So you’ve decided to adopt VOIP. Congratulations! By now, you’ve reviewed all the features you need. And you’ve got that one decision left to make: How many agents does your VOIP package need?
And here you run into your first roadblock: Per agent pricing is prohibitive. Unfortunately, this pricing system is the norm—most packages charge similarly. And this is where trouble begins:
- Costs start adding up. And that seemingly affordable plan goes out of range again.
- Or you get restrictive with your VOIP: You use a single login for multiple people. And lose the ability to track performance.
- Or you dedicate a very small team to handle calls. But then that one higher-than-usual call volume day arrives; and everything goes awry. Customers go on hold for way too long; calls go unanswered. And you’re right back to how things were when you didn’t have VOIP in the first place.
So we turned this situation on its head. We asked: What if we gave entrepreneurs one single affordable price—without limits on how many agents to add?
Here are the 6 advantages you get when you’re free to add more agents
- More staff is or should be interacting frequently with the customer.
“Customer service shouldn’t just be A department, it should be the entire company.”
These widely quoted words by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos— are easily adopted in your small business. Here, departments are often fluid. And, most staff interact directly with the customer. The staffs product knowledge is also generally higher. So you solve customer queries faster, more knowledgably and more personally than “big guy” call centers. Make use of this customer service edge you have:
- Have more employees interact with the customer. Create more agents. Give more staff their own extension.
- You could also consider rotating call duty. This way, all employees stay always in touch with the customer even as your business grows. Many companies such as Clear Fit1 follow this strategy to train their staff and give better customer service.
- Give all your employees an extension. Customers can call in staff they are most comfortable with.
- Don’t create thick walls between customers and you.
“We’re unable to answer your question. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx to speak to a representative from xxx team. “
An American Express Survey, pegs these lines as the most hated phrase for customers phoning into call centers. Customers hate battling through layers to reach a decision maker. Large corporates spend many dollars finding ways to thin this gap. But, small businesses have always been more approachable. But decreasing agents will narrow that doorway. It will create a wall. Whoever your customer usually interacts with (and that includes you) should be easy to reach.
- Extra call volumes needn’t scare you anymore
Lets say you run an ad campaign. You know you’ll have extra calls this week. With unlimited agents, you can easily add temporary staff to fill in the requirement. Or multitask employees with extra downtime on their hands. Everyone can pitch in to help, even your grand aunt Lucy from her home in Texas!
- Increase active agents on the fly. Don’t ever waste your customer’s time.
“Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.”
Your customer doesn’t want to hear these lines. But what if call volumes are unexpectedly high? You can’t possibly call your vendor and change your subscription while customers wait. No, with all your staff as agents, someone can always chip in. And you can increase your active agents whenever you need. So you get call center efficiency without increasing your workforce.
- Multitask your workforce
You don’t need a specialist to speak on the phone! For small business and start- ups, multitasking is the name of the game. Some manage for years without ever having a front desk. In others, the service and sales team may be the same. Sometimes salon workers pitch in as receptionists. Or the delivery crew pitches in with calls.
Whatever your business, and however you multitask—your VOIP package should adapt. So don’t hire specialized agents to handle your interactions. Count everyone in with unlimited agents!
With unlimited agents, everyone short of the family dog can chip in. Use this well, and you’ll get real value for money. Not to mention, you’ll deliver stellar customer service. And never get bogged down by pricing-per-agent plans ever again.
1 Other small-business owners, such as Ben Baldwin, co-founder and CEO of ClearFit, believe that customer service via phone support is key to the success of hia company. “At ClearFit, we believe that support (we call it customer success) is integral to everything that we do,” he says. Rather than delegate the task of customer service to one employee, Baldwin reports that all employees take turns answering customer questions and responding to requests.