It’s exciting when your business grows and you start to hire more staff—even though the logistics of it all can sometimes be a bit of a headache.
One way to help ease that headache is to plan ahead and select a telecommunications solution that will be able to keep up with the growth and help to improve your productivity (rather than slow it down).
The good news is that there are some great virtual solutions available today that are affordable and flexible, and will grow with you as your business grows.
Live Answering/Virtual Receptionist
Live answering services are not just for sole traders and small businesses. As your business grows, you can upgrade to plans that are deisgned for businesses that employ multiple people and have multiple departments.
With a live answering service, your business calls are answered 24/7 (including public holidays). Australian-based operators greet callers using your company name, and can either take a message or connect calls through to you or any of your employees. Messages are forwarded immediately via email, SMS and web portal to ensure you never miss an important call.
A live answering service that takes messages for multiple employees or departments starts at just $39 a month, and a call connection service starts at just $49 a month, which makes them a lot more affordable than hiring a receptionist! And it’s fast and easy to add new employees to an existing answering service as your business grows.
You can route your 1300 numbers and 1800 numbers to live answering outside of regular office hours and at times when your number is busy or not answering. Or you can select to have ALL calls go through to your virtual receptionist if that suits your business better. You can also redirect home, office and mobile numbers to the live answering service.
This is a very affordable and efficient way to add a “virtual” member to your team and ensure that customers’ calls are answered quickly and professionally.
Call Forwarding IVR Menus
These are those “For Sales, Press 1; For Support, Press 2″ menus you get when phoning many larger companies.
With an IVR menu, your customers will get to the person they want to talk to faster and you’ll get some great features thrown in.
One of the biggest benefits of Alltel’s IVR service is that you can point extensions to any landline or mobile phone. That means that you don’t all have to be working in the same physical office to be able to connect a call to someone.
This is all seamless to the caller. When they press 4 to speak to Accounts, they never need to know that Sue is answering the call in her home office, or that 1 for Sales gets them through to Ron who is in his car on the way to a client site.
You can also provide an option to speak to an operator, and direct callers to your live answering service.
You can change the menu selections at any time as your needs change. And for just $15 a month, this service is ideal for a growing business.
Fax2Email and Voice2Email
As the names suggest, Fax2Email and Voice2Email services allow you to receive faxes and voicemails directly through your email. (There is also an Email2Fax service that allows you to send faxes directly via email.)
These services provide two main benefits:
- Save time: receive your messages immediately, with no need to be in the office to receive faxes or to dial in to check voicemail when you’re out of the office
- Save money: no need to purchase a physical fax machine and pay for its running costs
These services are ideal for businesses where people are often out of the office (e.g. working off site or visiting clients). You can receive your faxes and voicemail messages from anywhere that you have email access (including using your smartphone). Receive immediate notification whenever there is a fax or voicemail waiting to ensure that you can respond to all messages in a timely manner.
And for just $9.50 per month (per service), this is another affordable way to help improve your communications and increase efficiencies.
1300 Numbers and 1800 Numbers
Because these are virtual numbers that aren’t tied to any physical landlines or mobile phone, they can move with you as your business grows and moves to larger premises, so you can keep the same number for the life of your business.
And if you open an office in another state, you can use state-based routing to route calls depending on the location of the caller (e.g. all calls from Victoria go to your Melbourne office and all calls from NSW go to your Sydney office).
As your business grows, you’ll probably find you also start to make more use of the built-in reporting these numbers provide. This gives you information about all callers including the number of calls answered (and missed) the locations of callers, and the date, time and length of individual calls. This information is useful for things like measuring the success of marketing campaigns.
With plans starting from just $14 a month (which includes state-based routing), these numbers are an affordable and useful (and some would say, essential) tool for businesses of all sizes.
But Wait! There’s More!
Alltel can also help you with things like ISDN landlines (which are cheaper than standard PSTN for multiple employees), business VoIP and hosted PBX systems. Give us a call today on 1300 ALLTEL (1300 255 835) to find out how we can help your growing business to stay connected and productive.