If you’re a small business owner, you may often feel you get the short end of the stick when it comes to new telecommunications technology. And you’re not wrong. Most innovations put out by major telecommunication firms are designed for large companies, and that makes them too unwieldy for SMB needs and too expensive for SMB budgets.
However, the “democratization of technology” is making telecommunications and other high-tech solutions work for all – including small businesses and consumers. What does democratization mean for you? Read on for five outcomes, and how you can leverage them to the advantage of your business and your customers.
More Competition Between Providers
Democratization means more telecom providers are focusing on small businesses and adapting their products to your specific needs. You no longer have to rely on a few carriers for services like a business phone line. Both telecom giants and smaller, more nimble telecom companies are vying for your business, and they might offer landline, cellular or VoIP options – or all of the above. Additionally, making a change doesn’t necessarily mean losing your current phone number. Providers can often port your number to the new service, or some services can be layered onto your existing service, saving you from having to pull out of an existing contract.
Bottom line: competition is bound to work in your favor. Take time to shop around and get the best deal on the services you want.
We’ve heard of small businesses paying $70 or more for a basic business phone line from a major telecom service provider. Then, if you add features like Business Texting, voice messaging and more, the costs go even higher. Democratization, in contrast, puts downward pressure on prices as service providers align with small-business budgets.
A VoIP business line, equipped with Business Texting, voicemail and text auto-reply, can cost as little as $15/month per user. That means your business will have money left over to spend on marketing, product development, merchandizing or other investments small businesses need in order to grow.
More Features You Need
Democratization has made telecom features available to small businesses that previously belonged to large-volume accounts alone; for example, Business Texting, voicemail transcription, shared numbers, text auto-reply and business hours. These features not only upgrade your interactions with customers, they drive more business your way at a time when e-commerce is pulling consumers online for their shopping. A recent Cloudli-commissioned survey revealed 94% of consumers want to support small, local businesses and 76% of consumers would be more likely to follow through if they could text with those companies. That means having features like Business Texting is not just a novelty, it’s a smart and essential tool for doing business.
Ability to Provide Better Customer Service
When small businesses have access to the same telecommunications as large companies, they can provide the high level of customer service they desire – even with a bare-bones staff. For example, with a voice-plus-text-enabled business line like Cloudli’s TalkNText, your customers will never mistakenly text a landline expecting a reply, or leave a voicemail and wonder if anyone will listen to it. Instead, voice messages to the VoIP business line are transcribed and stored on the app, where you can read and respond from any mobile device, anywhere you go. You can even share the phone number with others on your staff, so they can pick up calls and texts quickly when you’re not available.
When you can offer multi-channel communication, as well as responsive and personalized customer service, customers are more likely to stay loyal to your business and recommend it to others.
Power to Work from Anywhere
Small business owners used to feel tethered to their shop, because they couldn’t afford to miss a call. Or, they took the workplace with them by using their personal cell phone for everything, which made having downtime difficult. Democratized telecommunications give you the technology needed to work from anywhere, but on your terms. For instance, with Cloudli’s TalkNText, you can answer calls and texts on any mobile device or computer, using the app. But you can also set the business hours feature, which controls when messages should go through, and when they should be sent directly to voicemail. When you’re back at work and it’s convenient, you read and respond. Meanwhile, your personal phone line stays personal, much healthier for work-life balance.
Is It for You?
Whether you’re a solopreneur, micro-business owner or franchisee, you need democratized communications technology that works for you. It must help you keep up with customer demands and make your mark in today’s fast-paced, online-shopping environment, without requiring huge expenditures in equipment or monthly fees.
If you’re considering upgrading your business phone system, give Cloudli TalkNText a try – and check out our 7-day trial! We developed the app-based service specifically for SMBs who want all the benefits big companies enjoy without the heavy set-up and subscription charges. TalkNText runs as low as $15 per user per month, and it’s as easy to install as creating an online account and logging on. Everything is cloud-based and runs right through our mobile or desktop apps.
Real estate firms, property management companies, franchises, restaurants, contractors and consultants, retail and personal care businesses are just a sampling of the types of SMBs who are using TalkNText for business communications. Talk to one of our product specialists to discuss your business needs and ask any questions.