Consider customer experience when implementing a business phone system

Providing an experience that makes customers want to return requires considering all points through which customers interact with a business. A recent Customer Think blog post by revenue coach Kristin Zhivago explained that ensuring this type of positive multi-channel experience should be the top pr

Providing an experience that makes customers want to return requires considering all points through which customers interact with a business. A recent Customer Think blog post by revenue coach Kristin Zhivago explained that ensuring this type of positive multi-channel experience should be the top priority for all companies in 2013 and that implementation begins with the business phone system.

Most people calling a company in 2013 will only do so after looking online and being unable to find an answer, Zhivago noted. As a result, they most likely will want to interact with a real person who is friendly, helpful and able to point the caller in the right direction. Rather than directing customers back to the website or sending their queries to voicemail, companies should use tools that offer customers a satisfying experience. To achieve this goal, decision makers must think about the business from the perspectives of both customers and customer-facing employees, as these groups have the best insight into what systems are working and where shortcomings exist.

"Whatever the specifics - and it is different for every company - company managers are not in sync with what their customers are thinking, what their customers want to do, and what their customers want them to do," Zhivago wrote.

The customer experience value of VoIP
In a recent interview with Smart Business Columbus, VoIP expert Alex Desberg agreed that decision makers do not always consider the complete picture of the customer experience when choosing technology such as a telephone system. He gave the example of one company he had worked with, in which customers calling on a second line would get a busy signal. Although the receptionist knew about this problem, nobody at the management level was aware of it because they had not thought to ask the receptionist for input.

While finances and other considerations often factor into executive meetings, operational factors such as the phone system are often ignored despite the important role they play, Desberg said. Problems are often handled as they arise, resulting in a patchwork of communications solutions. By considering the role of communication in the business, managers can choose a streamlined solution such as a hosted PBX that fits customer needs.

"A phone system must be a conduit of communication," Desberg said. "It should be designed to deliver the customer to the solution they need … Whether it is a retail customer, a professional services company or a manufacturer, the idea is there should be one-call closure. Hosted phone systems have the ability to deliver the customer to directly what they need, if engineered properly."