Businesses are the lifeblood of any vibrant economy. They contribute not only to the economy but also in uplifting the lives of the citizens. India has become a hub for startups and is all set to dominate the world in every marketplace. In a competitive market like India, companies are required to make continuous efforts to stay afloat.
Branding is a major factor for success as a brand name sells itself. Enrapturing the minds and hearts of customers with a positive and trustworthy image of a company is what makes a brand. Branding appears to be a vexing challenge for startups. But, with the right tools and techniques, this task can be made much easier.
Cloud telephony is one such technique that should be leveraged to move forward in the right direction. Moving to cloud telephony can make a business stand out and bring in huge profits.
What is Cloud Telephony?
Cloud telephony, also known as hosted telephony, is the communication technology in which all communication devices and applications are hosted at the service provider’s premises. These applications are made accessible to the customers through the “cloud.”
Cloud is a relatively new term that can be described as a network of servers hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem. Cloud telephony is replacing traditional telephony equipment and is taking over businesses by storm. It is predicted that the cloud telephony market will grow at CAGR of 17.2% from 2018 to 2026.
But what benefits does cloud telephony behold for startups? What difference can it make?
Since its introduction, cloud telephony has acted as a catalyst for companies in their journey from business to brand. It provides a plethora of opportunities that new budding startups can grasp to achieve impeccable results.
First, let’s take a look at the reasons why startups need a cloud telephony system.
– Remote Accessibility of Resources:
Flexibility of work is a priority for every worker in today’s time. People are always on the move, and cannot be glued to a desk to get their work done. Storing data on the cloud makes it possible to access it remotely.
– Scalability of Business:
Start-ups of today are the enterprises of tomorrow. Scaling up the company should never come in the way of full filling this dream. Whereas traditional storing requires bulk hardware, cloud technologies can be scaled up and down without any hassle.
– Improved Customer Experience:
Customer’s buying decision is not solely dependent on the quality of the products and the services. Today they consider the holistic experience a company has to offer. With tools like toll-free numbers, cloud telephony significantly improves customer experience.
– Ease of Call Handling:
One key factor contributing to startup’s growth in India is the large number of customers India has to offer. This advantage comes with the responsibility of handling huge loads of calls and data. Multiple call handling is one of the most significant advantages of cloud telephony services like IVR.
– Data Analysis:
As is said, the 21st century is definitely the century of data. Data analysis and its usage have got a new place in every business’s strategy today. Complete and easy to evaluate reports are available at the doorstep for the user to evaluate. This data is generated automatically which leaves no room for mistakes.
– Data Recovery:
Disaster management is another addition to the checklist of every modern business. Data storage and retrieval are both a problem with traditional setups. Cloud telephony providers have secure servers that keep a backup of the data. The data can be accessed by the owners in case of any disaster.
How Startups Can Build A Brand Image With Cloud Telephony
Launching a business and making it a brand are two different ball games. Mastering the later is a trait only a few achieve. Branding and making use of cloud telephony services have a close relationship that very few startups understand.
To get a deeper understanding of the relation we first need to understand that cloud telephony is not a single product or service. It is a combined set of widespread communication services. All these services cumulatively raise your startup to a brand level. Below we will discuss which cloud telephony service can help you become a brand and how.
1) Toll-Free Number:
Toll-free numbers are one of the most well-known cloud telephony services. They are special numbers starting with digits 1800, 0800 or 800 depending on the country and are widely used by brands. Still, they are overlooked by many startups.
To understand the benefits of toll-free number, we first need to know how they work.
Toll free number is a number that is free to call for the caller. The expenses are paid by the receiver, i.e., the company being called. Another thing to remember is that a toll-free number can only be used for incoming calls, and no outgoing calls can be made using it.
A subdomain of toll-free numbers is “Vanity numbers.” The only difference between the two is their appearance. Specially selected toll free numbers that are easy to memorise are called Vanity numbers. Many of these are phone words, occasionally all-numeric numbers are also used. They can be best understood with the help of examples:
Numeric vanity number: 1800-11-3333
Phone words: 1800-FLOWERS (Dialed as 1800-3569377)
As seen in the above examples, vanity numbers are easy to remember and are hence are helpful in enhancing brand recall value.
How Can Toll-Free Numbers and Vanity Numbers Help You Become A Brand?
One of the most significant confusion of startups is that if toll-free numbers are fit only for brands, so why should they use it?
The answer to this question lies in the question itself. The fact that people associate toll-free numbers with brands is why you should consider getting one for yourself. Simple.
Secondly, brands want to reach out to customers in the smoothest way possible. For this, they must remove all barriers that hinder a customer to make calls. This is another important reason why brands opt for a toll free number and why your startup should, too.
Apart from giving businesses the look of a brand and helping customers reach them, toll-free numbers can help in several other ways as well. Let’s have a quick look at them:
– National Presence:
Unlike phone numbers that require customers to attach city code to it while calling from different states, toll-free numbers do not have any such limitations. Customers can contact a company from any part of the country on their toll-free number without using any additional code.
– Recall Value:
By making smart use of toll-free numbers, one can create a brand recall value in the mind of the customers. For example, a car seller could use a number such as 1800-FOR-CARS with the assurance that customers will easily recall the brand whenever in need.
