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Virtual Telephone Numbers

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Have you wondered about what virtual telephone numbers are and how to get them for your business or personal use? In this article, we’ll cover those topics, as well as the many benefits that come with using them today!

What are Virtual Telephone Numbers?

In the most simple sense, virtual telephone numbers put two parties in contact with one another by phone no matter where either party is located. Using the power of the Internet — particularly VoIP technology and the cloud — calls can be transmitted between businesses and customers seamlessly.

To give you an example of how virtual numbers can augment your business, suppose you run a business based in the United States, but you’re looking to expand to the Netherlands. In order to get in contact with Netherlands-based businesses and customers, you would have to a) set up a physical presence in the country, or b) offer lines of communication. Of course, setting up a brick and mortar operation in a foreign country comes with a host of challenges and setbacks, including hiring staff and leasing property, as well as following the country and municipality’s guidelines — all before gaining a profit. Then, if you simply offer your domestic lines of communication, even a domestic toll free number, those calls may be rejected by the country’s service provider or they may charge callers long-distance fees for contacting your business. As a solution, these numbers enable callers to reach your business without obstruction. And with 21st century technology, particularly virtual locations and virtual offices, your business can circumvent setting up a branch office in the Netherlands. Instead, you can use virtual methods to process transactions and virtual telephone numbers to handle the lines of communication.

Types of Virtual Phone Numbers

There are a number of different types of virtual telephone numbers available for business owners and individuals. For instance, you may want to offer toll free calling to your business to build authenticity and give your business a professional sheen. With virtual phone numbers, you can use ITFS numbers (“International Toll Free Service”) and UIFN (“Universal International Freephone) to extend a toll free virtual telephone number service — which is a viable method to ensure that international callers aren’t blocked by their service provider and/or charged long-distance fees.

There is also a marketing component of virtual numbers that can be particularly useful. First, by subscribing to a vanity virtual telephone number, you can incorporate phone numbers with a visually-appealing set of digits that you can use in your marketing materials. This can exponentiate your exposure and create a wider brand awareness than traditional marketing methods or advertising with your domestic telephone number.

Geographic agnosticism is another key benefit to using virtual telephone numbers. As an international business owner, you may want to broaden your audience while not spending capital on setting up a brick & mortar location in a country. Instead, virtual telephone numbers are available in 140+ countries from United World Telecom. This means that you can tailor your line of communication to reflect a particular region – like using an Ireland phone number when you fly in for business or to keep in touch with loved ones without having to pay long-distance fees.

Of course, virtual telephone numbers grow with the development of cloud computing, so there are new add-ons and features that can be used to augment how your business processes inbound calls and contacts clients directly. Popular add-ons include “time of day routing,” “simultaneous ringing,” and “CallMeClick,” an add-on that embraces the increasing trend towards mobile-only communication.

Getting a virtual phone number
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How to Get a Virtual Phone Numbers from United World Telecom

First, navigate to United World Telecom’s home page. There, you’ll find a number of types of virtual telephone numbers to choose from. By clicking on the appropriate one, you’ll be redirected to a webpage with a list of dropdown menus. These dropdown menus are organized in two parts: your virtual number and your destination phone number. You’ll want to select the appropriate country from a list of over 140 countries around the world. Once you’ve selected that, you’ll choose which type of phone number works best for your company (toll free, vanity numbers, geographic, etc). After choosing the type of phone number, you will either a) choose from a list of available phone numbers, or b) be given one upon activation.

Next, you’ll be presented with United World Telecom’s choice of payment plans, followed by the option to add more features to your virtual phone number, including call recording and outbound calling. After selecting each accordingly, the process is relatively straightforward. Simply fill in your contact information, billing and payment methods, review the terms & conditions and review your purchase. Also, note that you can purchase additional virtual telephone numbers as needed, which repeats the process.

VoIP: Today’s Top Solution for Business Phone Numbers

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What is the best phone system for your small business? There seems to be an unlimited number of choices when it comes to choosing a communication system. There are landlines, Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP systems, virtual numbers, cloud-hosted, and more. Although there are plenty of options to choose from, VoIP Business Phone Numbers might be your best choice.

