VoIP is an acronym which stands for voice over internet protocol. It can be defined as the phone calls made over a data network.
When it comes to their business phone system, most people prefer VoIP due to the reduced costs from the VoIP service providers as compared to the conventional, traditional phone companies. This is because the telephone calls are channeled over the data network and not the phone company’s network.
How VoIP a business phone system works
VoIP simply works by converting analog voice calls into digital voice communication and then transferring it through Internet broadband. The transfer is similar to the transmission of the other types of data such as emails. In other words, it converts voice vibrations to compressed digital signals that translate to Internet Protocol packets.
These Internet Protocol packets are then transmitted and converted to a regular telephone signal if the user has an ordinary telephone. In essence, VoIP allows the computer users and businesses to make calls from computers equipped with a VoIP phone.
The scope of communication
There are 5 different ways in which a person can communicate through VoIP and they are summed up as shown below:
- PC to PC: The requirements to allow for communication between two individuals are the sound card, microphone, and speakers or headset.
- PC to phone: In this case, the PC user will only need to have a headset. The recipient will get the call to their phone just like in the ordinary case.
- Phone to Phone: VoIP adapter is a requirement. The caller should have it while the recipient gets the call on their phone.
- IP phone to phone: As the caller, you need to have an IP phone to allow for the communication. The signal will be transmitted over the IP network and the recipient gets the call on his or her phone.
- IP phone to IP phone: An IP network allows for the communication. The call travels over the network from both ends.
If you have a VoIP phone, you can connect to a provider via one of these three main ways:
- Ethernet and Wi-Fi: This is the most traditional optional. In this case, one can connect his or her VoIP phone directly to the IP network by either the two technologies.
- Analog Telephone Adapter: This connects to the network and operates an analog telephone, which connects through a wall jack.
- Softphone: It is an application that is installed on a computer. For this to work, your computer should be equipped with speakers, a microphone, and headset capabilities. The phone interface displays on the monitor. It operates with clicks or typing the numbers to dial.
Benefits of VoIP for your business
Companies all over the world have adopted VoIP protocol as their business phone system, as this methodology has a broad range of advantages for your business. Here are the most important ones:
It is cheaper to make a VoIP call as compared to the conventional phone calls. The reason for this has been explained in the paragraphs above. The impact on costs is clearly seen when making long distance calls. Also, some savings can be seen due to the use of a single network to carry both the voice and the data. Reduction in cost, therefore, means that you can use the resources on other important entities to advance your business.
This is an advantage enjoyed by VoIP users as opposed to the counterparts. In this case, all you need is a good internet connection. From the typical phone call, one can enjoy a video conferencing calling at any time. This is a double benefit as you can get in touch with your clients without having to travel for longer distances. This alternatively saves on the costs of transport. Call center agents also can conveniently and easily work from anywhere. To conclude on this, a VoIP user can speak to somebody over the phone while accessing other applications, including the Internet, simultaneously.
This is a case where you are in the position to use a conventional phone and VoIP converter. After plugging the converter into your computer, it will sense signals that are coming from the traditional phone. This signal, then, is converted into digital data which can easily be routed over the internet. With your computer on, you will receive phone calls on your same number as the system will give room to acquire your VoIP number. In other words, one can carry out virtual conferencing, attach documents, and share data in a faster manner. Finally, on this, you can easily add, move or even change the phone extensions and locations for your convenience.
At any locality and with a good internet connection, it is possible to log conveniently into your VoIP telephone. Also, through the email, you can access the VoIP systems using your IP phone. This is possible because any VoIP phone has an address built into it to the devices.
Let’s get more specific and see how VoIP can work with your customer service and customer experience department.
How can customer service managers use VoIP?
Service delivery is one of the major factors contributing to the success of your business. In this case, VoIP can be said to be the best platform that helps in improving the customer service, and this is important for customer service managers and VP’s.
It is not important just for large companies, but also small businesses. Businesses are expected to deliver on customer service. Technology makes it possible to connect the importance of customer service to the bottom line that major stakeholders are looking at.
On the other hand, technology means efficiency, reliability and service time is much improved. In the case of a small company, VoIP is vital in adding layers to their phone systems. With this in mind, VoIP is the alternative any customer service manager and VP would yearn for, for the success of his or her business.
