Christmas is the time of year that most office workers look forward to. It offers family time, some decent TV and a chance to forget about deadlines and stress. For entrepreneurs and business owners, Christmas isn’t always a time to switch off, since there’s always another phone call to handle.
If your family members are already fed up with your smartphone addiction, they aren’t going to enjoy hearing your ringtone when they’re trying to watch Dr Who. How can you manage your availability without switching your mobile off for good?
Enter the IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
An IVR is an automated menu that lets customers select options with their keypad. Most banks use IVRs to direct calls to the right department, or deliver automated messages to callers.
When you set up hosted VoIP, you can create an IVR menu that puts you in control of the way calls are routed. You could send sales calls to an answerphone, while sending support calls straight to your mobile phone. You can also assign a ring group to any selection so that the calls are spread evenly over a team.
IVRs let you stem the flow of enquiries without making people feel abandoned. You can allow certain calls to come through, while filing less urgent enquiries in your voicemail inbox so you can deal with them once Christmas is over.
All of this can be controlled using Cloud4’s simple, straightforward VoIP dashboard.
Our 4 Golden Rules of IVRs
We’ve all encountered IVR menus that have driven us to frustration. A complicated IVR is not a great way to spread festive cheer. We recommend that you follow these four golden rules to ensure your IVR is successful:
1. Keep it short and sweet. IVRs can have up to 10 options at every stage, meaning they get complicated very quickly. Don’t use 10 options, ever. Five is plenty. If you send your callers on a wild goose chase, they will be more likely to abandon the call. Remember: each caller should be on the phone for 5 minutes or less.
2. Make people feel wanted. Your IVR needs to manage calls, not turn people away entirely. Reassure the caller that their message is important, and give them a timeframe for a reply. Then stick to it.
3. Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t use jargon or slang. If you’re not confident about your vocal abilities, hire a voiceover artist to record your IVR message. It’s amazing how much better the pros sound.
4. Offer an emergency contact option. Make sure your valued clients can reach you in a dire emergency. Many businesses assign the 0 key for this purpose.
Is There Still Time to Save Christmas?
If you’re still using an inflexible PBX system, or handing out your mobile number, it’s time to rethink your approach to business telephony. Hosted VoIP is a far more flexible solution, and it costs less than a PBX while offering much, much more.
If you sign up with Cloud4 today, you could have your shiny new IVR in place before the festive season arrives. Contact us to find out how VoIP can make your business more streamlined and responsive to its clients.