The Benefits of using VoIP Internet Phone Services

Most small businesses prefer to use VoIP because unlike landlines, the VoIP systems run over a reliable internet connection. Many companies prefer VoIP because they can run their telephone lines over the same internet line that they run their businesses through. Sometimes a business uses the same internet connection for both the phone and the internet. Because of this, the business won’t have to go through any installation processes or have to deal with adding phone lines to multiple offices. In addition, they can integrate with the computers that already have in the office. Employees are able to make calls from their laptops and computers or set up their voicemails to be sent to their email. If a business is using a CRM program, it is very beneficial because businesses will easily be able to keep up with customers’ inquiries.

VoIP systems also make the most sense for small businesses because they work with small and affordable PBX equipment. PBX equipment allows for small businesses to have access to many features that generally only a large corporation would have, like call recording and conference calling, all for a low price.

VoIP Business Phone Numbers
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How VoIP Business Phone Numbers Work

The VoIP system works similarly to how a landline system does. You can choose your phone number and area code, or if you prefer to use a toll free number, you can select that as well. Some businesses prefer to have both. VoIP makes the most sense for small business owners because it is easy to manage in a simple to use online portal. From the online portal, managers can delegate phone numbers as well as extensions and choose which features to turn on and off. From the online portal, administrators can also add new lines whenever they need them.

VoIP began gaining more popularity in recent years because the original problems with VoIP are virtually nonexistent. Years ago there were problems with call quality and static; however, now that internet technology has improved so has VoIP. The connection is so much better now that it sounds the same as if you were using a landline. Because of these improvements and the phone service cost savings, VoIP has been steadily moving to become the standard for all businesses.

Types of VoIP Business Phone Numbers

If you are planning on using a VoIP system for your business be sure that there is a reliable internet connection. It is also essential to decide which PBX equipment is best for your business. There are two options; on-premises or cloud-based PBX. Some phone providers will offer both while others offer one or the other.

If you choose to use VoIP on-premises, you must have room for the PBX equipment installed in your office or store. It is up to you to train your IT staff to upgrade it and keep it running and secure. Because  IT staff is the one maintaining the PBX, you are in complete control of the system. On-premises PBX is best for security because everything is run from inside of your business. However, if a business doesn’t have it’s own IT staff, then they will not be able to use the on-premises option.

Another option is cloud-hosted VoIP. These are popular among small businesses because the equipment is housed off-premises by the provider. The provider is the one who is responsible for upgrading software, making sure everything is secure, and housing all of the equipment. This way is also faster because upon activation you’re ready to go. If you decide on a cloud-hosted system be sure that the provider has enough bandwidth to support a growing business. If there is not enough bandwidth, calls could suffer in quality.

The popularity of VoIP among small business owners comes as no surprise. It is one of the best ways to keep you in constant contact with your customers and the most affordable and easy-to-use option. To learn more about our virtual phone number services and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy, contact us.

Toll Free Numbers for Marketing Campaigns

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Before starting a new marketing campaign, you may be wondering if a toll free number will be useful. If you are considering getting a toll free number for your business as part of a marketing strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind before committing to a number. Toll free numbers are a very affordable way to boost any marketing campaign and they come with many benefits. Here are a few things to consider before deciding on your number.

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1. Choose your words wisely

Toll free 800 numbers are a useful business tool used by many businesses; in fact, the popularity of these numbers has created a need for 800 numbers to expand to numbers such as 855, 866, 877, and so on. However, you shouldn’t just purchase any available number. The number you choose needs to be easy to remember in order for it to be the most useful number for your business. Vanity numbers are popular for this reason as well. When choosing a vanity number, make sure that it pertains to your business. You can use a company tagline or a short word that states what your store sells.

2. Go all the way

Choosing all numbers or all letters is better than selecting a mix. Toll free numbers that combine words and numbers confuse customers and aren’t easy to remember. For example, 1-800-329-HOPS is not a good idea for a marketing number. You’re essentially asking your customers to remember a random group of numbers before a word. The only numbers before the word or phrase should be the 1-800.

3. Set goals

As with any marketing strategy, you’ll want to set goals that align with your overall vision for your company. Popular goals found in many marketing strategies include growing phone sales, generating leads, creating customer loyalty, and setting your business apart from the competition. Once you have your goals in front of you, then you can take time to develop the entire strategy effectively.

