Do you remember that MTV show, Pimp My Ride? The basic premise was taking old, beat up cars and transforming them into beautiful, technology-infused, high-performance machines. They were some seriously “tricked out” cars.
But what does that have to do with your business’s phone system?
Easy: thanks to new technology, today’s phone systems can do almost anything.
The “system” for the phone has evolved into something much bigger than a way to make and receive calls. Having a better phone system for your company can really help you connect and have a better relationship with all of your customers. Here are just a few things that can be added to your phone system to improve it (or “pimp” it out) and to improve the customer experience.
Vanity 800 numbers:
A vanity phone number is a number that…does not contain numbers. For example, a vanity 800 number would NOT be “123-456-7891”, it would be something like “1-888-COMPANY” or “1-855-SERVICE”–they always have some type of words or letters in them. They are great marketing tools because they are easy to remember and identify with a brand, like 1-800-FLOWERS. Having a vanity phone number can be great because if the company uses a word that represents your company then you will be more aware of what the company is about. Clearly, from the example vanity phone number above, the company is a flower company. This can make your customers remember your company better and it gives your company a better chance to get contacted.
When I need to call a business, I find it easier to call a vanity toll-free number than a “regular” number. In addition to being memorable, toll-free numbers are recommended because they lend businesses a sense of professionalism..
Intelligent IVR systems
IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, systems allow callers to interact with a database to obtain or input information. Traditionally, callers will interact with an IVR system at the beginning of their call (For Customer Service, press 1. … Please Enter your account number … etc). They are also used for telephone calls and even outgoing appointment reminders
In addition to these traditional uses of IVR, there are also Intelligent IVR systems. Intelligent IVR systems can do what traditional IVR systems do, but they also have enhanced features that allow for further interaction—which is always a good thing. Everyone these days is always using their cell-phones and an Intelligent IVR system can really benefit to those who are calling from a mobile device. For example, if you are on a mobile phone and the Intelligent IVR offers directions to the company, you are able to tell the IVR to send the directions to you and it will actually go directly to your mobile device, which is very convenient rather than you having to do it yourself. Here are some ways Intelligent IVRs improve the caller experience:
- Ask callers to complete a customer service survey, then offer them an incentive like a promocode for their next order, delivered via SMS
- Invite callers to provide information to enter a contest
- Send callers a link to download your company’s app
Because they are so feature-rich, these intelligent IVR systems are good for the company and the consumers.
On Hold Messages
A Message On Hold program is an audio production that plays to callers who are waiting on hold. A caller becomes “on hold” after they have navigated through your company’s phone menu and are waiting for a representative or a representative has simply put them on hold. On hold programming, including appealing music and informative messages, gives the caller something to listen and hear while they are on hold. Message On Hold is a great communication tool because it helps the customer connect more with the company and what the company offers. When you choose the right on hold music and marketing messages, you have the opportunity to tell customers and prospects about your business and how it can help them, while keeping callers waiting contently.
Overall, the regular phone system that your company has can easily be “pimped out” by adding any combination of vanity numbers, intelligent IVRs, or Messages On Hold. All of these things serve marketing and customer service functions, helping you get more for your money… and your customers.