How to gain more value from your telephony

We’ve reached the point of data overload. All around us, and in every department, people have more metrics than they can shake a stick at. Yet not all measures are created equal. While some will play directly towards your bottom line, others are vanity metrics, having little influence on how you actually make decisions.

It’s important to know what metrics will truly give you the insight you need to drive your business forward. So, if building customer and client relationships is a part of your business core, you should be measuring your telephony performance. From total calls waiting to average handling times and call abandonment rates, call performance data can grant businesses a clear snapshot of incoming business potential and outbound team efforts, which are undoubtedly tied to wider business goals.

These actionable insights allow businesses to boost their customer service levels and bring about positive developments in a way that only infrastructural change can achieve. And crucially, it’s these differences that will attract loyal, returning customers.

Industry case study: Real estate

Following the Brexit vote, the housing market has become sluggish. According to the Bank of England, demand has slowed, with mortgage approvals falling to an 18-month low in July. Likewise, supply has slowed down, with surveyors noting that instructions to sell have also declined.

For estate agents, these are testing times. Every prospect is important, meaning it’s crunch time to deliver results.

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Phone systems for SMEs

Inbound calls: Maximising telephony efficiency

Estate agents rely heavily on telecoms to support day to day business operations. Despite the prevalence of email and the web, picking up the phone remains the most common way sellers and buyers get in contact with agents. As a result, a big increase in telephony productivity can bring about substantial business uplift.

Intelligent features that come with moving communications to the cloud, allow for the easy management of numbers, inbound call routing. This makes it possible to allocate unique telephone numbers to individual properties, where numbers can be delivered to the right teams as necessary. Customer service can be strengthened with out-of-hours call answering messages, programmed to give the caller updates on property availability.

Modern telephony solutions also allow businesses to measure incoming calls in truly effective ways. Agents can report on the geographic region of prospective buyers, as well as what marketing efforts calls are coming from, and adjust their advertising strategies accordingly. As well as this, peak call times can be tracked, allowing agencies to amend their staffing plans as needed.

Outbound calls: Creating measurable metrics

Streamlining telecoms services can also allow businesses to create truly measurable metrics and tangible goals. While this is possible with legacy phone systems, this often requires the addition of a call centre server. Data is often lumped into a comma-separated values (CSV) file, and requires considerable technical expertise to decipher it.

There are now simpler solutions that can automatically pull together bespoke reports and deliver them to the required people at the desired time. These ‘push reports’ can help businesses create league tables and displayed via wallboards. For instance, ‘Who’s answering the most inbound calls’ and ‘what teams are achieving the best results’. This data can then help with boosting employee motivation and productivity as well as supporting new business efforts by demonstrating call performance success to prospective sellers. Best of all, this solution is suitable for businesses of any size, meaning that even an SME can gain the same insight into telephony that is often only the preserve of larger businesses.

Home is where the heart is and it follows that housing is an extremely personal business. Trusting relationships are the bedrock of communication between all parties, and for this to happen, it’s important to be easily reached. Yet this can also be said of many other industries. In fact, the benefits outlined above can easily be applied to any business where telephone use is a part of day-to-day activities.

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12 November 2016 | Jamie Ward

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.