Communication is the cornerstone of the business. People highly underestimate its importance when thinking about what makes a business successful. Sure, share prices, operational efficiency, risk, and fund managers all have their place but one factor that ties them all together is the ability of the various people and systems associated with these processes to communicate effectively with one another. Be it sales, customer support, advertising or email marketing, communication is a core element. And, with communication comes relationship-building. You cannot expect your customers to buy or to keep buying from you if you don’t nurture a relationship with them. But if you do, you can expect nurtured leads to make 47% larger purchases. If you run a small business, you need such loyalty more than ever.

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about communicating with someone who’s not present in front of you? A phone, right? For most people calling is the go-to method when there is a real need to connect with the recipient.

The need is intensified if there’s an issue that needs to be fixed. Suppose you recently bought a smartphone but some of its features do not seem to be working. Your first thought would be to call up the customer support helpline of the retail platform that you purchased it from. You would prefer talking to a real person, a customer service representative, in this case, to walk you through the problem to its solution.

It’s safe to say that investing in tools and systems to improve internal and external business communication can work wonders for your company. When it comes to phone/voice-based communication solutions, there are quite a few that you should consider looking into. Let’s go in detail regarding these solutions so you can figure out which ones are the best suited to your firm.

1. Business Phone Number

Business phone numbers are all the rage today. A business phone number is simply a dedicated phone line that links your customer directly to the business. How is it different from a traditional phone connection? Well, to begin with, a modern-day business phone number does not have to be chained to the office. Of course, you could still choose to use a business phone number on a traditional landline. But today, business phone numbers are freely hosted on the cloud, just like any other virtual phone number. It can be a custom extension dedicated to your business.

A business phone line is often the initial point of contact between you and your customer. Use your business number to make a great first impression on the customer. For a small business, a dedicated business phone number helps to reflect a professional image and to assure your customers that you’re available for them whenever they need. 

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2. Virtual Phone System

A virtual phone system provides VoIP functionalities and uses PBX (Private Branch Exchange) to route call traffic through third-party data centers. You can use a PBX box, but since they are usually quite expensive, service providers usually make a cloud-hosted version available for users. A virtual phone system goes beyond the basic VoIP number functionalities. You can pick and choose from a variety of functionalities and features which your company requires. These include features such as integrations, voicemail, IVR (Interactive Voice Response), call routing and recording, to name a few. SMBs may not necessarily need all the features provided by a PBX virtual phone system, they should not be hesitant to invest in a virtual phone system owing to the cost. These solutions are usually quite scalable and easily customizable, which means that you can pay for what you choose, and opt for more features as the need arises.

3. Online Phone Number

A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) based online phone number offers the basic functionalities of making and receiving calls without the frills involved in a PBX virtual phone system. An example would be Skype. That, of course, doesn’t mean that it’s not suitable for businesses. In fact, startups and small businesses prefer it owing to the cost savings. It can be attached to multiple devices and some VoIP phone providers also equip the numbers with specific area codes in order to facilitate communication with customers abroad.

In case your business wants to take the no-frills route with its phone system, a VoIP phone number is a way to go. It offers the basic functionalities that a business needs at a steal compared to traditional phone prices.

4. Toll-Free Call Forwarding

Toll-free numbers or vanity numbers are numbers that are specifically meant to get customers to reach out to your business. Toll-free numbers are business numbers that customers can call without incurring any charges on their end. An example would be 1800-ABC-QLTY. Toll-free numbers and vanity numbers are quite distinctive and thus easy to remember for customers. Just seeing a vanity number can sometimes keep the company on the customer’s mind and encourage greater brand recall.

Businesses can get toll-free numbers from regular or virtual phone service providers. Virtual toll-free numbers offer a plethora of features beyond a simple toll-free number. These include toll-free call forwarding, SMS, IVR, and more.

Toll-free numbers help your business garner greater recognition in the minds of the customers and facilitates intelligent marketing.

5. Office Phone System

An office phone system comprises all the telephonic communication systems that are being used by a company for internal or external business communication. The tools or specific types of phone numbers used for a company are totally dependent on the type of business and its size. An intra-office phone system is especially helpful for larger enterprises where the person you want to reach might not be on the same floor or even in the same building. Intra-office phone systems make communication between different departments easy but also secure. Get voicemail, call groups, automated forwarding, and much more on your existing office phone system by switching to cloud-based virtual phone numbers.

Effective communication will never go out of style. It’s possible that it will be a skill that will be in demand as long as businesses, markets, and the very concept of buying and selling exist. Small businesses have different communication needs and constraints when compared to large enterprises, but the solutions mentioned above are for the most part are quite affordable, and even better, scalable. Help your small business overcome the obstacles on the path to successful communication with these innovative solutions.