A woman sitting at a desk, talking on her mobile phone.

Customers don’t want to spend a day on hold. How can business communications solutions help?

When it comes to customer service experience, people have some pretty lofty expectations these days. And why not? Living in an age when the world’s collective knowledge, culture, and entertainment are available instantly with the click of a button, should they expect any less?

As these expectations continue to rise, it raises two important questions: What kind of experience are these customers looking for, and how can today’s enterprises leverage business communications solutions to not only meet this expectation, but push the bar even higher?

Universal Truth

Customer satisfaction is somewhat of an enigma. On one hand, everyone is a customer at some point and therefore has the perfect perspective from which to truly understand what people are looking for when it comes to customer experience. On the other hand, no two people have the exact same desires and expectations.

Discouraged? Don’t be. While it’s true that people have very personal preferences when it comes to ideal customer experiences, there are some universal truths you can rely on. For example, what are you more likely to find on an eHarmony profile page, “I love taking long walks on the beach at sunset” or “My greatest joy in life is spending two hours of my Saturday morning on hold with the utility company?”

Sure, this may be an extreme case, but the point is still valid. Exceeding customer service expectations begins with nailing the basic expectations at the core of every experience. Chief among them is communication.

Perhaps a better example is to simply look at the relationships in your own life. Don’t worry, Dr. Phil has no part in this one. Have you ever noticed how much of a direct relationship there is between the health of a given relationship and the level of communication associated with it? Likewise, excellent customer experiences thrive on and, in many ways, depend upon effective communication. After all, customers are defined by their relationship to businesses.

Convenient Communication

If communication is so important to customer satisfaction, then it stands to reason that business communications solutions would be a top priority. Not convinced? Here are a few ways these types of solutions can help your business keep pace with rising customer expectations:

  • Communication Options: If it were the 20th century, having a single option for customer communication would be forgivable. Here in the 21st century, however, there’s really no excuse to limit these options. Different customers expect to communicate in different ways. Be it phone, web chat, video conference, or carrier pigeon, providing flexible means of communication is a great way to meet customer expectations.
  • Keeping It Simple: Giving customers plenty of ways to communicate is great, but not if you sacrifice simplicity. If your customers spend more energy finding the right number for the right department than they would trying to coax Siri into navigating rush-hour traffic, you’re not exceeding expectations. To avoid this, take advantage of a communications system in a more intelligent way, like a virtual receptionist. All forms of communication should get the customer to the right information or person with minimal transfers.
  • Call Queue: Nobody enjoys lines, but everyone expects them. The very fabric of society might even fall apart without the order they create. When it comes to communication, bringing order is crucial. With a call queue, you can tailor the phone experience of each individual customer and better manage large call volumes to avoid falling short of customer expectations.

In the end, modern technology has spoiled the world with unparalleled convenience. Customers expect that same convenience when communicating with your business. Are you prepared to exceed those expectations?

Speak to a Vonage Business consultant to learn more about business communications solutions.

About Joe Hewitson

With a degree in applied computing technology and over a decade of experience in the IT and software development industries, Joe Hewitson has his finger on the pulse of cloud technology. From developing communication applications for the cloud to deploying VoIP solutions in enterprise environments, he’s seen it all. The one thing Joe loves more than staying on the cutting edge of cloud and VoIP technology? Writing about it.

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Text Messaging VoIP Mobility: Image of person textingWith so many customers preferring to communicate with text messages, it makes good business sense to offer them the option. The Vonage® MobileConnect for Essentials app lets you send and receive text messages via your Vonage Business number. So, you don’t have to use your personal phone number to stay connected. Your texts from the mobile app clearly reflect your business identity.

Mobile charges may apply.

With the MobileConnect app for iOS® devices and Android phones, you can send and receive texts from any U.S. phone number, or chat internally with coworkers. It’s all about communicating the way your customers prefer – and that often includes text messaging.

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Give your customers another preferred way of communicating.
  • Enjoy texting to and from U.S. numbers, and one-to-one chat between other users on the account.
  • New for iOS 10 users: Group messaging now available.
  • Maintain your business identity every time you text or call a customer, even if you’re on the go.

