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Small Business

 

Taking Business Phone for Granted

Located in Manhattan, my company occupies a small space in the basement of a upper east side brownstone. Because the space is so limited, we store our servers and phone equipment in the boiler room. I know what you're thinking, and you're absolutely right. It's not a good idea to put your most expensive equipment in a tiny room that feels like the foyer to hell.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

Located in Manhattan, my company occupies a small space in the basement of a upper east side brownstone. Because the space is so limited, we store our servers and phone equipment in the boiler room. I know what you're thinking, and you're absolutely right. It's not a good idea to put your most expensive equipment in a tiny room that feels like the foyer to hell.

When we set up shop over a year ago, we thought the same thing. Unfortunately, the rental price of a property in Manhattan that was actually large enough for our business scared us much more than the possibility of losing our equipment. Within a week of the boiler being turned on for winter the first year we were there, we started to have problems with the servers. They were going down quite often and we all knew it was a result of them of overheating from being cramped up in that inferno of a room. After a while, we decided to move them out into the office space, which was no easy task as we were practically on top of each other as it was. This solved the problem, however, so we decided to keep our phone equipment in the boiler room as it seemed to operate fine despite the circumstances. That was a huge mistake.

One January day, when the boiler had been running nonstop, our phone system went down. It never occurred to me how important a business phone system could be before that day. Losing the computers for an hour or so was rough, but since we deal with our clientele over the phone, losing our ability to communicate made doing business practically impossible. It took three days to get our equipment up and running, some of which needed to be replaced. We lost a lot of business over the three days, as you might imagine. Now our tiny space is even more cramped as the phone system equipment has been removed from the boiler room, but believe me...it sure beats the alternative.

 

Business Phone Blues

I work for a specialty after market auto parts retailer. We have no showroom, so around twenty percent of our business comes from the Internet while eighty percent comes from the telephone. We send out catalogs to those who request them or anyone who has placed an order in the last year. We also advertise in the back of automotive magazines. Needless to say, telephone sales are truly the lifeblood of our business. As of late, however, I've been wishing that weren't the case.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

I work for a specialty after market auto parts retailer. We have no showroom, so around twenty percent of our business comes from the Internet while eighty percent comes from the telephone. We send out catalogs to those who request them or anyone who has placed an order in the last year. We also advertise in the back of automotive magazines. Needless to say, telephone sales are truly the lifeblood of our business. As of late, however, I've been wishing that weren't the case.

My company's business phone system has what I would call, the absolute most annoying hold message ever produced. My boss, the owner of the company, is a really nice guy. Unfortunately, he is a really nice guy with a very pronounced speech impediment. One day he decided that instead of the traditional hold music, he would play a repeating digital loop of him announcing our weekly specials. We are a very busy company. In fact, most days find our sales reps on the phone from the time we get in until the time we leave. As you might guess, with such a high volume of calls, many people are left on hold.

When our customers finally reach a sales rep, I would estimate that about thirty to forty percent of them do an impersonation of my boss... no kidding. The other sixty or seventy percent usually compliment us on the "funny voice" doing our ads. I've had a few who were offended by it, thinking we were trying to make fun of those with speech impediments. The thing is, almost everybody has something to say about the hold ads. I even had one customer complete an extensive order while doing his version of "the voice". Since our boss is a really great guy, my coworkers and I are less than amused on one hand, yet highly entertained on the other. My only problem is that while most of my colleagues are spread out over a huge office, my cubical is right next to the boss'. I have to keep a straight face during some fairly good impressions.

I miss the hold music.

 

Don't Go Cheap When Installing New Business Phones

I recently replaced my business phone system to accommodate an increase in the volume of calls I was receiving. I own a car rental franchise and needed to have new lines and new phones installed to go along with the new customer service representative I needed to hire. By taking care of my customers and keeping my vehicles clean and available, I was able to build my business and force the closure of one of my two nearby competitors.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

I recently replaced my business phone system to accommodate an increase in the volume of calls I was receiving. I own a car rental franchise and needed to have new lines and new phones installed to go along with the new customer service representative I needed to hire. By taking care of my customers and keeping my vehicles clean and available, I was able to build my business and force the closure of one of my two nearby competitors. The resulting influx of customers meant I needed to act fast in order to capitalize on my good fortune. Like most people would, I gave little thought to my phone system and just decided to go with the cheapest solution I could find.

I purchased a new system that I was told would handle my volume. At first, I was more than satisfied as everything was working great and I had no problems. Shortly after I put the new phone system in place, I reduced our rental rates in order to try and get as many customers to switch over to my company from my now defunct competition instead of to my one remaining competitor. Even though I was operating at a loss for two months, my strategy was successful and my business increased yet again. The problem was that the phone system I purchased was designed to only handle a small amount of lines, and I was already at full capacity. While it was an improvement over my first system, it had limitations that I hadn't considered. I ended up having to replace it all over again, but this time I had the sense to go with a system that could grow with my business. Luckily, I was able to get some credit for returning the second phone system, which went toward the newest system.

Still, I lost money, and had I only been less concerned with the bottom line and more concerned with getting what I really needed, I would have been better off. When buying a phone system for your company, make sure you purchase one that you won't outgrow if business starts booming. I wish someone had told me that before I made the mistake of trying to save a few bucks.




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