Is Your Telephone Working for Your Competition?
By Mark Richardson
John P. had a problem. He just couldn't figure out what it was.
Six months ago, he had started his own small business, working out of an office in his home. The first few months he did extremely well. People liked his service and his client list rapidly grew.
Then everything seemed to change. Several clients went with his competition. Prospects he was certain were sold, ended up selecting other companies.
Finally, in desperation, he went to one of his ex-clients and asked, "What did I do that made you switch services?"
"It was really nothing you did, John. You just became so busy and were out of your office so much we could never reach you."
It was then that John realized his own telephone was working for his competition.
The first thing he did was go shopping for a business telephone system. But what he found only added to his frustration. To install a telephone system in his home office would cost several thousand dollars. This was money John didn't have.
That afternoon he was telling a friend his problem when the friend asked, "Why don't you do what I did? Get a toll-free number pbx telephone communication service?"
John gave his friend a puzzled look. "Toll-free? Why would I need a toll-free number? Most of my business is local."
"This might surprise you, John, but did you know that people are more likely to call an 800 number than a local number? Plus, the toll-free number helps make you a standout even in a local market. Besides, who says you're going to remain local forever. Think ahead and prepare."
John still wasn't buying. "Maybe so. But the whole thing sounds way too expensive for me. Right now I'm working on a very slim budget."
"Do you think you might manage $9.99 a month?"
"Yeah, I could do that. But is that all I get? Just a toll-free number?"
John's friend smiled. "Not even close. Along with the toll-free number you get a total communication package. It's one of the greatest services available for a small businessman, such as yourself.
"For example, I bet one of your biggest problems is having your telephone answered."
"Yeah...that's a major problem," John admitted. "My wife is supposed to answer the phone but she's often over at her mother's or tied up with our two young kids."
"Okay. How about a telephone system where a call from a client or prospect is always answered and there is never a busy signal?"
"So who answers the phone?" John asked.
"Well, you have several choices. You can have the call answered by you, a receptionist at your toll-free telephone service or your own voice mail. Plus, there's one other option. Let's say you're going to be at a client's office all morning. You can have your calls forwarded to the client's number or your cell phone."
"That sounds like I'll end up spending a lot more than $9.99 a month."
"I know. It sounds too good to be true. But you haven't heard about some of the other features. For example, the messages you receive on your voice mail are recorded as wav files and immediately emailed to you? That way you can retrieve them anywhere at anytime on your computer or laptop. Or, of course, you can hear them over any phone by tapping into your voice mail system.
"Also, think about this. Let's say you're expecting an important call or fax. When it arrives, a text message will be instantly sent to your cell phone or PDA to let you know."
John shook his head. "This sounds pretty unbelievable. Particularly since I always thought only big and successful companies had toll-free numbers."
"A lot of people think that way. So what happens? People start seeing you as a big and successful company. Plus, it's a great advertising tool."
"So if I sign up with one of these services, how does that affect my home phone? That's my primary communication tool right now."
"For one thing, it will allow you to keep your personal phone number private. All you ever give anyone is your toll-free number. No separate numbers for fax...cell...office...home...or whatever. And with that number you can be reached 24/7. What's more, you never have to change it. If your area code changes or you move to an office building, you take your number with you.
"Here's one other thing. Toll-free business phones can provide a custom phone number that relates to your business. For example, a florist might want the number 1-800-FLOWERS. Just think how easy a number like that is to remember and how it can benefit your business."
John smiled and put out his hand. "Okay, it sounds good. But I'm going to have to check it out for myself. When I get back to the office I'll look up some toll-free business telephone services on the Internet."
"Sounds good...but just a word of caution, John. You want a reliable service and one that offers all and more of the features I've mentioned. Remember, this service is going to become an important part of your business so choose wisely."
John's friend was asking John to be more cautious only for the reason that there are many providers with different calling rates. 'Many providers charge double for a forwarded call' which the users might not know at the time of buying a Toll Free Number.
Manohar Chapalamadugu is the president and founder of 800PBX Inc. The company offers reliable and affordable Toll Free PBX services with no double billing. Visit http://www.800pbx.com .
About the Author
Mark Richardson is an in-house writer for 800PBX Inc, the provider of Toll Free Number with PBX Services. He is a regular reader and writer of business articles.
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