4. Put your number on everything

Once you have chosen the right toll free number for your brand, then you can market it everywhere. Place your number on your website, brochures, social media accounts, billboards, business cards, radio and TV ads, magazine or newspaper ads, and on merchandise like pens and notebooks.

5. Regularly track your results

Like any good marketing strategy, you need a way to track the influx of purchases from each outlet. That way, you can decide later on what works and what isn’t working for your company. Toll free numbers are the same. Some things are easy to measure, such as seeing a boost in phone calls for your toll free number. But in order to see just how many sales are taking place from this bump in calls and finding out where your new customers found the toll free number means you need to find a way to track the source of the phone calls. United World Telecom comes with a feature for all of their virtual phone numbers that allows you to monitor phone calls in your settings. The same day that you set up your toll free number, you can also set up your online account. You can manage all of your features from this account 24/7.

A custom toll free phone number is an excellent choice for most companies as it is an inexpensive way to double your marketing efforts across all of your current campaigns. As long as you choose the right number to represent your brand, you should be on your way to success. This number not only communicates the benefits that your company provides, but it also reinforces your brand across several channels and helps to differentiate your company from its competition. If you are thinking about getting a toll free number for your business, consider contacting United World Telecom at 1-877-898-8646 to get started on choosing the best toll free number for your company.

Does Your Business Need a Toll Free Number in the Age of Mobile?

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Technology has been quickly evolving over the past few years. The telephone industry is not an exception to this. Ever since the first toll free number debuted in the 1960s, the popularity has been growing. The toll free number became so popular among businesses that actual 1-800 numbers became so hard to come by, other toll free prefixes had to be introduced to keep up with the demand. Starting in the 2000s, the popularity of the toll free number began a slow decline as more people began to rely on social media for promoting their businesses. So, in this social media and the internet-driven world are toll free numbers still necessary for companies?

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The number 1 benefit of having a toll free number in the age of mobile is that there is no replacement for speaking to another human being. All customers will want to get in touch with your business through their preferred method of communication, and many customers would rather talk to a fellow human being over the phone. The big takeaway for the usage of toll free numbers and other communication methods is that you need to provide multiple ways for customers to contact you. But why get a toll free number when you already have several options for your customers to reach you?

1. Improvements to customer satisfaction

To reiterate, your customers need a way to get into contact with you. People need ways to get in touch with businesses they are purchasing from, or considering purchasing from. Not having methods of communication easily found on your company’s website will leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth. A toll free number is one of the best ways to get in contact with your customers right away. When a customer makes a phone call, they know it will be only moments before they reach someone who can assist them with their inquiry. Other forms of communication, such as email or sending a direct message take a long time and may not get a response right away. When a customer sends a message through an online form, they can’t be guaranteed that it was read or that it will get read in time for them to get their problem solved.

Toll free numbers are also free for customers to use.

2. Toll free numbers are memorable

A great benefit to having a toll free number is that they are easy for your customers to remember. The most successful companies that use toll free numbers usually have a vanity number and/or promote the number on a radio ad or commercial with some sort of jingle attached. 1-800-Pilates for your studio is a much easier number to remember than a cluster of random numbers. If you are a company that sells a particular product or uses a specific tagline, consider getting a vanity number so that you can generate sales and market with it.

3. Reliability

Most people associate toll free numbers with large corporations who can afford a large marketing budget, but the truth is, they are incredibly affordable, and any mom-and-pop-shop can get one. This association with bigger businesses can make people believe that your business is more extensive than it actually is. Even if you are working from your kitchen counter, you can add more credibility just by getting a toll free number. At United World Telecom you can also choose from a variety of different plans that will fit the size of your business, no matter what your needs are.

4. Portability

If you are putting off getting a toll free number because you think that your business will be moving soon, that’s a mistake for multiple reasons. First, if your company does move around, then you need to have one number that isn’t changing all the time. Second, toll free numbers are portable, which means you can take your business anywhere and you can still take your number with you. Third, if you change providers, you can always port the toll free number. So, don’t wait until you make a move to buy a toll free number. Start using one now!

5. They’re great for marketing

Having one toll free number means you can market your business’ number everywhere you are advertising your business. It can be placed on brochures, business cards, your website, TV ads, radio ads, print ads, etc. Plus these numbers can help you keep track of your marketing efforts. With a toll free number, you can create multiple extensions, meaning you will be able to find out where the call came from. For example, there could be one extension for brochures, another one for commercials, and another for billboards. You can track how many calls you’re getting from each marketing method and then based on that research, choose what you should be spending more marketing money on and which marketing strategies to skip.