In either case, any customer making inquiries or anything similar through a call should be connected to the right personnel. VoIP is necessary to avoid the delays and inconveniences of transferring the calls to the wrong extensions and this can be achieved by having a large phone system to manage the telecommunications.
How can VoIP improve customer experience?
The customer experience can be viewed as a big determinant of how long your business will last on the market. If a customer experiences an impressive and quality service, they are more likely to consider you, and talk about your business to others, translating to more opportunities for growth.
For all this to happen technology still takes the leading role, and in this case, VoIP is the best bet. To get to know how the VoIP improves the customer experience consider the following:
Interactive voice response (IVR)
Interactive Voice Response can be broken into two:
- Easy contact and quick payment
With VoIP, the customer will be in a position to select the department that he or she wishes to speak with from the easy–to–navigate menu. As the manager, one should ensure that the menu is simple and clear to understand without any ambiguities. As for quick payment, it is possible to call a number and make your payment rather than going online with VoIP.
- Managing call monitoring
This is a helpful tool to help in the training of your staff. This feature allows the manager or the trainer to join the call between the two parties. Note that, the agent (trainee) and the client are not aware of the other person who is listening to their conversation. At this time, the trainer can whisper to the agent and provide him or her with real time answers without having to divert the call. Note that the caller cannot hear what the trainer is whispering to the agent, but the agent can respond to questions in real time with a manager live coaching.
High call flows leads to long queues and this means that some of the callers will remain on hold. As we all know, customers do not like waiting, and this can be a huge burden with no answer to some. So as not to lose the customers on hold, you can use the advanced options of VoIP.
This involves personalizing the experience of the caller by playing some of the personalized music and periodic wait messages while on hold. Giving the position in the queue is important to help the customer get assured that their call will be considered after a few.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration
To improve efficiency, one may take into account integrating the VoIP phone system with CRM software. The integration is imperative. It makes the CRM data available upon a call, hence improving the representative’s time. To get a deeper idea on this, once an individual makes a call the system will be in a position to check and match the phone number with the one stored in the CRM account.
After matching, it will present a pop-up window giving the details on who is calling, the customer details and history. With this, answering the call and referring to the person by his or her name impresses the customer even more.
Through the system again, you can add automatic call logs to the customer’s account. This is convenient compared to the manual way. Finally, click-to-call is another tool which allows the representative just to click on the contact’s phone number to make a call. This serves to minimize the time used for dialling as well as eliminating the human errors.
VoIP tips and best practices
Monitor the call-backs so as to ensure the agents get it right first time
You should have an analysis on whether the customers have to call back. If you allow the agents to get it right in the first instance, the extra time that might take means that the customer has had a resolution in the first instance, and this saves cost in the long run.
At any particular moment, phones should take priority over emails
The difference between the two is the time of response. For a person making a call, it means he or she requires an instant feedback on a given subject matter. On the other hand, if a person sends an email, it says he does not necessarily need an immediate response. It may take a couple of minutes, hours or days before replying to the email.
Modify your service to suit every customer
This calls for tailoring your customer experience so as to meet the needs of all the customers (within your contact centre) at an individual level.
Look after the top spenders, by segmenting the customers by revenue
This is important so as to ensure that the top customers are receiving the best treatment ever. It means that the more an individual spends, the faster they will get through to an agent. It is not bias; on the other hand, it will encourage your customers to spend more.
Encourage your agents to own the problems
This is vital to prevent the escalation in magnitude or to pass over the problem. Ownership of the challenges gives the agents a sense of pride in their job which translates to taking their actions in a serious manner.
It is an era of technological advancements, and everyone needs to appreciate that. Also, you have to realize that, before accepting a certain idea, which is good, carry out some scrutiny for the viability of the same. This technology can run on hand with the VoIP business phone system.
Consider, for example, some of the new technologies on the horizon such as the virtual PBX systems. They are important to allow for more hands-on control and management. Virtual PBX, a private branch exchange phone system offered as a hosted service, can be quite a useful tool for marketing efforts.
With this, you will be able to direct people to call the store which they are most likely to shop at rather than a call centre; where they will have to be redirected.