I can never overestimate the importance of reliable phone service for a business — both from a consumer & internal organizational perspective. My experience as a marketing expert has taught me not to. Effective communication, within a business setting, entirely depends on a dedicated telephonic link. I remember a time before my own company signed onto the Spectrum phone service. ‘It was chaos!’ as one of my colleagues put it.
Working without a Phone Line: The Horrors
Company departments couldn’t connect with one another. And customers couldn’t reach out to our sales persons. You can well imagine how the situation impacted our revenue streams. Profits were down, and overhead costs were creeping up to meet them at the breakeven point – where you don’t have enough money to continue forward.
This issue became significantly heightened when our internet link also collapsed. Yes, this still happens in today’s America. When we had to resort to the old school technique of peering over our office cubicles. And try to make conversation with our equally frustrated peers.
I still remember all the pointless arguments that ensued in those days.
A past I never want to revisit. Not as long as I’m affiliated with the business world.
On one occasion, one of our clients in South Korea wanted an appraisal report. And even though we had compiled it in record time, we couldn’t reach out to him. Hurricane Katrina was largely to blame. Because it had crushed all telephone and cable poles into a pile of woods that littered our neighborhood. So there was no way of communicating with him.
This failure resulted in our losing out on a million dollar contract deal. Which, if you didn’t guess already, went to a competitor.
All because our phone lines weren’t working.
Six Reasons Why a Phone Service is an Important Business Factor
In this section, I’ll list six reasons why a phone service is a crucial business factor. At the end of this reading, you’ll further empathize with my point of view.
These pointers go as follows:
- A Main (Formal) Line of Internal/External Communication
- Backup for when the Internet is Down
- For Sales Outreach (Customer Calling & Phone Marketing)
- For Receiving Customer Complaints/Feedback
- For Conducting Surveys
- For Communicating ‘Off Season’ Promotions
I’ve elaborated on each of these factors briefly below.
Formal Line of Communication
Businesses have used telephones since the late 40s to connect with their customers. The entire generations of baby boomers, Gen Xers, and even millennials, can relate. This historical usage has caused a psychological attachment to form.
And this bond is not light! Or willing to break.
So most businesses today prefer to take the easy route and invest in phone lines.
And whenever they need to engage in some kind of formal correspondence, they call.
The internet is still seen in an informal light by many business leaders.
Skype and VoIP services considered too intrusive by elderly customers.
Backup for When the Net is down
Businesses use the internet for a variety of reasons. Most of these have to do with communication. Both inside the company, and outside.
They exchange emails and instant messages through official software applications. The kinds that only work within their premises.
They manage their workflow on content management systems (CMS) on it. Along with evaluating the performance of their employees.
And they conduct R&D sessions on it. Because they need to remain abreast of any market developments. As well as any product/service innovations within their concerned field.
But when the net is down, they fall back into the ‘old school’ communication habit.
This is when they’re totally dependent on their phone connections.
For Sales Outreach
As mentioned, businesses still need to conduct their sales outreach sessions through the phone. Customers (whether old or new) are comfortable with this method.
And what’s more, they’re more often willing to listen to what the marketing agency has to say.
The same does not necessarily hold true for purely online methods.
Receiving Customer Complaints/Feedback
Most customers continue to issue complaints by phone. A minority believes in writing them down in elaborate messages. Because this takes time and greater effort.
Sometimes, consumers are only interested in giving feedback. They may be called to do this. Or they may want to express it of their own accord. And sometimes, though this is less frequent, they may have good feedback to share.
But as a marketer, you shouldn’t expect too much of this latter category.
Because customers, in my general experience, normally tend to complain more! Even if their criticisms aren’t always warranted.
Sometimes, businesses want to conduct quick surveys. They want to know, directly, what appeals to their customers. And what not. In this effort, they can’t normally rely on emails. Because they take ‘forever’ (in a business sense) to come back with a response.
In such cases, phone conversations are the businesses’ best bet.
Many phone companies provide heavy bulk discounts to their business clients.
So making surveys by phone may also be a cheaper alternative.
Communicating ‘Off Season’ Promotions
Almost every year, businesses launch many ‘offseason’ promotions. These are not part of their standard discount offer catalog. And when they do, they want their customers to know about them. So as to maximize their sales.
A quality phone service, again, comes in very handy on this front. My own company has progressed onto a Spectrum bundle subscription for this very purpose. Because as part of our new outreach strategy, we need to rely on both internet & phone connections. And bearing the expense is well worth the effort. Just last year, I personally made a record number of sales through off-season promotions. Singlehandedly.