Why Virtual Phone Numbers are Essential for Productivity

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Productivity is a crucial factor in any business however large or small. If it starts to wane, then profits begin to plummet. One of the best ways you can boost productivity is by using virtual phone numbers.

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These days, more and more employees are juggling family, school, and other commitments outside of work. These are some of the main reasons why so many employees prefer to work from home. Before you rule this idea out, think about it carefully. Allowing your employees to work from home can be beneficial to you and your company in many ways. Here are just a few examples:

  • Cutting down your overheads: If your team works from home, you don’t have to provide them with an office. This means you can save money by not having to rent a workspace for them.
  • Increasing flexibility: Because employees are working from home, they can flex their hours. This means you can have someone available to cover customer service whenever you need them. And that means no dissatisfied customers because they will be tended to.
  • Employees love telecommuting: They can kiss goodbye to those stressful rush hour commutes and work from the comfort of their own home. Many employees, particularly millennials, are actively seeking jobs they can perform from home.
  • Increased productivity: People who telecommute are 20 percent more willing to work over 40 hours per week. What’s more: studies show that telecommuters are 20 percent more productive, and they miss far fewer days of work than their in-house colleagues.

How to Optimize Productivity When your Staff are Telecommuting

You can get the most out of your staff when they are telecommuting by using a virtual telephone system. United World Telecom is a leading provider of virtual telephone numbers. Virtual phone numbers eliminate communication gaps between you and your team members and your employees and your customers.

You can assign virtual phone numbers to individual members of staff or to a group of users. With virtual phone numbers, you can also set as many extensions as you need so that customers can connect with the department or employee they need. Extensions also make it easy for you to connect with your team members.

With virtual phone numbers, calls can be routed to the number or numbers of your choice, whether it is your office number, landline, or your employees’ personal cell phone numbers. This is particularly valuable if you have customers overseas who are located in a different time zone. You can make sure your team never misses a call.

No Need for Technical Training

Because virtual phone numbers are easy to use, you can control everything using an online interface – there is no need to pay for technical training for your employees. Your virtual phone number provider takes care of everything else, so you don’t have to purchase expensive software.

Furthermore, when you sign up for your virtual numbers with United World Telecom, you will also have access to a suite of advanced features, which can help to boost your brand and make your company look more professional. These include:

  • Call recording
  • Simultaneous calling
  • Local ringback tones
  • Black and white lists
  • Rollover minutes
  • Voicemail to email
  • Fax to email
  • SMS to email
  • Failover forwarding

Making and receiving calls from a virtual phone number has never been easier.

Other Advantages of Telecommuting Using Virtual Phone Numbers

If you are still not convinced that you can boost your productivity with virtual phone numbers, here are some more benefits for you and your telecommuting team:
Optimal connectivity: Because you are combining bring-your-own-device with intelligent call forwarding, it is possible to make calls from anywhere in the world. It’s virtually impossible to miss or drop a call when you have so many options.

  • Ultimate communication management: Using just your smartphone, you can use features which allow you to process incoming calls from multiple channels. You can also assign call back requests, emails, and missed calls to specific employees.
  • Immediate deployment: Because virtual phone numbers require no dedicated hardware to operate, as soon as you have signed up for them, you are good to go. United World Telecom can help you pick from local or toll free virtual phone numbers.
  • Superior flexibility: All the available features are completely customizable. These include recording a personalized greeting, routing patterns, voice menus, and black and white lists. You can activate and deactivate numbers and features as you see fit.
  • Ultimate control: You can tend to all your virtual phone number communications using United World Telecom’s online dashboard. The interface documents every activity that’s going on within the virtual phone system, including all incoming and outgoing calls, even missed calls, voicemails, faxes, SMS activity, and internal interactions. You have all these metrics at your fingertips. You can also record any or all incoming and outgoing calls, which is great for customer support training and resolving customer disputes.
    Contact United World Telecom today and ask for a free trial without any obligation!

