Growing a Small Business Takes a Big-Business Approach to Communications
Growing a Small BusinessTakes a Big-BusinessApproach toCommunications
What do most small businesses want to do? Get bigger, of course.So, it’s no surprise that maintaining and increasing sales is the mostimportant challenge facing three out of four small businesses. Togrow, more and more small companies are embracing a novelidea, that any business with customer telephone calls coming inand going out is in fact a contact center with the power to build -- or break -- their brand. By seeing themselves as contact centersand obtaining the technology that makes that approach a reality, smallbusinesses can and do grow faster.
So, what exactly is a contact center? The term can evoke images ofrows of attendants handling calls to sell or service a product. But inreality a contact center is any business in which employees usephone, chat, email and other collaboration tools to interact withcustomers. Whether they’re called customer servicerepresentatives, call agents, sales managers, or technicalsupport reps, these employees are the face of an organization toboth current and potential customers. The ability to improve theircommunications at every touch point is essential not only to improvingcustomer service but to increasing employee productivity and gaininggreater visibility into the business.
Challenge: Improving Customer ServiceWhat do your customers really think about your customer service?While 80 percent of businesses think they’re offering excellentcustomer service, only 20 percent of their customers would agree.Why the discrepancy? It can be traced to any number ofcauses, including lack of resources, flat budgets, and out-of-datecommunication systems.
Contact center technologies improve customer service by gettingcallers quickly to the people who have the tools to solve their specificbusiness issues. Additional features like click-to-call and screen popprovide employees with additional information from existing customerdatabases, enabling them to provide a more personalized experiencefor each customer.
Challenge: Increasing Employee ProductivityUnified communication systems provide customer-facing employeeswith all the tools and access to information they need, when theyneed it, no matter where they are. Features likechat, email, presence, and real-time visual queue managementenable managers to see the productivity of their teams. Using visualqueues you can use features like barge, monitor and whisper to assiston customer calls and coach employees through tough calls.
Knowledge workers spend 50 percent of their workdays onunproductive but necessary tasks: scheduling meetings, trackingdown colleagues, customers, or partners to find information and makedecisions. Contact center features can streamline all thoseactivities, increasing overall employee productivity.
When the customer calls really start rolling in, contact center solutionsare at their most valuable. Auto-attendants and skills-based routingget callers to the right place, and unlimited call queues allow thehandling of more calls without increasing staff. All that can add up tohours saved every day by every employee.
Challenge: Gaining Greater VisibilityImproved customer service and employee productivity are importantobjectives, ones that merit measurement and tracking over time. Acontact center solution allows businesses to monitor metrics such aswait times, talk times, abandoned calls, and average time to answer.
Day in and day out, calls can be recorded and used to coachemployees and improve overall customer service. Supervisors cansee the status of each agent as well as when they log on and off withreason. Integration with CRM systems allows agents to see a displayof a caller’s history with the company. That’s valuable information foran agent faced with a lingering problem.
ProVest Insurance Group Shows How It’sDoneThe contact center concept seems especially appropriate for smallbusinesses that have customer-facing employees, are involved inproblem solving, and have multiple locations. Not surprisingly, theapproach has been embraced by insurance agencies and real estateagencies. One such firm is ProVest Insurance Group, an AllstateInsurance Company affiliate in North Carolina.“The challenge insurance agencies face is communications with the staff andknowing what the staff is doing throughout the day,” says ProVest owner JayAdkins, who installed a unified communications system from Fonality.
“It doesn’t matter how big you are or where you’re located, being ableto see what’s going on from your office, in real time, all the time, hasjust made a huge change in the way that I do business,” he said. “TheHeads Up Display is a point-and-click system where I can transfercalls to voicemail, cell phones; I can transfer it to anotherextension, without having to actually push buttons on a phone.”“I believe technology is the lifeblood of this business. We doeverything through the Internet and through the phone. The phonesystem can make or break you.” -- Jay Adkins, ProVest Insurance Group
Adkins said that without his improved phone system, he would nothave been able to expand his business to Texas and Florida. “Thesystem can scale seamlessly as the business expands,” he said, “andthe features have allowed my staff and me to be completely mobile."
