How VoIP Can Strengthen Your Company’s Brand
A strong brand is essential to company success. It gives a business a clear identity and in turn increases customer loyalty.
A strong brand is essential to company success. It gives a business a clear identity, helps build preference for its products and services and can increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases. Overall, a strong brand helps build long-term revenue and profitability.
A key contributor to brand strength is the quality of customer experience when consumers or business buyers interact with brands. The Strativity Group, a customer experience consultancy, found that almost 40 percent of customers interact with their favorite company at least weekly, making the quality of customer interactions very important.
The group’s CX Pulse Study found that frequency of contact had a direct impact on brand loyalty. Respondents claiming to be loyal to brands dropped from a high of 87 percent who interacted daily to 64 percent interacting weekly, 49 percent monthly and 33 percent a few times a year.
Communications influence brand perceptions
Because the telephone and other communications channels play an important role in customer interactions, it’s essential for a business to create a great experience every time customers get in touch.(Voice over Internet Protocol) is an advanced communications solution that provides features and services to enhance the customer experience.
VoIP gives customers a choice of communications channels and ensures that callers can reach the right person quickly and easily. It lets employees personalize their response and provides detailed analytics that give in-depth insight into customers’ preferences and experience with a company’s communications channels.
Meeting customers’ communications preferences
While the telephone remains an important point of contact between a company and its customers, other channels are gaining favor. Customers may not want to spend time on the phone, particularly if they have to wait in a queue for a response.
VoIP gives customers a greater choice of channels. They can send texts, instant messages and faxes, call or send messages from mobile devices, or hold video and web conferences from a variety of enabled devices.
VoIP lets employees handle any type of incoming call or message efficiently on a single platform. All incoming messages, for example, are accessible through a single unified inbox so employees don’t have to check a number of different devices before responding. That helps employees provide a fast response and ensures that customers get the same consistent brand experience through the channel of their choice.
Reaching the right contact
Being able to reach the right contact quickly and easily is an important part of the brand experience. A complex IVR (Interactive voice response) system can frustrate callers, so it is essential to make the options clear.
Customers also expect minimal delays when they call. VoIP incorporates sophisticated call routing systems that businesses can customize to suit their calling patterns. For example, they can set business rules that prioritize calls from major customers or distribute calls from different regions to designated employees.
If a customer wants to contact a named individual, VoIP takes care of that too. The system can be set to ring a series of desk, home, mobile and other designated numbers simultaneously. If that individual is not available, the system can be set to default to voicemail or a named colleague.
Minimizing peak time delays
Although VoIP’s call routing reduces call waiting times, customers can experience delays at peak periods. These delays can damage a brand’s reputation, particularly if the calls relate to an effective marketing campaign or a product recall.
A telephone number is a popular response mechanism for marketing campaigns. If a campaign is very successful, the high volume of calls can overwhelm a company’s capacity. Delays can create a poor experience, which wipes out any brand benefits marketing had achieved during the campaign.
Similarly, a recall campaign means that a brand is already vulnerable. Frustrated or concerned customers expect a prompt response and any delay can cause further damage to the brand.
VoIP reduces the risk of delays and brand damage by making additional capacity available on demand. Supervisors can order additional virtual lines through a web portal and those are available immediately with no need to wait for the installation of new physical lines. When the peak period is over, supervisors can restore capacity to normal levels.
This level of scalability makes it easy to maintain capacity at the right level and deliver the right brand experience.
Offering service round the clock
A business can improve the brand experience by making it easy for customers to contact at times convenient to them. A potential customer might carry out Internet research in the evening after work and may want to get more information. Just providing a voicemail service after business hours may not be sufficient.
VoIP lets businesses set up virtual call centers to handle after-hours calls. Supervisors can set the system to route those calls to remote agents based at home or in other locations. Service providers can deploy a complete VoIP service to remote agents from the cloud so that customers experience a consistent call quality and a set of services around the clock.
This feature can also help businesses provide a convenient live response to export customers operating in different time zones. That helps build a consistent brand experience around the world.
Providing a personalized response
Treating callers as individuals is an important part of the brand experience. When businesses call customers and prospects, providing information that is relevant also creates a great experience.
VoIP supports high levels of personalization by integrating communications with customer relationship management (CRM) systems. CRM systems hold comprehensive information on customers’ contact details, product or service preferences, purchase histories, and responses to marketing and promotional campaigns in one convenient place.
When employees take a call, they can quickly access a pop-up CRM screen triggered by caller ID. They can then address customers by name and don’t have to waste time asking for details that are available on the screen. If customers are calling to place repeat orders, for example, agents can streamline the process, saving customers’ time and effort.
When telesales agents are making outbound calls, they can use the CRM information to develop customized offers based on customers’ preferences, making it easier to cross-sell or up-sell products and services that are relevant to customers’ individual needs.
Differentiating brands through service
Businesses can differentiate their brands by offering levels of service that are superior to their competitors’ offerings. VoIP supports this by making different communications options available.
In financial services, for example, firms can offer their clients advice and guidance via video or web conference. Consultants can use VoIP’s file sharing capability to incorporate presentations, charts, spreadsheets and other content in conference calls to provide their clients with a comprehensive source of advice.
Businesses can also use the ability to escalate calls to video as a way of moving a brand upmarket. They can offer different levels of service to selected customers based on their expenditure. Large customers, for example, have access to the premium video-based service. Smaller customers make contact through other channels.
Consistent experience across all touchpoints
Customers may contact many different parts of the company, so it’s important to the brand experience that they receive a consistent service at every touchpoint.
They may contact customer service with a product inquiry, the helpdesk with a technical problem or the accounts department with an invoice query. And, they may receive calls from the telesales team.
VoIP ensures that each incoming call is routed efficiently to an agent or employee with the information to provide a prompt personalized service. When customers contact a business through other channels, VoIP’s unified messaging service ensures that the company handles all messages quickly and efficiently.
Strengthening relationships through regular contact
As the Strativity Group found, brand loyalty tends to increase with frequency of contact. VoIP supports regular communications with automated services that also save time and improve productivity.
When a customer places an order, for example, VoIP can automate order acknowledgment, confirmation of dispatch and offers of related products or services. Following a service request, VoIP can automate progress reports on fault resolution or notification of service visits. These notifications demonstrate that the company is customer-focused and capable of handling requests efficiently.
VoIP can also be used to distribute information on new products, promotional offers or company news. The notifications can be personalized and distributed through customers’ preferred channels.
Automated communications ensure that companies maintain regular, frequent communications with customers and help reinforce brand values with each contact.
Insight into brand performance
VoIP’s analytics provide valuable insight into a company’s performance against its brand standards and into the impact of marketing campaigns on brand strength.
Call reports are available through a web portal. They provide useful information on the number of incoming calls, call waiting times, lost calls, calls that are transferred and calls that require callbacks. These can highlight problems or patterns that could be affecting the brand experience, and give supervisors the information they need to plan changes.
VoIP can also measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. By allocating specific numbers to different campaign elements such as price, promotional offer or brand messages, marketers can assess the approaches that generated the best response and helped strengthen brand recognition.
Improving competitive performance
VoIP offers many features and services that help to strengthen brands by improving the customer experience across the multiple touchpoints that customers use to interact with a business.