– Multiple Call Handling:
Call handling is severely improved with these numbers. Wherein on a traditional phone number at max, only two calls can be operated (one live call and one waiting call); there is no such limit with toll-free numbers. One can get multiple channels as per their requirements and receive numerous calls on a single number.
2) Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System:
While toll-free number gives the impression of a brand to the eyes, IVR provides the same for the ears. IVR is a telephony system that is used to interact with the callers without any human intervention. In simple words, it is a recorded voice that is used to answer incoming calls.
IVR presents a list of menu options to the callers and prompts them to respond by choosing one of the options. IVR systems can understand both voice or numeric inputs and thus can work seamlessly without any human assistance.
IVRs can be divided into two categories namely single level IVR and multi-level IVR.
Single Level IVR:
This type of IVR is usually used by small businesses that have a limited number of customers. This system has only one layer of menu options; still, it can be used in several ways, such as conducting surveys, greeting customers, and connecting customers to agents.
Multi Level IVR:
As the name suggests, multi level IVR has multiple layers of menu options, which can be extended as per the needs. With each input, the customer is taken to the next layer of menu options. This division helps in better filtering and handling of the customer. Big companies and enterprises with huge call volumes mostly use this type of IVR.
Now, Let Us Understand How IVR Can Help You Build A Brand Image.
One element common to every successful business is its professionalism. Professionalism is reflected not only in the way a company delivers its product but also in every aspect of their behavior.
Businesses train professionals to greet every call with the same enthusiasm and professionalism, but it does not turn out as desired every time. There are always uncertain circumstances roaming around the corner that can disturb the performance of a human. Thus, relying on a recorded voice is a smarter option.
IVR helps receive every call with the same level of professionalism without any failure. However, one myth that needs clearance is that the voices in IVR are all robotic. IVR provides an option of using human voice instead of a robotic one, and some companies like Servetel also offer the option of getting the IVR recorded by their voice professionals (For FREE!).
Added advantages of IVR are:
– Low Cost:
A tool that provides significant returns with small investment is a win-win for any business. Training agents to sound professional while communicating with the customers is both time consuming and burdensome on the pocket. IVR is a winner on both ends.
– Improved Customer Satisfaction:
Customers using IVR can get their desired information in seconds without waiting in long queues for the same. This self-help property of IVRs is linked to improved customer satisfaction, leading to higher customer retention.
– Round the Clock Service:
In this competitive world of business, time should no more be a barrier. IVR equips businesses with the ability to provide 24*7 service to its customers without any human intervention.
Recommended read : IVR – All Questions Answered
3) SMS and Voice broadcasting:
“Happy New Year on behalf of XYZ company”
We receive such calls and messages by brands on almost every major occasion. But why do brands send such messages, and more importantly, how? Do they type in a personalised message for every customer they have and record a message to each one of them personally?
Thankfully the answer is “No.”
Imagine having to type in thousands of messages with the same text and sending them one by one or calling thousands of numbers and wishing them. It would have been a highly daunting task, more than our imagination. Fortunately, brands do not do this manually. They make use of unique cloud telephony tools called voice broadcasting and bulk SMS.
Let Us Take A Deeper Look Into Becoming A Brand With SMS And Voice Broadcasting
In order to become a brand, a business needs not only a big customer base but also an efficacious way to communicate with them.
Effectively reaching thousands of customers in time is a humongous challenge. With the help of SMS and Voice Broadcasting service, businesses can simply feed in their message, upload the list of contacts and send it across to everyone on that list with a single click.
The benefits of voice broadcasting and bulk SMS are spread over a wide range of domains. This technique is also used for specific targeting by creating multiple campaigns. The most common example of which is the “Exclusive offers” that companies use to attract customers. Brands also use sender IDs to help customers easily recognize the brand.
“Making the voice heard” is fundamental for any business. The more audience a business reaches, the better. Enterprises spend huge chunks of money to reach a larger audience and turn them into customers.
SMS and Voice broadcasting is definitely the most pocket-friendly and easy to use service for achieving this goal. Other benefits of using SMS and Voice Broadcasting service are as mentioned below;
– Conducting Surveys:
As mentioned before, data is the king in today’s world. Businesses try to gather data continuously to improve their products and services according to customer requirements. Apart from reaching the customers, broadcasting service can also be used as a tool for gathering information.
– Personal Touch:
Apart from creating a recall value by using a unique sender ID, broadcasting can also be used to deliver personalised messages. This task might look daunting, but with cloud telephony, it is effortless to perform. The name of the receiver can be easily included in the message. Multiple campaigns can also be put in action to target the customers accordingly.
– Customer Reminders:
This technique is used to ensure that customers are never left behind for any task and that they stay in the loop always. Reminders are helpful for the customer and the company as it reminds them of renewal plans, bill payments, scheduled events, and much more.
It is clear from the above blog that cloud telephony is an essential tool for making the transition from a business to a brand smoother and faster.
In A Nutshell
“Use Toll-free numbers to look like a brand, IVR systems to feel like a brand and SMS and Voice broadcasting to Sound like a brand.”