There are many challenges facing the retail industry today, the sourcing of goods from overseas and advancements in technology have caused deflation on prices. Put this alongside the various rising operating costs and you can now see why retailers need to reduce their costs wherever possible.
The use of smarter technologies can really help drive efficiency helping retailers remain competitive. One such smarter technology which is available at low-cost is an Internet-based hosted phone system. Hosted phone systems can offer retailers price certainty by bypassing the traditional standard fixed phone network and can provide free local and national calls. A comprehensive hosted phone system can offer a suite of features that encourage more seamless and efficient communications.
Here’s a quick rundown of how hosted/VoIP business phone systems can help retailers to combat their top three key challenges.
1. Reducing Costs
- Minimal Set Up & Equipment Costs - As hosted phone systems run off software in the Cloud, there’s no need to install costly hardware such as a traditional phone system central console. No complex and expensive wiring or engineering is required. After a quick webinar, most technically-minded people can even set up the system themselves.
- Low Cost Calls - As a hosted phone system doesn’t use the traditional standard fixed phone network and instead uses the Internet to make calls, a range of call plans are available – similar to what you’d find with a mobile phone provider. This helps you to get better control of your expenses by choosing a plan that includes local and national calls and minutes to mobiles.
- See where calls are costing you - A high quality hosted phone platform can provide you with valuable call data to enable you to see a breakdown of where you’re spending the most on calls. You can then use this data to make sure you’re on the best call plan to give you the best possible savings. This call data can also provide valuable insights into any misuse of the phone system, helping you to detect where this is occurring and take measures to prevent it.
2. Improving Efficiency
- Connecting Multi-Sites - The fact that may retail businesses have multiple sites doesn’t impact the effectiveness of a hosted phone system as each site runs off a single system hosted in the Cloud and not on locally installed hardware. So call forwarding charges can be avoided as the system acts like a virtual internal system. When staff don’t work at desks or are spread across many sites it can also be difficult to see who’s available to take calls, but with the hosted software you can see in an instant who’s at work and who’s available to take calls.
- Giving customer access to the right people - The inbound calling process can be configured almost in any way to allow you to route calls where they can be answered most effectively. You can have one main central number and then provide callers with more options to speak with a specific location or perhaps a group of people with specialist knowledge of a particular product.
- Analysing Call Data - As the hosted phone system covers all of your sites, it’s really easy from a central place to look at call data by each site. By looking at this data you’re more easily able to spot trends and to find ways to reduce call volume or more efficiently handle calls.
- Handsets perfect for retail environments - Most of the staff in a retail business are either on the shop floor or in a warehouse/distribution centre so it’s important that a phone system caters for their specific needs. These environments are often large areas and can also be noisy. Hosted cordless phones such as the Gigaset R630H has a massive 50m range indoors and 300m outdoors, it also has a handy vibrate option and LED flashlight to indicate incoming calls. The Gigaset battery gives a lengthy 14 hours talk time so no need to keep marching back its charge station. The Gigaset is also really robust with a hardwearing rubber cover, it is dust and waterproof and shock resistant.
- Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery – If your retail business is susceptible to environmental or operational challenges then the online central administration portal can be used from any location to set-up call diverts and emergency messages for customers.
3. Increasing Sales
- Out-of-hours Calls – Although your retail business may not be 24/7, your phone system can still help you capture new business enquiries. Messages left after hours can be emailed as attachments to relevant staff, helping to avoid missed opportunities. This approach also allows multiple staff members to pick up messages rather than relying on one person who has access to a particular handset. Urgent inbound calls can also be routed to your out-of-hours back-up line.
- Promotional Messages - With a hosted phone system you can very easily upload any promotional messages you may wish to play to inbound callers from the central online administration portal. Notify callers about specific special offers or new products you may have introduced. This is a great way to really enhance you product offering and your brand.
- Maximising Inbound Calls - The Call Cloud software can be configured in many ways to allow you to route calls to the appropriate people, prioritise certain calls e.g. sales over general enquiries and provide routes for over-flow calls so that staff on the shop floor can concentrate on the valuable face-to-face customer service.
Easy To Set Up & Scale Up
- Technical Infrastructure - The great thing about a hosted phone system for retailers is that it’s usually fairly simple for them to implement. Most retail units are serviced and have good basic Internet connections. These connections can easily be tapped into and extended to provide you with an Assured Line which is a separate broadband line that caters solely for your phone traffic. So it’s not competing with other Internet-based services such as your card machines and PC’s.
- Scaling Up - Additional users can be added to the Call Cloud system at any time, no complex engineering required. A simple phone call to order extra handsets and to request new users be added to your account is all that’s required.
Interested? Get in touch!
If your business could benefit from the above features, then it’s really worth contacting the team at Call Cloud. Call Cloud hosted phone packages starts from just £14.95 per user and include local and national calls. Minutes to mobiles can also be included too which helps to give you certainty over your expenses.
You can get a comprehensive detailed quote online so you can see for yourself the likely costs of a hosted phone system, alternatively call the Call Cloud team on 0333 006 3091 and they can walk you through it.