The broad reach of the internet means that you can run a small business from anywhere and easily reach customers outside of your town or even your country. Although you can certainly connect with current or potential customers through options like email or a live chat feature, letting people contact you by phone is still essential in this day and age.
Phone Communications Offer Familiarity and Trust
Even though many people have become accustomed to talking to others via text and email, those things do not replace the ability to hear someone’s voice on the other end of the line. Voice communications convey many things that the words on a screen cannot. For example, someone’s tone or volume can give clues about their emotional state. If someone pauses before answering or stops before completing something they’ve said, those things may indicate hesitancy.
Many people feel most comfortable using the methods that they know best. Many people who have used email and text messages to communicate for years will probably realize they started using the telephone much earlier than those other options. Perhaps that’s why one survey found that 60% of people preferred to call small businesses on the phone.
Having a phone number can also give the impression of professionalism. If someone looks for your company’s phone number and cannot find one, they may wonder if you set your operations up overnight, and worry that the business could disappear just as quickly.
Fortunately, you can use your existing internet access to run a business phone system. That option removes the potential hassles and limitations of having a physical phone line connected to one location. Using an internet-based phone service lets people reach you by dialing a number, but the way the system works allows you to do work from anywhere.
The Telephone Helps You Gauge Customer Feelings
Communicating with your customers by phone also presents opportunities for you to learn what people think about your company or what they believe you could do better. That’s because it typically creates more chances for you to discuss things that could help you improve your business. Consider the example where you run an e-commerce company that sells pet supplies. Perhaps a customer initially called you because they wanted to know when you’ll get another order of a certain dog food.
After answering that question, you might ask another by making a smooth transition. You could say “I see that you’ve been a customer of ours for a year, but have only placed two orders within that period. Is there anything we could do to encourage you to order from us more frequently?”
At that point, the person on the other end of the phone might confess to you that they love the customer service you offer, but they don’t like how your company does not offer an automatic reordering feature. You could note that feedback in your system, then take it into consideration when deciding how to grow your business and get more customers interested.
It’s often difficult to build up the level of trust that makes customers go into more detail about how they feel if they are just looking at your words on a screen. When talking to you on the phone, they can hear things like your warm tone and the sincerity of your statements. Services like those offered under the Ooma small business umbrella get you set up to communicate with customers on the phone and even have video meetings to bridge the gap between you and potential clients.
The ideas expressed here should give you some valuable food for thought as you decide whether to have a phone number and system associated with your company. As you research more and decide what’s right for you, you’ll more than likely discover that business phone services are still valid and necessary today. Even better, they’re readily available, making them ideal for a busy business owner that does not want to deal with frustrating delays.