According to Statistics SA, the South African economy grew by 1.3% in 2017. It seems businesses across various industries are struggling in the current economy. Running a business can be expensive. We know many businesses are facing a hard time. There are many rabbit holes where money can disappear into, this is especially true when it comes to your PBX.
A Switchboard or Private Branch Exchange (PBX) service should enhance your business but can easily suck up money if not utilised to its full potential. There is a well-known saying that goes, “Work smarter, not harder”. There are many ways to work smarter, but we would like to focus on the few ways your business can work smarter when it comes to your PBX.
Implement interactive voice responses on your PBX.
A virtual receptionist will work around the clock and best of all does not command a salary.
Furthermore, you can improve staff productivity and efficiency by setting up ring groups on your PBX. Ring groups will allow certain calls to ring on selected extensions. Individuals or groups of individuals will receive directed calls from the onset. This can also positively influence your caller’s perception of your business. There is nothing more frustrating than being put through to multiple people within an organisation in order to resolve a single query.
When a caller is placed on hold take the opportunity to play relevant marketing messages. The benefits of this are two-fold. Callers are less likely to abandon a call if they are being entertained. And you can promote your products and services.
Call usage reports can provide valuable business insights. Most notably, being able to monitor summary reports of calls made and received by each user can be extremely useful. You will be able to gauge productivity and put an end to abuse of business resources.
You can also limit abuse with the simple addition of pin codes.
Users can be unpredictable. However, it is our experience that they tend to limit their use of the company phone if they are aware that they are being monitored. Pin codes can also be used together with ‘hot desking’. If you have sales staff, for example, and they are required to spend most of their time on the road; simply allocate desks to them when they are required rather than giving them each a workstation.
If you have to dramatically cut your business running costs; have you ever considered doing away with your office rental? This may sound crazy. But, your switchboard should be able to hunt across extensions in different locations. Even if they are in different cities. You should also not be spending money on extension to extension call charges. Even if the extensions are based in different locations. It’s also worth mentioning that employees tend to look for this sort of flexibility when considering new places of employment.
Avoid long-term PBX maintenance contracts
Technology is constantly improving and what might seem like value for money today can be an antiquated dinosaur in a years time. The same can be said for extended trial periods at no cost yet an expensive license renewal or service fee thereafter; try to avoid this. In the short term it might be tempting to take up an offering that requires payment a year from signing or a once off yearly renewal fee but more often than not these options can be considerably more expensive in the long run.
Last but not least, if you haven’t already, switch to VoIP.
Your monthly call costs and line rental charges should drop dramatically if you are moving from a fixed line operator. It’s important, however, to be aware that most VoIP Providers are able to offer cheaper calls, but very few are able to offer customised solutions that are both reliable and affordable. It’s for this reason that your decision shouldn’t be based solely on the provider that offers you the lowest call rates. The VoIP Provider should offer an easy to understand pricing model where savings are simple to measure. It’s also important to ensure that the provider you choose manages and maintains their own network with multiple points of presence and interconnects to ensure maximum uptime; there is no point in moving to a provider to save money if your switchboard is continually offline.
Another question you should ask the potential VoIP provider is; are they registered with The Number Portability Company? The Number Portability Company administers a central reference database. This allows operators to facilitate the porting process. If your VoIP provider is not contracted with The Number Portability Company it might be difficult to port your number in the future.