Achieving First Contact Resolution

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Quality customer service is a necessity to run a profitable business that continuously attracts new customers and retains the loyalty of past buyers. Every entrepreneur values customer service, no matter the size of their business. Yet, new business owners and established professionals often hear the same advice about customer service management.

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Call center employees must be well-trained. Agents should also be friendly and patient to show customer appreciation while also making callers feel more comfortable when speaking with team members.

What is First Contact Resolution?

What about repeat calls from customers? Finding a solution for customers during the first conversation is ideal. When a customer calls back to discuss the same problem, this is often negative and not the desired result after the first call. When you can fully satisfy the customer during the first call, this is known as achieving first contact resolution (FCR).

A Solutions-First Approach

FCR greatly elevates the customer service experience and prevents upsetting delays. Furthermore, it shows how knowledgeable your team is in your industry. Negative callback experiences lower staff morale and can frustrate callers. Resolve customer issues and they don’t have to call back to ask similar questions or inform you that your help was ineffective.

Achieving the first-contact resolution at your call center is a unique process for every business. Use these four tips to help increase it.

Track FCR In Your Company

The first step to achieving first contact resolution is knowing your company performance by tracking metrics. Gather data to find areas where first-contact resolution is easily achieved and where more work needed. Tracking performance allows managers to see where employees need additional training and support, increasing the likelihood of solving customer problems on the first attempt.

Areas of poor performance require special attention in the process of achieving first contact resolution. Understanding why FCR was not achieved by knowing why customers needed to call back is key for management to modify their training approaches and strengthen all aspects of the customer service approach.

Know Thy Customer

Knowing the customer is essential for achieving first contact resolution, and the best customer service agents understand customer behaviors on a deeper level. Understanding spoken and unspoken behaviors allows reps to better analyze individual needs and the most effective strategies during the call. Effective customer service agents often go off-script because they can notice the caller’s tone of voice and word choices. These observations help customer service agents address hesitation and confusion by providing more assistance during the first call.

Understanding customer behavior while achieving first contact resolution does more than impress the caller. Customers will feel genuinely understood, and this strengthens their personal connection with your brand. A true sense of connection will naturally inspire buyers to continue investing in your business and recommending your services to others.

Set Specific Goals For Team Members

Setting FCR as a priority means setting clearly defined goals. As these goals are being set, supervisors must explain why these guidelines are in place and the positive impact achieving first contact resolution would have on the company.

If call center agents are only achieving first contact resolution, they might think this is a good sign without realizing FCR should be a frequent occurrence. FCR adds more value to the company, resulting in more calls and sales.

Let employees know the importance of achieving first contact resolution at team meetings (or individually). Agents are communicating with customers every day, which provides an understanding of customers in a more personal way.

Let your customer service agents tell you about their experiences with callers for a deeper level of insight. Then, show your team that you value their knowledge by incorporating their suggestions as you continue setting guidelines for achieving first contact resolution.

Ask The Customer

After achieving first contact resolution is set as the priority that everyone in your business understands, data should also be gathered from the customer directly. Provide the option for customer surveys to allow customers to openly voice their opinion on your service. Management and agents can use customer input as a resource to determine the best course of action moving forward.

Achieving First Contact Resolution Is Profitable

Today running a successful business means finding a way to stand apart from competitors. Operating a business that customers enjoy connecting with leads to more purchases as callers speak directly with team members for assistance.

Strengthening your first contact resolution is an important part of setting your brand apart as an expert in your market as well as a leader in customer service. Leaders in the customer service field are among the best assets for a business looking to grow. Your customer service agents are imperative to the efforts of becoming a more reputable business. Empowering your customer service teams will help them to be confident and impactful when speaking during phone calls. Keep in mind, you also have the option of using software and additional resources to help your customer representatives achieve first contact resolution goals.

Marketing Campaigns To Boost Customer Service

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Startup funding matters, but it isn’t the deciding factor of your success in the market. Originality is key for today’s marketing campaigns, and the way you advertise your products is the best way to boost your public appeal.

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Your company is defined by more than your mission statement and messaging style. The perspective of your customers also determines how your business is perceived by consumers.
When you work to improve your marketing campaigns, customers will work for you by sharing your advertisements and mentioning their positive experiences when doing business with your company.

Read on for tips using your marketing campaigns to boost customer service.

