How tech communication solutions helped two small companies

SmallBusiness.co.uk looks at how two businesses took on tech solutions that enabled them to manage their operations in a more efficient way.


When Kate Bendix first started her pet products business My Itchy Dog, she was running it out of her own home. To make sure that house calls were not confused with her incoming business calls, she set up a dedicated second line at home with Vonage. Soon enough though, the orders were piling in and Bendix decided to move to a congenial workspace that she now shares with other business owners.

At first the workspace was reluctant and did not allow for Bendix to use her Vonage box; connecting to the main Ethernet hub in a shared space is not always easy. She had no choice but to give up the service and opted for a combination of a 0845 number, Voipfone and her mobile. As a result, the 0845 number put customers off, and the Voipfone solution had terrible reception meaning she resorted to her mobile phone most of the time. Telephony costs were simply getting out of control.

After some further discussions with her congenial workspace counterparts, Kate was able to go back to using Vonage by showing them how simple the setup was and how it would not interfere with their own business. She now is able to take calls when in the office or, if she needs to step out for meetings, Bendix can have her Vonage calls forwarded to her mobile. Also, prospective customers are not put off by having an 0845 number on the website.

Bendix says she never has to miss a phone call so has not missed out on any business. She adds, ‘The service is seamless whether in the office or using my mobile.’ Since adopting the internet telephony, Bendix has even encouraged her two co-workers to use the service, so that they too can save on telephony costs.

Dealing with inbound calls

CCS (County Consultancy Services) is an IT company offering support to small and medium businesses in the Milton Keynes area and has less than ten employees. The team is often off site or on specific jobs when in the office. As IT experts, the infrastructure is set up to manage mobile and flexible working. However, the remaining challenge it needed to solve was how to answer all inbound calls about a current job or a new prospect.

These calls were typically during office hours whilst the team was often on-site at a client’s and also some out of hours. Extra pressure points came around holiday periods when teams were more stretched and should not be distracted by call answering. For CCS, it was critical that the people taking the calls were intelligent and adaptable to a variety of situations and could confidently answer professionally and knowledgeably as an extension of the CCS team.

After trial and error with a number of call centre type companies, the management team had learned to their cost about poor service. They were sent messages meant for other companies and incorrect information – all of which destroyed trust in customer service and impacted the CCS business.

At this point, CCS started working with alldayPA, a UK 24-hour call answering service.

CCS have set up the system to take a message that is emailed directly to named members of the team, avoiding the need for an answerphone. The CCS team has direct access to the call script, which is useful as there is no need to go through the client services team each time. Also, the PAs are an average age of 37 and so understand life and business in order to be able to handle any call that comes in. An important criteria was that they are highly trained and will think when on the call to manage it the best way possible, rather than rigidly sticking to the script.

Calls are handled and put through in accordance with what has been decided by CCS and stated on the script. There is total confidence that its customers, prospects and also staff are looked after. Now they can also enjoy time off without any fears that the business will be cast in a bad light.

Julie Forrester, company secretary of CCS IT Service says, ‘The peace of mind this call answering service gives us is hard to quantify. The biggest plus point for us is that we’ll never miss a call from a client or prospect again as they will always get through to a human voice who can help them.’

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