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Guest post from Bryan Goode, CEO- Infratel
Eighty percent of consumers judge the validity of a small business based on the professionalism of their phone system. That means, you could be losing customers the minute they pick up the phone.
One mistake often made by new businesses is relying on a mobile phone number as a primary business line. A simple, cloud-based virtual phone system can still utilize mobile devices but prevents calls from ringing through to unprepared employees and allows the business to create a professional look and establish a single local or toll-free business phone number. These services are often available directly through your existing webhosting or cloud services provider.
According to a Microsoft survey conducted by Edge Strategies in 2012, 50 percent of SMBs say cloud-based services are going to become more important for their operations, and 58 percent believe working in the cloud can make companies more competitive. These services offer an inexpensive alternative for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to save money on general IT/technology costs while establishing a more professional look and feel to their business.
According to the same study, the popularity will only continue to grow. The number of very small companies using a paid cloud solution will potentially triple in the next three years and the number of companies between 11 and 25 employees will potentially double.
Integrating a cloud-based virtual phone system or application allows small business owners to get a dedicated business phone number, establish call screening and forwarding capabilities, and offer easy to use web-based in-browser calling. Additionally, these services offer the best ‘Contact Us’ experience, improving real time support and online customer service. Further benefits of a virtual phone system include:
• A toll free, local or vanity phone number to project a more professional image
• A 24 hour auto-attendant that answers & tracks every inbound call
• A simple menu of choices, guiding callers to the correct person or department
• Group call management and dial by name extensions
• Ability to capture more business from your website
Utilizing a cloud based phone system seems like a no-brainer but many entrepreneurs and small businesses fail to recognize the benefits that a business phone number can have on the bottom line. Why wait? Give customers the best ‘Contact Us’ experience, and begin realizing the many other benefits a professional phone presence can provide.
About the author: Bryan Goode is CEO of Infratel, a company dedicated to delivering communications solution to small business through hosters and cloud service providers. Follow Infratel on Twitter, @MightyCall