Being at the helm of a large multinational enterprise has its perks, like incentive stock options, zipping around in a corporate jet, and team building getaways to an executive dude ranch (we’re not kidding).
Yet with this being said, it’s also a great time to run a small business; especially since they account for a whopping 99.7% of all businesses in the U.S., and have provided two-thirds of all new jobs since the 1970s. So yes, big businesses get featured on magazine covers, but small business are — and always will be — the economic engine of the nation.
However, there’s one thing that small businesses can’t afford to do if they want to avoid entering the dustbin of history: they can’t afford to look tiny. Otherwise, customers can get nervous and head to larger competitors. That’s where a cloud telephone system enters the picture and makes a transformative difference.
Here are 4 ways that a cloud telephone system makes your small business look BIG:
- Extend the marketplace with telephone numbers and toll-free numbers.
Although the web has made purchasing goods and services across the country or state as easy as heading across the street, many customers are nevertheless turned off when they engage some pretty old fashioned technology: a long distance phone number.
This isn’t because they’re necessarily irked by having to pay long distance costs (although this could be a deal breaker for some of them). Rather, it’s because they feel as if they’re taking a risk vs. dealing with a local business.
With a cloud telephone system, you can easily and affordably close this perception gap with phone numbers for different area codes anywhere in the state or country. You can also get custom numbers and toll-free numbers that make it simple and safe for customers to pick up the phone and get in touch.
- Extend your workforce with total mobility.
In the past, big enterprises that could afford a large staff contingent or call center had a major — and permanent — competitive advantage over small businesses that simply couldn’t afford to match them in terms of coverage. As a result, many customers were sent to voicemail or placed on hold; both of which they didn’t like (and still don’t!).
With a cloud telephone system, you can extend your workforce by automatically forwarding calls to any other numbers, including smartphones (which feature your business’s name/number on Caller ID). As such, your people can be available and responsive.
- Use Auto-Attendant to Make the Right First Impression
As noted above, customers dislike — and some of them outright loathe — being placed hold, being shuffled off to voicemail, or worst of all: having the phone ring…and ring…and ring. Indeed, there probably isn’t a better way to make a worse impression!
With a cloud telephone system, you can quickly and easily configure (and re-configure as desired) your auto-attendant greeting, which professionally greets callers on the first ring and helps them select the department or individual that they wish to reach.
And speaking of reaching individuals: unlike conventional phone systems, adding numbers to a cloud telephone system is remarkably easy, fast and affordable. As such, everyone on the small business team — including the intern that started this morning — can get their very own number.
- Business Continuity to Stay Connected
During a local power outage caused by natural disaster or other serious events, conventional phone systems shut down — which means that customers get a disconcerting “the number you have called is out of service” recording. Even though your small business is blameless and at the mercy of the power company and/or phone company, this is more than enough of a red flag to convince some customers to head to larger organizations.
A cloud telephone system has multiple built-in business continuity contingencies, including a cloud-based infrastructure that automatically switches to another part of the state, country or world that isn’t affected by the power outage. The result is that you can route calls to unaffected locations (if applicable and desired), or continue making and receiving calls using smartphones.
The Bottom Line
Running a small business has its advantages. For example, compared to big enterprises you can be more nimble, agile and responsive, and in many cases when your customers look beyond the marketing noise and “compare apples to apples,” you can offer superior solutions at a lower price position. But to generate rewards — both for your customers and your small business — you simply can’t afford to look tiny. A cloud telephone system prevents that from happening, and lets you stand toe-to-toe with the big boys in your marketplace. YO, ADRIAN!