It’s crunch time for many businesses. Employees want time off, customers are rushing to finish projects and you might be rushing to close your books for the year. If you’re a retailer, you probably started preparing for the holiday onslaught months ago.


But as you’re planning for additional staff coverage or longer hours during the busiest time of the year, how much thought have you given to your phone system?


Today’s integrated telecommunication platforms can help boost customer service and improve the customer experience—ultimately driving more sales, says Tim Singleton, president of Strive Technology Consulting in Denver. Even better? Thanks to robust Voice over Internet Protocol  phone (VoIP) systems, small businesses can enjoy many of the same advanced features that large companies use at a fraction of the cost.


Here are five ways to maximize your phone and voicemail systems to bolster your business around the holiday season:


  1. Ensure every customer call gets answered

Thanks to advanced call-forwarding features, you can ensure that each call gets routed to the right person—even when no one is in the office. For example, you can set up your system so that every call coming into the sales department gets forwarded to one—or all—of your teams’ mobile phones after, say, three rings.


You can also preset routing protocols based on the time the call comes in. If someone calls after business hours, they can get a message that the business is closed now, but that someone will get back to them within 24 hours. Then, it’s up to you to deliver on that promise.


“If you tell a customer you’ll get back to them within 24 hours and you get back in 12, they will be thrilled,” Singleton says. “But if you tell them you’ll call back in an hour, and you call them back 12 hours later, they’re not going to be happy.”


  1. Direct callers to the right place.

Setting up an auto-attendant on your phone system can efficiently direct customers to what they need help with, Singleton says. Instead of needing a live person to route calls, the auto-attendant can provide callers with a simple directory and allow them to quickly reach the right person or department.


“The nice thing about an auto-attendant is that it makes the caller experience much more straightforward and easier to navigate than having to talk to a person who directs them to another line,” Singleton adds.


  1. Personalize your customer interactions.

If you have repeat callers, you can serve them better by knowing who is calling. By customizing your caller ID—making sure the right person’s name pops up when they call—you can address that person by name when you answer and ensure all staff can, too.


  1. Turn voicemails into emails.

This tool can be a game-changer for small businesses. Instead of having to dial into your voicemail every time you need to check calls, your system can automatically turn the messages into audio files that are emailed to you. That way you quickly review messages as they come in and respond quickly to the important ones.


  1. Maximize your VoIP features.

VoIP lets users tailor their telecommunication systems to their current needs and scale the platform as the business grows. “Basically, small businesses can get everything they could ever imagine— setting up an auto attendant, voicemail, email, text messages—at a very affordable price,” Singleton says.


Beyond the cost savings, integrating your internet and phone has other advantages. For example, you can turn the phone number listed on your website into a hot link that will dial the phone directly from the web page. Customers can connect without having to pick up a phone. And you can connect with customers and manage your system from anywhere using any device.


“Telecommunication channels are broadening, and the ways that people want to interact with you are changing,” Singleton says. “You need to make it easy for customers to connect across all platforms.”


Spectrum Business Phone includes more than 35 advanced business calling features for just $19.99 a month. To learn more, contact us at 855-299-9353.


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