With so much evolution in the marketplace, small businesses need the ability to be flexible and agile. That’s challenging to do when you have limitations because of a legacy landline phone system. Given today’s business climate, it’s fair to ask whether a modern phone system that works with business phone apps is a better choice.
To that end, we’ll describe how business phone apps work and review their benefits. We’ll also check how to find the right business phone system, how to evaluate business apps, and how business apps bring all the right solutions together to assist your efforts in improving customer experience.
The Benefits of Using a Business Phone App
If a crisis occurs or there is a sudden need for your products or services on a large scale, would your phone system and other business tools allow you to immediately respond? If you have to think about it, it’s worth considering the benefits of using a business phone app.
The reality is that legacy phone systems can’t add numerous phone lines to your business without a lot of extra time and expense. Such an undertaking also involves substantial time and effort on your IT support staff. By contrast, a cloud-based phone system and relevant business apps allow you to manage business communication with your customers on a large scale and with less cost than a traditional PBX phone system.
This list highlights the benefits of using a business phone app:
- A business phone system allows you to stay connected to your customers and your teams.
- Business apps give you the flexibility to use a virtual phone system where sales and support agents work remotely and still have access to customer data, and remain in touch with peers and managers.
- Business phone systems use VoIP technology, which means sales and support agents can access business apps on an iOS or Android mobile device when it’s not feasible to use a desktop.
- Employees aren’t limited to using the business tools during regular business hours. All they need to do is log in to the app.
- With a cloud phone system, you can set up your own business phone numbers. Customers won’t know where sales and support reps are. They’ll just know they’re calling your business’ main local phone line. You can also set up vanity numbers that are easy to remember.
- Phone numbers aren’t attached to a set of hard phones, which means sales and support reps can work outside your facility as needed.
What Is a Business Phone App?
A business phone app is a broad term that encompasses different types of business software programs. In all cases, business phone apps are designed to carry out specific tasks for small businesses.
For example, apps that are built for mobile platforms are mobile apps. Enterprise software includes software programs that carry out tasks and activities that address the company’s processes and workflows across multiple departments. Enterprise software keeps employees connected with customers and with each other when they use various facilities.
CRM software is an example of enterprise software. Smaller organizations often leverage departmental software to meet the needs of specific departments. Accounting software and help desk software are examples of departmental software. An app bundle or app suite refers to a suite of products, and a good example of this is Microsoft Office with products like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.
For a call center, the end-users are sales and support agents.
11 Benefits of Choosing the Right Business Phone System
There are hundreds of business phone systems to choose from. It only makes sense to use the one that helps you serve customers better and grow revenue. To demonstrate the value of selecting the right business phone system, take a look at the following 11 benefits of choosing the right business phone system:
- It lets you have a completely unified communication system.
- It automatically improves efficiency in your call center as you implement time-saving tools that streamline processes, shorten sales cycles, and eliminate time-wasters and manual processes.
- Incorporating the right business tools lets sales and support agents respond professionally to your customers and further improve your brand’s reputation.
- By implementing a modern phone system, it gives your business a local presence anywhere in the world with toll-free numbers and international phone numbers.
- You’ll never miss a customer call with a modern business phone system. In addition to voicemail transcription, you get additional voice calling features like call queueing, queue callback, time-based routing, call forwarding, and an auto-attendant (IVR).
- Many business apps leverage automation to streamline workflows. A business phone app can automatically transfer incoming calls and sync information between apps.
- You’ll have the flexibility to add and delete features with ease as your needs change. You’re not tied into anything long-term that doesn’t work for your business.
- You can scale your call center’s needs at a moment’s notice if these change without any hassle.
- A modern phone system gives your sales and support agents the flexibility to log into business apps from any location where they can access the internet.
- Your sales and support agents will be more productive and the call center analytics will provide you with data to evaluate them objectively.
- Your sales and support reps will provide better service, that will translate into a better customer experience.
How to Evaluate Business Phone Apps
When you’re shopping around for anything for your business, you want the best. The business phone apps you choose need to work well and they need to suit your purpose. What makes for the best phone app?
