Turning the heads of technphobes

For VoIP resellers, convincing a stubborn-minded small business owner to invest in hosted voice services can be a challenge – but there are ways that you can start to make them change their minds

Sometimes it is not easy being a VoIP reseller – especially when you come across stubborn users who believe that it is better to stick with what they know best and has worked for them for many a long year. For these businesses, it may be necessary to take a slightly different approach and get them to consider how having an old-fashioned and inflexible phone system can impact their business in different ways.


Is the phone system working for you?

Voice still plays a vital role in every business. Usually, the first contact with a potential new customer will come when they make an initial enquiry call. These days, most customers will have done online research and know a lot about you before they make that call – they are already a slightly warm prospect, so it will help you if you can be as slick and efficient as possible when you do answer.

If your telephony and CRM systems are properly joined-up, if they have made any previous enquiry via email or by downloading a brochure, for example, that will have been picked up and the information can be called onto the screen right away by your sales person. If it’s the very first time you have had any contact with them, being able to input the data you gather on that initial call, get their details into the CRM system and linked to their telephone number and email, will allow you to follow up professionally.

To do all of this, the CRM system needs to be able to integrate with the telephony system, and for that you need a good business VoIP service. Resellers should know how to interconnect and integrate systems.


Is it working for your customers?

For a customer, it is much better when the supplier is armed and ready with all the previous information they have already given – no-one wastes any time that way. And if the telephony system has features that will ensure they get put through to the right team or can always get hold of their key contacts on the same number, wherever those contacts might be working that day, this also helps a great deal.

Having a good, full-featured voice system can really help to enhance customer service. Features like auto attendant, group ringing, redirection, voicemail and other advanced features are available and easy to set up. For a VoIP reseller, it’s vital to know about all the key features and benefits that a hosted voice service offers.


Does it give you control?

For business and for life, mobile phones are incredible tools. But if staff get into too much of a habit of using them all the time, all their business contacts become their own personal contacts – not the company’s! Also, unless they are making and taking those calls on a company mobile, the business won’t know about them. And if they are, the company will be paying for it – and mobile costs are high. With VoIP, employees will be able to take their direct dial number with them, so they can make and take calls using the VoIP service at any time, as long as they can connect to the web.

This will give the business a full record of their activity and mean that all (or almost all) conversations and interactions are recorded. It should also bring down mobile phone call costs. For resellers of VoIP, it’s advisable to have some real-world examples or case studies you can use to illustrate these points.


Enabling remote workers – and keeping them closer too

VoIP makes it easy for people to work at home or in remote locations, which is really useful and will help in lots of different ways. It keeps them in the loop, logged-on and in contact, so colleagues and customers can find and talk to remote workers easily and you can monitor their activity as well. Once again, for the VoIP reseller, having good knowledge of the feature set and some case studies on hand will help you illustrate these benefits.


What does your phone system say about your business?

No business wants to be seen as being behind the times and frankly, if you do have an old analogue phone system, you may be seen that way. It is also likely to be very inflexible and unreliable. VoIP solutions are very flexible and feature-rich, so you can project the image of a modern, efficient, technically-astute business. You can have auto attendant messages, voicemail, multiple local or national numbers redirected to a central point, and much more.

Having access to all these features and flexibility will also have a positive effect on staff morale. Everyone wants to be part of a business that is up with the times and making use of the latest technology. Illustrating this will be done mainly through anecdote, but testimonials from customers about how business VoIP has changed the way customers and staff view the business will be useful.


How much is it costing you to manage and maintain?

Older PBX-based systems are probably covered by a maintenance contract – and it’s likely to cost a fair bit per annum. Also, if the system breaks down – and the older it is the more likely that is to happen – that will also have an impact on your productivity and customer service and consequently, on the image of a business.

With VoIP, call costs are always going to be lower as well – especially if the business makes a lot of international calls. Having a few before-and-after cost illustrations to hand will always help when you are reselling a business VoIP service.


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