Hold the phone! Actually, it’s for you: the phone, that is. What I am trying to say is that you shouldn’t get rid of the business phone just yet. It is still the right tool for you. Your business absolutely needs it.
Many have made the mistake of writing the eulogy for the lowly telephone a little too soon. People say things to the effect that the least used feature on their smartphone is the phone. Companies have demoted the phone to just another unloved app on the mobile computing device.
But businesses cannot afford to take that attitude. Even small businesses need phones. Failure to integrate the telephone into your business can have dire consequences. Here is why the telephone is still one of the most valuable pieces of technology you have:
It Makes You Look Professional
If people do not know you, and are not already sold on your skill and professionalism, they will have to rely on certain cues to clue them in on whether or not it is worth it to inquire about your services. Dress in something other than a suit and tie, and you might find your client list quite a bit shorter than you anticipated.
Wearing a t-shirt, a backwards baseball cap, flip-flops, and a backpack may be comfortable and practical. But it is certainly not professional. Regardless of your skills, most people will give you a pass.
The same thing applies to having a telephone. Some people still use the Yellow Pages to find a business. Others rely on the Internet and search engines. However they do it, if you do not have a phone number listed in some type of business lookup, they will move on to someone who does. According to Elitetele, one of the providers of business telephone systems:
A commercial phone system instantly makes your business appear more professional, by combining call features such as IVR or call recording, you are able to enhance the call journey even more for your customers.
You wouldn’t hire a plumber that you couldn’t talk to on the phone. People will feel the same way about you.
It Provides Your Customers Direct Access
Have you ever tried to resolve a customer service issue without the phone being involved? It is twice as stressful as it needs to be for the customer. Even if the problem is eventually resolved, they will not feel like they were well cared for.
For starters, they have no idea if their request is getting to a real person. Filling out a web form is no guarantee that anyone will address the concern. Even if they do, there is no telling when anyone will read your missive. What If you didn’t ask the question in a way they could understand? Now, you have to count on them getting back to you for further clarification.
The entire process is unnecessarily stress inducing. Mostly, what a person with a problem wants is to feel like they have been heard. Without that direct connection, they will never have that assurance. The lack of a business phone number makes people feel like you are too broke to afford one, or that you don’t want to interact directly with your customers.
It Speeds Up the Resolution Process
From your customer’s perspective, there is nothing faster than dealing with a support issue over the phone. Not everyone types for a living. It can be extremely difficult to have a highly technical conversation over the internet using only a keyboard. It is even harder if all they have is a smartphone.
The easiest thing for consumers to do is just tell someone about the problem they are having. They can answer questions in real-time, try solutions in real-time, get the problem resolved in real-time. Forcing a person to wait for a day for a response to a simple tech question is disrespectful of their time.
There are plenty of reasons why the phone is still a very powerful business tool for professionals. When it comes to looking professional, direct communication, and fast resolutions, phoning it in is a very good thing.