Have Personality

Customers aren’t expecting brands to follow traditional guidelines when conveying their message. Instead of focusing on the facts and lacking personality, customers want to get a feel for who you are and what your business truly stands for before purchasing your products.

This desire for genuine content is why vlogs have skyrocketed in popularity on YouTube and on social media platforms. Likewise, behind the scenes footage is intriguing and unscripted. This is the content viewers enjoy sharing, and it can immediately change their perspective.

Honesty connects audiences to a brand before they reach out to your team. Marketing campaigns naturally boost customer service when people feel that they have something in common with your vision or your team members. Once common ground is established, potential customers will be more supportive and willing to invest in your company.

Use Social Media To Your Advantage

People began to rely on social media to stay in touch with friends and family when the concept was introduced. As more businesses began to market through social media, customers followed suit, building stronger relationships with brands they trust. Likewise, social media became a tool for researching businesses, purchasing products, and reading customer reviews.

Today, social media is the most popular outlet for brands and consumers to share their thoughts and important updates. Properly utilizing social media allows businesses to attract new customers and build a favorable reputation in your industry.

Social media is a tool for marketing campaigns to boost customer service as it solidifies your presence as a modern brand. Furthermore, social media adds a level of transparency customers appreciate. They can read the comments to see how you conduct your business and how past customers felt about their experiences.

When you decide to invest the time into social media marketing campaigns to boost customer service, take things a step further by interacting with customers. Thank users who mention your products, offer deals and promotions via messaging, and join conversations about topics related to your industry.

Request Customer Feedback

What better way to understand your customers than asking for their feedback directly? Marketing campaigns to boost customer service are effective when encouraging customer feedback because customers want to share their opinion – especially if they enjoy doing business with your company.

Business owners enhance the customer service experience because when you market your business by asking for feedback, it shows you value the input of people who purchase your services. Furthermore, you can implement the ideas customers give you to prove that your company puts the customer first. This has the ability to strengthen relationships with consumers and other industry professionals.

Distribute Email Newsletters

Email marketing is an outlet for sharing your professionalism, latest deals, and unique voice. Use email newsletters to keep customers informed and engaged.

Businesses don’t have to send out letters by mail when using marketing campaigns to boost customer service. Email marketing usually has a high return on investment because almost everyone, even in diverse age ranges, checks their email daily. Personalize emails by linking them back to your products and sharing insider tips and updates.

Offer Free Trials

Everyone loves freebies and giveaways. Free trials can be used as a strategy to introduce new products to the market and analyze customer preferences. What logos and branding styles appeal to target customers? How are customers responding to your product? Are the instructions and advantages easy to comprehend?

Answering these questions will help you set prices and customize marketing campaigns to boost customer service.

It’s important to show that your company is relevant and customer-oriented. Public reaction to a new product or service provides the insight you need to create future marketing strategies and determine the best approach to customer service. You have to know that there is a diverse range of customers out there that you can reach. While we were once limited to television and print publications, we now have the internet to help our brand be successful from any location in the world.

Customers are constantly being advertised to so they want something that is original and that fits their lifestyle and vision. It’s not uncommon for new businesses to fail because they didn’t have an impactful and innovative marketing strategy that puts the customer first. Don’t make assumptions. Take the appropriate actions to find out customer needs and react accordingly.

Empowering Your Customer Service Team

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Customer service teams are often at the center of globally recognized companies and small businesses. Regardless of the industry, these teams have one thing in common: they connect with customers on a professional and emotional level. Working as a customer service professional is a responsibility fueled by learning and innovative thinking.

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Managers can provide support as agents work and find their unique voice, but there’s no need to look over their shoulders to help. The best companies don’t thrive on micromanagement. Instead, they create effective customer service teams by providing access to the tools employees need to succeed.

Empowering your customer service team through knowledge and freedom will increase their confidence and helps them to make customers happy. The relationships your customer service agents build with callers is critical to the success of your business because an exceptional customer service experience will keep your customers confident in their decisions and loyal to your brand.

Word of mouth advertising is no longer done face to face. Sharing both pleasant and negative experiences online is now the norm. Keeping this in mind, it’s imperative to help agents deliver a memorable experience. Through the internet, customers will see your reviews and use this information to determine if doing business with you is the right choice.

Keeping your customer service team motivated should always be a focus of training throughout the duration of their employment. Use these tips to empower your customer service team while creating more productive and motivated work spaces.

