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Best Practices Phone Handling Processes for Small Businesses

Christine O'Kelly
Jun 2, 2008
Effective phone handling processes help to ensure a company has a professional image. The productivity of an office can be significantly increased by utilizing effective procedures for managing telephone calls. Using small business PBX systems for incoming and outgoing calls requires an effective process in order to avoid problems such as losing important calls and transferring telephone calls to the wrong person.

Let's take a look at ways to improve the handling of incoming and outgoing business calls and how SMBs are using small business PBX systems to portray a more professional, seamless client experience.

Managing Incoming Call Volume

The typical small business often spends a great deal more time than they realize attempting to answer calls, return calls, transfer calls, check messages, etc. Without the help of intuitive small business PBX systems, employees often try to juggle the process by keeping notes regarding the times of day the people they frequently call are available, writing paper notes or sending emails to return calls, or asking the caller to hang up and try their party's direct line.

Not only does the process feel 'choppy' to the client, but also trying to juggle the call load can become quite confusing! Even if employees and associates set regular phone hours, they are often on other calls or away from their desks throughout the day. Advanced small business PBX systems include software that allows a receptionist to see on a computer screen whether or not a line is busy. The receptionist can then ask the caller if he or she would like to hold or be transferred to voice mail.

If a caller does leave a message, some of the more advanced small business PBX systems will even send the recipient and email with an audio file attached that can be opened and listened to online. Busy executives often don't have the time to call in and check voicemail. Opening an audio file from email is not only fast, but the email itself becomes a 'to do' item that must be handled like other emails.

Ensuring Consistency on Outgoing Calls

Since phone and email are the primary ways in which most small businesses interact with their customers, having a process that looks and feels professional is critical. One of the first things to consider when making outgoing calls is the caller ID message.

Just about everyone has caller ID now. Home based businesses making calls from home office often use their home phone service to make calls. Consider the way these calls appear when they reach the customer. Do you want them to see your name, or your company's name? If you prefer that your company name appear on caller ID, it's a good idea to open another phone line in your business name.

However, many small businesses today rely on remote employees to interface with clients. Though you may have a business line with your company's name on caller ID in your home, remote employees won't. When a client receives calls from numerous different caller IDs, it can give the impression of a somewhat disjointed operation.

One way to solve this problem is by using small business PBX systems that can be set up in multiple locations, but are tied to a single account. This way, a remote employee in New York who is 3,000 miles away from your California office can have a small business PBX phone systems unit placed in his or her home that makes calls through your network. When the call is made, the caller ID will show your company name. From the client's perspective any calls received using small business PBX systems in your network may as well be coming from a single location.

A More Professional Look Sets You Apart From the Competition

Most small business owners don't realize how affordable high quality small business PBX phone systems can be - and that's great news for the growing business. Many of your competitors may be portraying an unprofessional image simply because they don't realize how easy it is to do so.

Small businesses can incorporate small business PBX systems starting at around $1000. Though this may have a higher up-front cost than just opening a business phone line, you'll save money for years to come by choosing small business PBX systems that utilize VOIP technology that virtually eliminate costly phone company fees and long distance charges.

To improve productivity in the office and create a professional business image, utilizing best practices while handling telephone calls for large corporations and companies with small business PBX systems is vital.
About the Author
Christine O'Kelly is an Author for Best Deal Allworx, a leading provider of Allworx small business phone systems and small business PBX systems.
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