Get Started

The Text Messaging feature can be accessed using the MobileConnect app and is included on all accounts with Unlimited and Metered extensions.*

*Reasonable and acceptable use policies apply

Back to Features

Call_QueueThis feature offers your callers the option of remaining on the phone while they wait for a representative to answer.* The Call Queue lets you choreograph the experience with any combination of directional prompts, on-hold music, specialty messages and information about your business. It’s a thoroughly professional experience for callers – helping you to minimize the number of unanswered calls, voicemails and, sometimes, missed opportunities.

Call Queues help businesses manage large call volumes with limited staff, a bottom-line efficiency that companies appreciate. Plus, it’s easy to customize and adjust from your Admin Portal, so you can streamline the feature over time with specific prompts and messages that help set customer expectations.

How It Works

Companies apply a Call Queue to a specific phone extension and set up the queue using the options and messaging prompts that will direct callers to the appropriate agent. Agents are assigned to a queue and log in with a PIN. When callers dial in, they’re taken through the sequence that you set up in advance until their call is answered by an agent. Several management functions also allow administrators to access statistics and reporting that can be used to improve service and assess the caller experience.

Why You’ll Like It

  • Manage large call volume with limited staff.
  • Present an engaging, professional experience for callers.
  • Cut down on missed calls and voicemails.
  • Customize queues with call tags to drive specific inquiries.
  • Add a Call Queue to support sales, customer service, or tech support.
  • Monitor activity and pull reports from the system.
  • Promote marketing campaigns within queue messaging.

This feature should not be confused with a Call Group, which rings multiple extensions simultaneously. Call Queue is a more robust feature with a full set of customization options.

Get Started

Call Queue can be added directly from the Admin Portal, and as needed, our Customer Care team will assist in configuring your queue to best suit your business.

*As low $0.03 per-minute charge applies when callers are on hold before the agent answers.

Our Click-to-Call Me service provides a quick and easy way for your customers to reach you. By adding a Click-to-Call Me button to your website or email signature, customers can connect instantly to your Vonage Business phone number with the simple click of a button. The best news is that the feature is free and available to all Vonage customers!

The way it works is simple. When a customer clicks your “Click-to-Call Me” button and enters their phone number, both your phone and your customer’s phone will ring, placing you on a call together.

How Does Click-to-Call Me Work?

Visitors to your website don’t need Vonage service, or even VoIP service for this convenient feature to work. Visitors enter their own phone number into the widget on your site, and it is sent via the unique code on your website to your VoIP system. Vonage will connect a VoIP call to the visitor that clicked the widget, and once he or she answers, the call will be connected to your company.

You can choose which number to enter into the Click-to-Call Me code, and set a unique number that calls are directed to. The number must be associated with your company’s account, but does not need to be the main company phone number. This can be convenient for directing website calls to the proper department, so that Click to Call Me callers don’t need to navigate through your company’s Virtual Receptionist phone menu.

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Call Logs on the Vonage system allow access to detailed call records by extension or account. You can run these custom reports on call activity simply by logging into your Administrator Portal.

How Do I Use Call Logs?

  • Set a start date and an end date for your report query.
  • Set a start time and an end time.
  • Run the report, and either print, save as a PDF or export as an Excel document.

When Would I Use Call Logs?

Our customers typically use call logs to view the direction of a call to a business, call activity from a business, additional rates for international calling, and the duration of a call. It’s a great way to make sure that your phones are being used appropriately or to just see what phones have a higher volume than others.

Many customers have used call logs as a barometer to gauge whether they need to add additional staff to their workforce to handle growing call loads or to justify purchasing an executive-level phone to accommodate the growing needs of a business.

Have you ever called a company and been put on hold, and then all you hear is complete silence? It feels as if you have had the door shut in your face, and you are left wondering if the person has just hung up on you.

As a small business owner, you want to make sure that your customers and potential customers feel like you care about them. Vonage Business Music on Hold feature is a very important part of indicating to your callers that you are a professional company that has its customers’ interests at heart.

A Premier On-Hold Experience for Customers

Vonage offers music on hold as a free feature to all our customers. Included with every account are four standard options to choose from. You can easily set and change the music your customers hear from the Vonage Business Administrator Portal.

In addition to the standard included music, Vonage customers also have the option of uploading their own music, or customized recording. Adding your own on-hold music is a great way to personalize the experience your customers get.

