When small businesses are just getting started, customer communication is often overlooked in favour of product development. Yet customers are just as important at the beginning of business development as they are when operations are in full swing.
You can, and should, focus on products and customers at the same time. Focusing on products, of course, is necessary for the assurance that your goods and services will work well for anyone who uses them.
After your products have been established, your focus on customer service through education and troubleshooting lets individuals know you care about their interaction with your company.
It’s not difficult to make customer communication a priority. A basic chatbot on your website can offer a quick lifeline for product information and educational content. Then supplementing that online presence with an introductory phone plan will facilitate voice calls for more detailed interactions – all without breaking your budget.
At VirtualPBX, we’ve written about the reality that a majority of business-to-customer interactions will take place without a human intermediary. Think about the calls you make to your bank that are completed entirely through an automated system. And consider the online chat services that provide you with information about a product or service.
What you often find with chatbots is the ability to use them for free or at least at low cost. This lets you try them out without a substantial commitment. What do you get in return as these chat programs run on your website?
The biggest benefit of chatbots is that they help you build a base of customer interaction possibilities. You set them up and they work around the clock. Customers can ask them questions about your products and never have to wait on hold. Chatbots work without tiring and are as knowledgeable as the information you supply them with.
Believe it or not, you can also get started with a phone plan for only a few dollars a month.
This isn’t the place to plug our own voice products. However, we can say from 20 years of experience that the VoIP communications industry has become affordable for any type of business that wants a voice plan.
Picking up a VoIP plan can be completed in just a few minutes. You can complete the order form and pay online – all without having to speak to a person! – and begin making calls through a mobile app or browser-based app in fewer than fifteen minutes.
Calls through VoIP networks can be completed on your home WiFi network or the mobile data you already have on your smartphone. Calls are as clear as native mobile calling, and any interaction you have with customers through your VoIP plan will be shown as taking place with your business phone number.
This can be a great way to establish your business as a professional entity. It looks much more professional to have business cards with your business phone number on them. It sounds professional to inbound callers when they hear your automated attendant or reach your business voicemail.
The separation of your personal information from your business is a big step. With a VoIP plan, you gain the benefits of a professional phone system, and perhaps most importantly, you can supplement your website and chatbot with personal interaction for customers.
As an entrepreneur or single owner-operator of a small business, you may want to test the waters by initially using your VoIP plan to speak to investors or high-value contacts.
After getting your feet wet, you can expand by giving customers a number to call when they need technical product assistance. At this point, you may have added a second employee specifically for managing customer issues.
Your continued growth can depend on the VoIP plan to be available no matter your business size. Plans are easily extendable to include a higher number of included calling minutes, or in the case of larger businesses with unlimited-minute plans, extendable through features like Call Recording or CRM Integration.
Those types of enterprise-level features might not be necessary at your organization for months or years. Don’t worry. For now, focus on the level you’re at with your own business.
Take a few minutes today to research a chatbot, and prime it with all the help information your website has to offer. Then think about adding a VoIP plan to your arsenal.
There are numerous benefits in both that will fuel your customer communication in ways you’ll be thankful for when you think back to your humble beginnings.
Author Bio: This guest post was written by VirtualPBX, developer of a VoIP Business Phone System and presence in the telecommunications industry for more than 20 years.