A Contact Center’s Heart:The Interactive Desktop Client
A Contact Center’s Heart: The Interactive DesktopClientHeads Up Display (HUD) is a powerful business tool that connectsyour phones, desktop and important business applications into asingle unified, easy-to-use interface. HUD streamlines yourcommunication and collaboration needs for every medium byeliminating the hassle of searching for people and information.
Fonality’s contact center version simplifies tasks by providing areal-time, in-depth view of contact center operations and statistics byusing color-coded user status to give you an overarching map ofoffice activity.With an easy-to-use interface indicating who is logged into aqueue, who is on a call, and what calls are waiting to betaken, managers have the ability to monitor, record, and track callseither from the office or on the go with the HUD Mobile application.
Busting Some Contact Center Myths As with any new approach, especially one leveraging technology, the contact center concept is sometimes met with skepticism. Some owners can’t see their businesses as contact centers, don’t think their businesses are large enough, that they can’t afford call center solutions, or can get by with the phone systems they have.Some owners can’t see theirbusinesses as contact centers
The contact center concept can be applied to any business that requires customer interaction and communication. Contact center features are more affordable than many think; and gone are the days of having to manage complex technology installations that require IT support. With Fonality, customers have a choice in how to implement and pay for their communication solutions.Contact center features aremore affordable than many think
As with any new approach, especially one leveraging technology, theThey can choose a cloud-based hosted solution or maintain the voiceplatform onsite and access all key collaboration and contact centerservices from the cloud. Ensuring you have the flexibility to determinewhat is right for your business is key, as well as the opportunity tomove easily from an on-premise solution to one that is fully cloud-based.
Studies show that Fonality customers save an average of 23% ascompared with traditional contact centers and report an averageproductivity increase of 14%. And that existing phone system? It maynot have the flexibility to meet the changing demands of yourcustomers into the future.
Contact Center Approach Has Clear Benefits Using contact center technology gives you the features that can turn a customer interaction from reactive to proactive. Lower cost to serve1. Subscription-based systems provide a low monthly fixed cost per user, allowing your company to get up and running at a fraction of the cost and then accurately budget for lower recurring costs.
Increased flexibility2. Business environments can change quickly based on call volumes, revenue targets and customer service levels. A “pay-as-you-grow” approach lets you add new features, or users, in a matter of hours not weeks.
Unified Communication at your fingertips3. Your customer service representatives need instant access to a wide variety of information at any given moment. A unified experience brings all your key communication tools into a single view, offering an intuitive, easy-to-use solution that unifies your communication applications. Phones, chat, email, presence and other business applications are integrated into a single desktop interface. It lets you take your unified experience on the go with mobile applications for Apple and Android-based smartphones and tablets, enabling your workforce to stay connected no matter where they are working.
Easy integration4. The best solutions can incorporate contacts from Microsoft Outlook and Google intuitively for the quickest possible integration. Seamless integration is also available into such tools as SalesForce, NetSuite, SugarCRM, VanillaSoft and most web-based CRM applications.
The Contact Center: A Big Business ApproachA contact center solution can provide your employees with the toolsthey need to streamline customer contact processes and increasecustomer satisfaction to all-time highs. Fonality provides the onlybusiness communication solution that is focused on the SMBmarket, without the high capital expense associated with legacycommunication providers.
The Contact Center: A Big Business ApproachSo, give your small business the gift of unified communications tohelp to grow and ensure your customers get the best experiencepossible from your team. Learn more about Fonality contact centerfeatures for small and midsize businesses by visitingwww.fonality.com or calling 1-877-FONALITY.Fonality provides business phone systems and contact center solutions designedexclusively for small and midsize businesses. Fonality is the only provider that can deliverthe same user experience in the cloud and on-premise, with innovative features that helpsmall businesses save time, communicate more efficiently and reduce costs. For moreinformation, visit www.Fonality.com or call 877-FONALITY.