“We tried reaching you but your phone was not reachable.”
“We have been trying to call you, but your agent’s number was going busy.”
“We genuinely needed your product at that time, but your executive didn’t pick up our call.”
This is the gist of a few calls Rahul has been receiving lately. Similar statements were said on his mail as well.
Rahul is a small businessman, currently dealing with a high number of “unaccounted” missed calls.
Needless to say, those potential customers now must have gone to his competitors. After this sudden realization of his loss, he decided to opt for a permanent solution to prevent conditions like these in future.
So, he went to his friend Abhishek for help.
Abhishek previously had faced similar problems in his business also. He then went for an IVR system and suggested the same to Rahul as well.
Abhishek also told him about how an IVR for small business, contributes to the company growth, by saving (and managing) the business calls.
Owing to this IVR system, Abhishek was actually able to retain his customers and witnessed a significant increase in his on-call deal closures.
Hearing all this, Rahul was quite impressed but was still reluctant to implement this. IVR for small business like mine? Is it worth it? ㅡ thoughts like these made him uncertain about going ahead.
Well, I’m sure even you must be having similar thoughts about IVR like Rahul has. And, I don’t blame you for this.
IVR systems have mostly been favourites of big businesses. But, this is no more the current situation.
IVR for small businesses is slowly gaining prevalence in the business sector. This is simply because of the enormous benefits it has for early-stage businesses.
Now, let’s talk in detail about this IVR solution, its features and most importantly, the benefits it has for small businesses.
What is an IVR?
We have been continuously talking about IVR, but what exactly is it?
Well, this Interactive Voice Response system greets your callers in a professional and interactive way. This greeting could be customized in different languages and as per your requirements.
The IVR will have your agents’ phone/landline number mapped behind it. Calls will be routed to the required department or agent basis the callers’ input in the IVR menu (Press 1 for sales, 2 for support).
Also, calls during the non-availability of your agents or after office hours can be attended by IVR (with its voicemail facility).
So, this will give your customers a faster on-call resolution to their requirements.
Simply put, the voice greeting you hear when calling on a customer care number of big brands, that’s IVR for you.
Now, after we’re clear with the meaning of IVR, let’s talk on why it should be your next step towards business growth.
Why IVR for small business?
1. To reduce workload on employees
Imagine yourself asking your employees to stay back at the office after 7 pm to attend your customer calls.
You’ll probably get only angry glares and grumpy faces from them.
Even if they agree to stay, this rule would reduce their efficiency and probably head them towards resignation.
You might think of paying them a little extra to make them stay back. But, let’s face it, will that work for a long time?
This is when the need for automation arises, to reduce manual effort. This is when IVR comes into the picture.
It will stay available for your customers round-the-clock, and won’t leave your any call unattended. Wondering how? Here it is:
- Calls are routed to the concerned agent directly on their mobile phone, making it easier to attend after-office calls.
- Voicemail feature to take your customers’ message during non-availability of your agents.
- When no agent is present, the IVR informs the caller about non-availability and assures them of a timely callback.
2. To implement a permanent (virtual) resolution
The main problem that small businesses face is a shortage of funds or cash crunch. Now if I say that you should hire employees to attend your after-office calls, you’ll probably dread at this suggestion.
These extra employees would not only add to your costs and overall expenditure but may also lead to wastage of your resources.
Now, you might think of hiring one receptionist instead. Well, first check the table below before you go for this:
3. To save missed calls (missed business)
Being a small business, you have fewer employees and agents to attend your calls. And if these agents are also busy on other calls, then your business will face a huge loss, not only of revenue but also large customer base.
And for a business, especially smaller ones, each customer call is a potential business opportunity.
With an IVR in place, if one agent is busy then the call will get transferred to another agent, automatically.
It even allows you to follow up on your missed calls by letting your customers leave a voice message when your agents are busy/unavailable.
4. To build a bigger brand image
A small businessman is always concerned about his business image and presentation in front of its customers.
Well, with a regular phone system, you won’t be able to project that brand image but with an IVR you can.
a) When a customer first arrives on your website or sees your business card, he will look at the contact number of your business.
b) And when he calls on that number, he should hear a professional voice greeting.
So these two become important factors to decide what your customers think about your business image.
And this is why an IVR significantly helps you build your brand image like you want them to see.
Still confused about IVR for small business?
Here are another three reasons that will probably solve your confusion about IVR:
- Your agents cannot always be physically present to attend customer calls. Having an IVR helps your agents to receive calls anytime, anywhere and makes their work easier.
- Having a fixed landline system for attending customer calls forces agents to stick to their office desk everytime. This can become a hurdle for all those businesses and startups who want to promote flexible working culture.
- IVR eliminates the cost of hiring new people for attending customer calls and helps you save your resources for a better investment option.
So, don’t delay your decision for your business IVR, don’t delay better call handling, don’t delay providing a better calling experience for your customers.