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In a world of instant communication, it can be hard to appreciate a simple telephone and what it can do for your business. With so much buzz surrounding internet marketing and social media, it can be easy to forget all else and invest all of your resources into new media.

Yet ignoring the phone services your company should be providing can lead you into serious danger, and can lead to a decrease in the quality of customer service and also lead to a failure in converting phone leads into sales.

So why should your small business invest more money in a small business phone system whilst everybody else is running towards the Internet? Here are some reasons why phones still matter (and will continue to matter) for small businesses.

1. Voice communication still matters for customer service

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While social media is starting to grow in terms of its capability to process customer service issues, it often becomes cumbersome to discuss complex issues over tweets and many people do not feel comfortable sending personal information in a Facebook message. Simply put, voice communication via phones is the easiest and the simplest way to provide quality and effective customer service as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

This may change when VoIP becomes more popular, but in the present phones are simply the easiest way to communicate when explaining a problem. Get customer service is what turns a one-time customer into a returning customer, so ensure you have open phone lines, workers with a professional phone manner and an efficient problem solving team if you want to capitalize on the gains of great customer service.

2. Phone communication can be a deal-clincher

If your small business engages in a fair amount of B2B commerce, then it is likely that you will spend at least a proportion of your time negotiating prices and haggling over costs. Again, using a phone is the simplest and most effective way to communicate what you want and close a deal with aplomb.

Those who run e-commerce businesses are generally less likely to need this sort of communication with their customers, as their customers can simply drop what they need in their ‘shopping cart’ and checkout. However, if your business thrives on long-term deals or bulk orders, then you need to build relationships and build them well. The best way to do this is to get personal: don’t hide behind a computer screen.

3. A dedicated phone line is a must for local businesses

Local businesses benefit the most from reinforcing their phone services because many local businesses still rely on traditional advertising methods such as print media to get the word out there. If your advertising focus is largely based on local print media, then it will probably be your phone number that you list as a primary contact point, not an email address or a website.

If this sounds like you, then you need to make sure that your phone services can deal with the volume of calls you are likely to receive, and that you can start processing orders and deals from the minute the phone rings. These are tough times for local businesses, and doing everything you can to lock in that local factor is extremely important to your success.

4. Zoning in on an older clientele

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If your customer base is older than average or even specifically aimed at the elderly, then the likelihood is that they are both less likely to use the internet and less likely to be able to see you in person. This leaves the telephone as their primary means of communication. If you have a handle on your demographic needs and know this could be an issue, then make sure you are equipped to deal with it. Ensuring that you have a clean and clear phone line that will benefit your older clientele isn’t just polite: it’s good business sense.

5. Upping your corporate face

Whether many people phone your business or not, you should be ensuring that the face you show those who call is corporate, professional and friendly. Ensuring that those who answer your phone present your business well is incredibly important to forging your particular corporate identity, and it does a lot to instil a sense of security in those who deal with you. If your business phone line simply consists of you picking up your phone in the middle of doing twelve other tasks, you will not be able to give off a professional air which comforts potential clients.

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Posted by Ashley Williamson

Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger interested in business, marketing, SEO and startup companies. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can.

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