Back to Features

Virtual Receptionist Graphic: Business Phone SystemWhen it comes to Vonage’s key features for business, Virtual Receptionist is not only one of the most popular, but it’s also the feature that most businesses set up first. This sophisticated auto attendant lets you create customer pathways, routing your callers to the appropriate department or individual for a streamlined experience. This feature also gives you the flexibility to customize your call routing for holidays, lunchtimes or even after hours calls.

The use of this feature is absolutely unlimited, and you can set up as many Virtual Receptionists, attendants or sub-attendants as you need to create a robust phone menu system.
Last minute emergency or unable to get into the office? Updating your Virtual Receptionist is easy from anywhere. Simply log into your Admin Portal to make changes, or employ a Manual Schedule Override to ensure your callers get to the right place. By setting an end date and time, your Virtual Receptionist will return to normal when you need it to.

Why You’ll Like Virtual Receptionist

  • Add as many Virtual Receptionists you want to create a robust phone menu system.
  • Route your callers to exactly where they need to be depending on their selected options.
  • Cut down on call clutter by getting callers to the right place the first time.
  • Set up rules for daytime and after hours calling.
  • Give your customers a professional experience every time they call.
  • Have your Virtual Receptionist greetings and options recorded for you by Vonage.

How Virtual Receptionist Works

When someone calls your business, they are presented with a variety of options that allow them to reach specific departments. They can dial by name, dial by extensions, or even use a company directory. The caller then makes a selection and is routed through to the extension of their choice. Set-up options are completely up to you.

Get Started

You can configure your Virtual Receptionist directly from your Admin Portal. However, you may wish to have a Customer Care Representative walk you through your initial set-up so you’re aware of all the opportunities this feature can bring to your business. Additionally, they can provide assistance on having your greetings and options recorded for you by our dedicated team.

Back to Features

This feature provides options for setting Caller ID numbers – and if preferred, alpha-numeric names – that appear on outbound calls for each extension.

Set Caller ID allows your business to choose how to represent itself through outbound Caller ID for each extension. Because every company does business differently, we offer several customization options:

  • Display one number for all extensions.
  • Set each extension to show any number from the account you prefer.
  • Choose to display nothing at all.
  • Program an alpha-numeric name, or company name, to appear along with the telephone number. (Requires assistance from Customer Care.)

This feature has some similarities to our Dynamic Caller ID, which allows each user to set Caller ID via a special dialing code. Set Caller ID, however, is configured in advance on the Admin Portal by the company’s administrator.

How It Works

For all outbound calls from the company, recipients see the exact Caller ID set on the Admin Portal by the company administrator.

Why You’ll Like It

  • Dictate exactly what call recipients see as your outbound Caller ID.
  • Customize outbound Caller ID for each extension with any number from your account.
  • Select a name or business name to appear instead of a number. (Customer Care assistance is required for this option.)
  • Distinguish departments or even multiple businesses run from the same account.

Get Started

Set Caller ID is easily configured by the company’s administrator, who designates which number from the account will appear on outbound Caller ID for each extension. Should you prefer to set a Caller ID name, instead of a number, simply call Customer Care for assistance.

Toll-free number: Image of call center workersWhen customers seek to purchase a product or service over the phone, they certainly don’t want to incur long distance charges. That’s where Vonage Business Toll-free Numbers come in – allowing your contacts to call free of charge from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. It’s not just savings for your customers – Vonage’s Toll-free Numbers are a flat rate per line with no per minute charges.

While toll-free numbers are incredibly useful for your main company number, or even for specific departments such as Customer Service, they’re also an easy way to manage your promotional campaigns. Add a toll-free number to your latest marketing or advertising campaign to help capture call volume metrics. When you’re ready to move to another campaign, a Customer Care representative will be happy to assist you in switching to a new number for no additional charge.

Why You’ll Like It

  • Gives a professional, big business presence to your company.
  • Flat monthly rate, with no per-minute charges.
  • Makes picking up the phone more attractive to U.S. and Canadian based customers as they won’t incur long distance charges.
  • Tracks marketing and advertising campaigns easily and effectively.

Get Started

You can get started by either having a new toll-free number assigned to you through Vonage or by transferring over a number you already own. This feature can also be added through your Admin Portal, or by calling Customer Care.

 


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