by Ambarish Gupta, CEO and founder of Knowlarity Communications
If the business world was a steep cliff and entrepreneurs were rock climbers trying to get to the top, think of modern technologies as the footholds they would use to boost themselves higher and higher. This analogy is particularly relevant to startups and SMEs, where the decision to adopt a certain technological product or service, could make all the difference between climbing higher than the competition or lagging behind.
The startup culture is rampant today, especially in emerging national economies like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. From job search engines, to cab companies, to food delivery services, many of these businesses are growing fast and gaining popularity. What clearly differentiates some of them is how they use technology to get ahead and to expand their scope of business beyond boundaries.
Whether you are a tech-savvy business owner or a startup founder with limited knowhow, technology is your friend and often your guide to success. The good news is, there are highly advantageous technologies that are extremely easy to implement, simple to use, highly scalable and very affordable. Cloud telephony services fall into this category.
What is cloud telephony?
In a nutshell, cloud telephony is all your required voice and SMS services managed in the cloud. These services are more cost-effective than regular telecom services and do not require implementation of physical infrastructure. Cloud telephony also can easily scale in proportion to your growing business, to handle more customers quickly and efficiently.
Here are 5 ways that cloud telephony can positively impact small businesses.
Never miss another customer call
If you operate from a single phone line, you could lose leads, as potential customers who hear a busy tone may call a competitor instead. Instead, you could implement an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system via your cloud telephony service provider with just a few clicks, and ensure you never miss another call.
The IVR, answers all callers, greets them politely, and gives them a menu of pre-programmed options to choose from. A caller could then leave a voicemail with a number for you to call back, opt to hear recorded information such as store timings, or wait to speak directly with you or an agent. Customers will be happy to get through to you, and you can rest assured that you won’t lose any business.
Provide better customer service
News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. Here are some ways that cloud telephony helps you ensure a more positive customer service experience.
- Implement a toll-free number from your cloud telephony provider and more customers will be willing to call in.
- If you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, you can easily integrate it with your cloud telephony system. Having all your customer details and call history in one place allows you to tailor your conversation to suit a caller’s needs.
- Implement call recording and improve your customer interactions, by listening to the recorded conversations later.
- Provide important updates via voice recorded messages or SMS, to keep customers informed when required.
Find out which promotions offer the best returns
Your cloud telephony provider can help you link a different virtual number to each online and offline marketing campaign you run. Virtual numbers when called are automatically directed to you business phone line and tracked. After a while, you can see which virtual number is being called the most. If the marketing campaign linked to that number is doing well, you can pump more of your marketing budget into it.
Communicate quickly and affordably with partners and employees
If your cloud telephony services provider has a call conferencing service, you can use it to affordably and securely connect internally with employees, or externally with business partners, without using the Internet. Some services are even free.
Promote your business en masse
If there’s a special offer or sale that you want like to tell customers about, check if your cloud telephony service provider supports the sending of bulk SMS messages and voice calls. You can then program your system to send out a voice recorded message or a text message, to many receivers at the same time.
Across the world, technology is changing the way businesses operate – from making business faster and more efficient, to ensuring convenience for customers and gaining customers from around the world. If you are a business owner who is thinking of using technology to ramp up, you can start small and affordably by following the five points listed above.
Ambarish Gupta is the CEO and Founder of Gurgaon-based cloud telephony startup Knowlarity Communications. A graduate in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Ambarish also holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. A technocrat at heart, he believes technology holds much potential for changing how the world does business.