Completing an audit of your telephone and IT communications system may seem too technical, daunting or that there are no real benefits. However, following our easy guide can help you find long-term savings for your business, as well as improve day-to-day efficiency. Consider the questions below and perform your own brief audit that could identify problem areas that need resolving.
How vital is your internet connection to the day-to-day running of the business? Do you find yourself wanting to throw tech out of the window because of how slow it is? Do your conference-call connections drop when too many people join?
Having a reliable connection increases productivity. When your staff are not waiting for systems to load (anything from card payments, streaming webinars to e-commerce) they are able to optimise their time and maximise efficiency.
Which? have an easy to use Broadband Checker so you can compare the speed advertised with your actual speed.
Internet speeds have rocketed since the days of dial up and they show no signs of slowing either. Even if your internet seems fast now, it may not be so fast five years down the line with double your current staff and customer base therefore future proofing your connectivity should be a priority.
Check the level of uptime guarantee that your provider offers and what sort of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) you have.
SLAs in particular are an important part of the contract between you and your network provider. If your internet connections goes down, what will they do to get you back up and running and how soon? Will you lose a couple of hours or several days of productivity?
Double check your contract and decide if it meets your business’ needs.
How many landlines and mobiles do you use? Can your phones handle five-times your average call volume, all at once? Which ones get used most? Are your calls recorded and if not, should they be?
Ask yourself if there’s any way to improve the experience for the customer. Is your phone number memorable? Would the business benefit from having a local dial code (01) or an 03 or 0800 number?
VoiP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and cloud solutions are increasingly cost-effective solutions for businesses that may have geographically separated sites or require call recording. This is especially true if you’re using a PBX systems that hosts the calls within the company’s own internet system, providing free calls within the business, which could be a major cost-cutter.
A missed call is a missed opportunity to connect with a new or existing customer. Getting a plan in place to reduce your missed calls to zero ensures that you’re making the most of every conversation and maximising your possible revenue.
Some cloud solutions offer call data analysis which will help you find when your phones are at their peak volume and exactly how many opportunities you are missing on a regular basis. Features can be accessed through an easy-to-use web portal, with your data already graphed and ready to go, so there’s no Excel-wizardry required to see where you can start improving.
Analysing your bills can give you some useful insights; how much data is used in the month? Are you over/under using your data allowance and what are the penalties if you exceed it?
There is certainly a temptation within small to medium businesses to believe that consumer-level networks will serve their needs. However, if you consider lost revenue from slow speeds and downtime because of an unreliable connection, a future-proofed network designed for your specific usage is much more beneficial and cost effective as a long-term solution.
Many providers offer Bill Comparison Services so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you’re getting value for money.
What will happen to your website, phone system or internet service, if the worst happens?
No one likes to consider it but power cuts, theft, flood/fire damage and hacking are all realistic possibilities. If you don’t have a plan for the worst, you leave your business at risk of massive losses (customers, revenue, respect in the industry). It’s something that you should never need to use but you’ll rest better knowing it’s there, just in case.
If you answered ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’ to any of those five questions, a Business Communications Audit should start moving its way towards the top of your To-Do list.
City Talk offer a free, no-obligation audit so that you can find out where your business can improve. Click here to request yours.