system that allows growing businesses to answer every customer call in real-time. Consider the following features to ensure an employee picks up the phone every time it rings.
The cloud keeps everyone connected
While a growing business doesn’t need the same robust communications solution as a larger and more established competitor, some of its challenges will be the same.
For example, employees are often dispersed: Salespeople at an auto dealership may be on the lot when an important call comes in, while field service technicians spend their days moving from client location to client location. A cloud communications solution provides mobile employees with the same features as desk-based workers and ensures they can take their phone number anywhere they go.
A mobile app supports those on the go
The cloud may be the foundation for supporting a dispersed workforce, but the key to connecting customers to the right employee in real-time is a mobile solution. Employees at new businesses often wear multiple hats.
When a service call comes in, it’s just as likely to be answered by the company president as the service manager. Small companies should look for mobile apps that are designed with them in mind, apps that enable employees to monitor multiple lines at all times, even those that aren’t their own. If the service manager is out for the day, the owner can see calls coming into the service line and take care of them.
Communications processes should be streamlined and voice-centric
As the trend shifts back to voice calls, growing businesses should deploy communications solutions that can handle them efficiently. The process to answer and route callers must be streamlined and intuitive.
For instance, connecting a customer with the right subject matter expert is as important as answering the call by the second ring. That’s just one reason the ability to park a call is critical. When employees answer an incoming call, they can put the consumer on park if they see the SME is busy. If the wait becomes too long, another member of the team can pick up and answer questions.
Click-to-call services are the fastest way for consumers to communicate with local companies, so it’s no surprise that call commerce is on the rise. As potential buyers use the phone more frequently to reach sales and service people, growing businesses can’t afford to miss an opportunity. With the right mobile solution in place, it’s easier for your staff to connect with interested consumers, improve the customer experience and increase sales.