A key step in making sure you select the best voice communications platform for your company is to engage in an honest conversation of your business needs. Too often, initial conversations revolve solely around the number and types of IP telephone stations that are needed, the number and types of hosted voice seats that will be required, and the ability of the proposed voice platform to emulate features/applications your organization is already using. While this information is certainly worthy of discussion, sharing only this information offers limited insight into how your business truly operates. Giving your prospective provider an in-depth understanding of how your business utilizes communications to drive and maintain revenue is the only way to ensure you’re purchasing a hosted voice solution that will become a value added resource that grows with your company.
Here is a sneak peek of what EarthLink talks about with its Hosted Voice clients:
- The role that communications plays in driving revenue for your company. (Who are your customers, how do you find your customers and how do they find you, and how do you communicate with your existing and prospective customers?)
- Industry trends and how they relate to your business. (This type of information provides a foundation that will allow us to work together to engineer a solution that can address possible gaps that exist in your operations and enhance your business.)
Here’s an example of why deeper conversations are important:
A normal conversation with automobile dealership’s IT manager could easily reveal the number of IP stations and seat types required for that company. A more in depth communications conversation, with key personnel, could reveal that the sales people are often away from their desks when prospective customers call. One of their current options is for the prospect to leave a voice mail that can notify the salesperson to call them back. This opens them to the possibility of losing the momentum of the sale if the prospect is not available to answer once they call back. Their other current option is to have the prospect hang up and call the sales person back on their cellular telephone. This does put the prospect in contact with the salesperson (should they chose to call the alternate number), but by sharing the salesperson’s personal cell number, you risk losing the customer should the salesperson leave the dealership. The third option is to have the salesperson paged over the paging system…which is fine if the sales person is on the dealership sight and not across the street at lunch. None of these potential customer drop points will be fixed without an in-depth conversation.
For example, EarthLink Business has a CommPortal assistant that sets up a schedule to ring the salesperson’s cellular phone at the same time as their IP station during their shift. This way, any salesperson can answer calls whether they are at their desk, on the dealership lot, or across the street at lunch. They would no longer face the risk of not hearing a page or having to call the prospective customer back and missing them. Also, since the cellular telephone rings at the same time as the IP station set, the dealership only needs to publish a single dealership number on the salesperson’s business cards. A prospective customer would contact the dealership even if a former salesperson were no longer working there. This is just one example of how engaging with EarthLink Business in a proper business conversation can lead to identifying areas where our Hosted Voice platform can enhance the way your business is currently operating and possibly serve as a value added resource and/or a revenue generating tool.