Ask Customer Service Agents For Advice

Showing employees their input holds weight when making company decisions is a key method for empowering customer service agents.

Callers are frequently expressing their thoughts for improvements to agents. Your call center representatives know customer preferences better than anyone because they speak with customers daily and receive feedback.

Therefore, when service agents share their ideas, it’s important to listen. Their input is coming from the diverse perspectives of your clientele while understanding the internal operations of the company.

Guessing the needs of customers is often ineffective, and communication gaps have multiple negative effects. Failure to communicate properly can alienate team members, resulting in a higher turnover rate. Sales can also suffer because customers may have trouble connecting with a brand that demonstrates poor messaging.

Request the input of agents and you’ll be empowering customer service teams by showing appreciation for their knowledge. Your marketing strategies will also be more impactful when using the knowledge of your team to customize your advertisements and brand message.

Provide Access To Mentors

Assessing skills and investing company time and resources into training is expected for new team members. But training shouldn’t stop after the hiring process.

Your team must stay competitive to be a leader in your industry as markets and technologies continue to evolve. Consider mentorship programs as a resource, and make the programs easily accessible.

Coordinate a team of mentors with experience and a proven track record for implementing strategies that work. These experts are empowering for your customer service teams because their personal stories of trial and error can resonate with employees and boost confidence. Your team members must accept their role as a constant learning experience. They don’t have to feel the pressure of knowing (or not knowing) everything or be afraid of making mistakes.

There are always goals to meet, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows the strategies of how to meet company objectives and hit deadlines. The right mentors will help customer service agents understand various ways to meet goals and discuss approaches that enhance the customer experience.

Management roles require an extensive amount of time and energy. When supervisors have to oversee company operations and assist customer service agents, it doubles their workload and creates a tense environment. Managers can feel more comfortable to let team members work freely as they become more knowledgeable.

In Conclusion

Empowering customer service teams helps team members to be more comfortable in their role as they create profitable relationships with callers. Furthermore, it creates a deeper level of commitment to the company because employees are at ease when working knowing their work is valued and know company leaders have their best interests at heart.

While empowering customer service teams is the focus, workplace empowerment will benefit the entire company. An empowered customer service team is more likely to close sales, which positively impacts the brand’s value and bottom line. As other businesses notice the success of your team, it opens the door to more sponsorships and partnering opportunities.

Positioning your business as a trusted authority in your industry takes work, and a strong team dedicated to customer service will always be beneficial. When your business is providing high-quality goods and services while meeting the needs of customers, you’ll build a commendable reputation and inspire customer loyalty.

Choosing a Voice for your IVR & Voice Prompts

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The first voice that your customers encounter of your brand through your IVR & Voice Prompts can make or break your image. We all have heard the old adages about how the first impression is the most important, so wouldn’t you want the first voice your clients hear to be the right one for your company?

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Every time your customer calls your company, they are greeted by a familiar voice and in order to create a great experience for your customer, two major factors are at hand:

  1. The technology must be up to standard
  2. The voice must be humanizing

Having the highest standard in technology means that your customers will be greeted by a clear voice, that is able to guide them efficiently and correctly. When the voice is humanizing, the sound offers a friendly vibe that encourages friendliness to be mimicked on the other end.
The easiest way to accomplish this clear and friendly sound for your customers is to hire a professional voice actor to record on your IVR system. Voice actors for IVR are actually easily found because they are managed by telephony applications.

Choosing the Right Voice

Finding the right voice for your IVR is not as easy as picking a random name from a hat. You have to think about what voice stays consistent with your brand. To find the right person for your IVR, consider these options before making your choice.

Tradition

In the past, all businesses used female voices for their voice prompts. You can find evidence of this as far back as World War II. The trend of using automated female voices began in the cockpits of fighter airplanes so that the male pilots could distinguish who was talking. To this day, the majority of businesses use a female automated voice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can narrow down your search just yet.

Male Voices Vs Female Voices

Pros for the male voice include that most people believe that a man is forceful and dominant. However, female voices are said to sound more soothing. Knowing these details, it can be assumed that a customer would feel calmer on the phone when hearing a female voice. However, depending on what you are selling or what image you are trying to portray, a male voice might be more persuasive than a female voice.

