By Bruce Freeman
The Small Business Professor
Q: I’m a tax consultant to small businesses in a variety of sectors. I work from a desk in my home office most days but don’t want my customers to know that. I have a great website and nice looking business cards. How do I make my home phone match that level of professionalism?
A: Just because you work in jeans and a T-shirt doesn’t mean you can’t sound like you’re wearing a suit. With a good business phone service, you can hand pick the features that showcase your services and meet your callers’ needs. Your goal is to create a killer phone recording.
Here are a few pointers from Ari Rabban, CEO of Phone.com, a business communications firm.
-Build a phone menu that starts with an upbeat greeting, telling callers briefly what you do and who you serve.
-Then route customers based on their needs, letting them choose the outcome they want, to leave a message for you, transfer to your mobile number if you’re out of the office, or to hear more detailed information. If you want to provide recorded info on tax deadlines, requirements or facts in an automated message, you can easily make that part of your menu.
-You can also direct callers to different extensions for their type of business, even if each of those “departments” rings
through to the same desk or mobile phone. This is a way to make your business sound more diversified and Main Street than it is.
-To make your message sound flawless, consider paying for a professional recording. Some phone providers offer this service for a small fee, making it easy to convert your phone script into a polished message. Also, use professional hold music that you know will appeal to your callers.
-Finally, if your provider offers it, use a voicemail-to-text service to deliver phone messages immediately to your cell phone or email inbox. This will save time and help you respond more quickly to your clients, even when you’re away from your home desk.
Your business phone service should offer all of the recording tools and menu options that make this kind of customization easy, even on a small-business budget.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications.