1300 Numbers: Helping start-ups keep in touch with their customers
It's always important for customers to be able to contact your business. This is especially true when you're first starting out and working hard to build up your customer base.
Unfortunately, start-ups can often be the most difficult types of businesses for their customers to contact.
For example, common start-up "challenges" can include the following:
- There's no budget for a formal office, so everyone works from their own home offices. That can mean that customers often need to know multiple phone numbers to be able to contact everyone they're after!
- Some employees may spend time each week working a second job (while they're waiting for the new business to make enough money to pay all their bills). That typically means there may be certain hours each week when they can't be contacted by phone.
- Some roles require employees to do a lot of travelling, for example to visit customers or suppliers, which may see them away from the office for hours or even days at a time.
You need to structure your communications so that customers are still able to contact your employees who work remotely, are not always able to answer their phones, or spend a lot of time on the road. The good news is that 1300 Numbers provide you with an easy and affordable way to ensure that your customers can always reach you when they want you.
Let's start with a quick definition of 1300 numbers:
A 1300 number is a "virtual" number, in that it isn't tied to a specific phone in the same way that your landline and mobile numbers are. Instead, you route your 1300 number to the "answerpoints" at which you want it to ring, including landlines, mobile phones, call answering services, and call forwarding (IVR) menus.
These numbers provide lots of benefits including being national, portable and flexible, plus they provide built-in reporting that you can use to track and measure your marketing campaigns. (You can find out more in the blog post 1300 Numbers Demystified.
What we're going to focus on in this post is a very useful add-on service for your 1300 number: the Call Forwarding (IVR) Menu.
Call Forwarding (IVR) Menus
An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is the recorded message and selection menu you hear when calling many businesses. For example "To speak to someone in Sales, press 1; to speak to Support, press 2; ..." or even "To speak to John, press 1; to speak to Carol, press 2, ..."
The beauty of these systems is that each menu selection offered can go to any phone number you choose: landline or mobile. That means that you can provide your customers with a single phone number, and it can reach all of your employees no matter where they are:
- Employees working from multiple offices? No problem. Set up an IVR selection for each office.
- Employees spend a lot of time travelling? No problem. Set up an IVR selection that routes to their mobile phones.
- Employees moving from a home office to a shared office? No problem. You can update the routing for your IVR selections at any time.
Not only is this service super-convenient, it's also very affordable at just $10 per month (on top of the cost of your 1300 number). It allows your customers to reach ALL of your employees through a single number, and provides you with full flexibilty over how you set up the IVR menu and where to route each selection.
Voice to Email (Voice2Email)
Complete your communications solution with a Voice to Email (Voice2Email) service. This is essentially a really smart voicemail service that sends you an email notification when you receive a message, and is ideal for employees who are on the road or who are working a second job and have times where they can't take calls.
A traditional voicemail system takes a recorded message, and then sits there waiting for you to notice. It might make a funny whirring or beeping noise when you pick up your phone, or maybe make a light flash on your handset ... or it may do nothing and just sit back and wait for you to check in and see whether there are any messages waiting. With a Voice2Email service, after the system takes the recorded message, it converts it to a sound file (e.g. WAV) and sends it to you immediately as an email attachment.
This gives you quick and convenient access to your messages from anywhere you have email access, including from your smartphone, so is ideal for someone who is away from the office. It also allows you to prioritise incoming calls, which means that your employees working second jobs can decide whether a call is important enough that it needs to be returned immediately, or whether they can wait until they're back on "your" company time.
Immediate notification means you're always able to respond to calls in a timely manner. And it costs just $10 a month to add this service to your 1300 number.
So there you have it. Adding a call forwarding (IVR) menu to your 1300 number gives you the ability to route calls to any employee, no matter where they're located. And adding a Voice2Email service is a convenient way for employees who are away from the office to ensure they never miss a message.
These services are super convenient and super affordable, which makes them ideal for ALL start-up businesses. You can find out more by contacting Alltel today on 1300 ALLTEL.