Zapier, an automation software vendor, offers some great tips on how to evaluate business phone apps:
- Remain business-focused – Use what you have and look for new business apps when the current ones are no longer doing the job.
- Analyze and determine what you need – Avoid grabbing the latest tool just because you can. If it doesn’t serve a meaningful purpose for your company, you don’t need it.
- Research your options – Ask competitors what they use. Read up on your options and take your time to be sure you have the right fit.
- Don’t be overly thrifty – Investing in business phone apps will impact your budget, but bear in mind that the right one will pay off over time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Vendors love talking about their products. No question is dumb if you don’t know the answer, so write a list, and put it all out there.
- Customize your tools to the max – Businesses are often the ones that find new ways to use tools. Don’t be afraid to customize and experiment.
- Leverage the power of integrations – There’s no limit to the number of apps you can use as long as they work together, so make the most of it.
- Train employees to use them – Get everyone on board with using to so they can also see its value.
9 Reasons to Tell If Your Phone App is Failing Your Business
Business phone apps offer a wide variety of features and functions. For that reason, it’s common for small business owners to use multiple business solutions and ensure that they’re integrated and working properly together. Even when apps work as they were intended to work, they could still be failing your business.
To be sure you’re getting the most from your phone apps, review this list of reasons they could be letting you down:
- Failure to do a business analysis to see what you really need.
- The software company is inexperienced in understanding how to develop truly useful tools.
- Implementing software that’s beyond the users’ understanding.
- Failing to be on the same page with an expected outcome and whether it serves the intended purpose.
- Failing to assign accountability for ensuring the app gets installed, works as it should, and employees are using it.
- Not having developers on staff that fully understand how integrations work.
- Holding onto apps that you like that don’t work well with other apps and aren’t likely to be updated in the future.
- The IT department is resistant to using apps they’re not familiar with and won’t accept help from a third party.
- Analysis paralysis. Techs analyze apps and never get around to getting them started.
How the Right Business Phone System Improves the Customer Experience
Have you set a goal to improve the customer experience? The right business phone system positions you to do just that. Here’s how:
- It eliminates long wait times for customers.
- Forward phone calls to a sales or support agent’s cell phone if they’re out of the office.
- Send calls to email addresses where sales and support agents will see them quickly.
- Sales and support agents can have their own virtual phone numbers so customers can reach them directly without using their personal numbers.
- Set up local business numbers even if sales and support agents are working far away.
- Customers can choose their destination due to automatic call routing and an IVR system.
- Better personalize calls through your CRM and other tools by tracking the customer’s history.
- Provide better and faster service to your customers by scaling your call center based on data-driven decisions.
- Helps you understand your customers better and create an emotional connection with them.
- Capture customer feedback immediately.
10 Tips to Improve Performance With the Right App
- Use data and reporting software to measure performance objectively and set individual and team goals.
- Track call center activity including average call length, number of calls, average speed of answer, average wait times, conversion rate, customer satisfaction, and anything else that connects to your business goals.
- Use a phone system that offers click-to-dial and power dialing features to make calls faster.
- Leverage insight cards to handle business calls with greater context and resolve problems faster.
- Add a business tool for sending automated surveys to get feedback from customers and share it with sales and support agents.
- Use voice calling features like call recording and call whispering for coaching purposes.
- Use transcription to quickly analyze calls and get actionable insights about agent performance.
- Train agents how to use multiple channels including SMS text messaging to communicate with customers.
- Leverage sales automation tools to move leads through the sales funnel to faster closings.
- Train sales and support agents on using voice calling features like warm transfer and call commenting and assignment to improve collaboration.
Considering all the benefits of a business phone app, it’s time to consider a phone system upgrade. With Aircall, you get significantly more than caller ID and basic voice calling features. You get a wide variety of voice features and the ability to develop a complete unified communications system with every functionality you can imagine. The right business phone app will transform “business as usual” to “business is awesome”!