Know Your Audience

Between male and female voices, one thing is sure, males prefer to hear other males and females prefer to hear other females. Therefore, if your customer base is dominated by one gender over another your choice is much more simple. If there is no clear gender division of the audience, there are still more things to consider. For example, if you cater to an older community, it might be best to choose a male voice as older individuals might find it more difficult to hear and understand a higher-pitched female voice.

Industry

If your industry is not trying to sell a product or service, and instead uses IVR to communicate with their customers regarding account information and payment information, this company needs to find a voice actor that will be perceived as capable. In this situation, where your clients are trying to accomplish a task instead of purchase an item or dispute a situation, a more forceful voice may come in handy. However, no two task-oriented industries are the same. Health insurance companies prefer to use soothing female voices. These voices are preferred for more sensitive subjects as humans are inclined to trust females.

What Are the Options?

There are many options to choose from for voice automation including multiple companies to work with and multiple voice options. The three most popular voice options are robotic text-to-speak voices, hiring a voice actor, or combining the two.

Only you know what will be best for your company, and you might be finding yourself justifying each option for an IVR voice. Some companies know immediately which voice would fit with their brand immediately, others can have a harder time because they reach a broader audience. Consider the options and situations above before making your decision. Luckily, if your customers don’t like the voice you pick for your voice prompts, they probably won’t be super bothered by it. If you are worried that you haven’t made the right decision, consider putting together a focus group to test out your favorites.

What is an RFP Document?

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An RFP Document is a Request for Proposal that many companies and the U.S. government use in business practices. Perhaps you have heard of an RFP before and just cast it off as a business term that you might use, but not necessarily know the process of. RFP documents are used between businesses that want to create a leveled playing field with other companies that they would like to do business with. The process of creating an RFP document can be overwhelming to some. Read on to learn about a simplistic approach to the RFP process.

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RFI

The first step to an RFP is creating a Request for Information. The RFI is like an introduction on what your company is about and what you hope for your company to strive for in the future. Once your company has created its RFI, you can send them out to several different companies which can hopefully help you create your bottom line. The RFI includes typically a set of questions for each company to answer as well as the company’s future plans and other essential details. Once your company has received a sufficient amount of RFIs returned, you can then look over each company’s circumstances and find out which company would work best with yours.

Issuing an RFP

Once you have decided which companies are the right match for your business, you can begin the process of issuing an RFP. The RFP will have more detailed questions than the RFI that both companies can release. These questions might be about the team members that will be working together and timelines that work for each business. Once completed, the RFP document then goes out to your top companies that responded to the original RFI document. The RFP may also be collected by a company that specializes in categorizing and housing RFPs. This company can use your RFP to help other businesses searching for services that your company offers.

Inside of this RFP document will also be your proposal. The company that you have invited from the RFI stage will write out their proposals which will include the solution to your issue and how their company will help resolve it. These should be very detailed and will look completely different for each company.

Request for Quotation

An RFQ is also known as an Invitation For Bid. The RFQ is similar to the RFP except that your company provides its solution and wants to find a company that can provide that solution in the way that your company would like to go about it. The RFQ states what the issue is, what the answer is, how to go about resolving the problem, and what it looks like and how it works. It also includes an idea of what contracts and payments will look like. This is important if your company is on a budget or if it is for a government agency which must always use a budget.

Tender

If your business needs something such as a simple good or service from another company they can use a tender bid. Instead of a long and complicated RFP, they will send out a Request for Tenders. If your company wants to find a company that will place their name and phone number on pens, they could use a tender bid. In order to get an RFT the company that you are looking towards will need to subscribe to a tender clearinghouse.

Teamwork

The RFP process is complex has many steps, but if you have a reliable team, you should be able to create one reasonably simply and without error. Because of its complexity, having multiple people responsible for different parts of the RFP is essential. Not only because it will save time, but because each department works differently and will have insider knowledge on specific details that need to be included. Be sure to gather everyone for team meetings so that everything in the RFP is concise, getting coverage, and the information is not being repeated. It also helps to have several people looking at the document to catch last-minute errors.

Case Studies

A case study should be included in your RFP to let other companies know about your company’s experience. This isn’t a very complex issue but can be time-consuming if you put it off. Add your case study to the beginning of your project so that way you can get through the RFP faster.