A Case Study In The Efficiency of Small Business Telephone Systems

By Saturday, May 28, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

Historically, small businesses within the UK have received bad value deals from hardware providers in the telecommunications industry. Expensive and limited business telephone systems are sometimes beyond your smaller to medium sized businesses, and have left many having to work with a single landline or mobile telephone number. Hosted telephony products and applications have revolutionised call-handling for small organisations, offering the same features as full PBX systems used by much larger firms. Network Telecom have put together a case study to highlight the benefits of a hosted telephone system:

Ferris Plumbing, owned and ran by Craig Ferris. Craig’s partner, Katie is able to handle some of the business calls received, but with children at school during normal working hours, it’s not always possible to handle these calls. With Craig out and about attending to urgent customer needs, he doesn’t have the time or resource to be able to handle any new business requests that come through via the telephone. He also needs to publish a contact number prominently in the Yellow Pages (print and online versions) since this is how he generates new business. However, using his mobile number presents a number of problems:

  • He doesn’t wish to carry two mobile phones and he’s reluctant to give his personal number to customers or publish it in telephone directories.
  • Craig is keen to expand his business and he believes that using a mobile number on his vehicle, advertisements and cards does not create the impression he’d like for the firm;
  • Unless he published his home telephone number and Katie was always available to take calls, Craig is only able to handle one call at a time. Consequently, he has lost customers to competitors.
  • Craig often receives calls to his mobile out of hours. Sometimes these are urgent but more often than not, callers in the evening are simply after a quotation for new central heating installations – something in which Craig specialises. He has no way of knowing until he answers the call and often he’s obliged to spend too long dealing with new enquiries at inappropriate times.

Network Telecom solved Craig’s problems by providing a Freephone 0800 number which automatically and intelligently routes calls to his landline and mobile number according to the time of day. Craig was quickly able to configure call management to suit his day to day needs. He set up an IVR menu with a professionally recorded voice prompt which operates on a Time of Day Routing Plan as follows:

  • By forcing the CLI to present Craig’s 0800 number, Craig knows that it is a business call and not a friend or relative, before he picks up (whether he receives it on his landline or his mobile).

  • All calls to Craig’s 0800 number are answered instantly with a professional announcement: “Thank you for calling FERRIS Plumbing. If your call is urgent, please press 1. For new central heating installations, press 2 and for all other enquiries, please press 3 or hold. Your call will be answered momentarily.”

  • Pressing 1 routes to a “Hunt Group”. This delivers calls simultaneously to Craig’s mobile number and his landline. He can pick up whichever he’s closest to at the time. Should he be unable to answer either, the caller is routed to a voice mailbox. Craig had a special prompt recorded for his urgent callers to assure them that they would receive a swift response. Any messages left for Craig are emailed to him instantly. He also receives an SMS message alerting him to the new voicemail. If Craig is by his computer he can play the audio file, if not, he can dial in to listen to the message.

  • Pressing 2 delivers calls only to Craig’s landline (not his mobile number). If he’s by the phone and able to take a call, he picks up. If not, the caller hears another custom message thanking for them enquiring about Craig’s central heating installation service; asking them to leave a brief message and confirming that Craig will contact them shortly. Craig then receives an email with the voicemail message. The email displays the caller’s number, making it easy for Craig to return the call, should the caller forget to leave their number.

  • Pressing 3 delivers calls to Katie’s mobile number. If Katie is unable to answer, the caller is routed to a mailbox with a general greeting.

  • If the caller presses no button, calls are delivered as per option 3.

  • All calls to Craig’s 0800 number are answered instantly, but the message is slightly different from the daytime prompt: “Thank you for calling FERRIS Plumbing. If your call is of a general nature, please call back between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or press 1 to leave a message. If you require our services urgently, please press 2.”

  • Pressing 2 delivers calls to a special Hunt Group in which Craig has included all possible destination numbers. His landline and mobile number and Katie’s mobile are all called simultaneously.

Craig is able to change the way his calls are answered easily and instantly. His 0800 number and intelligent call management have proved invaluable for many other reasons:

  • Having an 0800 number allows Craig to move house, change his mobile service provider (and partner!) without changing the all-important contact number for FERRIS Plumbing. He can update the destination numbers as frequently as he likes.

  • Craig chose a memorable number for his business which makes it easier for those who see his van passing on the motorway to remember Craig’s number until they’re able to call him.

  • Craig’s business is growing quickly. He understands that he won’t always be able to answer calls, but he also knows that he can continue to use his 0800 number even if he ends up sending calls to a forty-seat call centre.

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