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Talk is Key: Expanding your Business Communications
Posted Apr 18, 2019 by James Grieco, MightyCall

Talk is Key: Expanding Your Business Communications With VoIP

Business is hard, regardless of size. And small businesses face unique external and financial pressures. That means entrepreneurs generally need to know how to work with what they have. And one thing most every entrepreneur has is a smartphone.

The more time you spend with a customer, the more likely they are to buy something from your store. Using your phone to have real conversations gives you more opportunities to sell, form relationships, and even gather vital feedback about your business.

If only there was a way to share your phone number with customers without all the drawbacks of sharing your phone number with customers… And wouldn’t ya know it… there is! Voice over Internet Protocol is a new technology that’s revolutionizing personal customer communications for small businesses, and we’ve got all the information you need to help you get started.

In this article we’ll cover…

  • What VoIP and virtual phone numbers are
  • How VoIP makes communicating with customers smoother
  • How improved customer communications will help your business.

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VoIP, In a Nutshell

It’s easy enough to toss your cell phone number up on your website for your customers. The real concern is what comes after. Phone calls 24/7? A deluge of spam calls plaguing your every waking moment? It’s not a pleasant prospect, to be sure.

But there’s a better way to talk to customers that avoids these problems, and it’s called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, VoIP is cloud-based computer software that uses an internet connection to send and handle phone calls at your request.

With VoIP, you receive a new “virtual” business number that isn’t attached to any specific phone, to protect your privacy while simultaneously eliminating the need for a pack mule to transport your phone collection.

virtual business number

Beyond the basics, VoIP synchronizes your phone conversations and business phone with features like call forwarding and an auto-attendant, among dozens of others, to form a foundation for business communications that makes handling, transferring, and taking business calls simple and hassle-free.

Also read: The Art of Positive Communication in Customer Service

The Benefits of VoIP

A few major benefits of VoIP are getting “virtual” business phone numbers and the features those numbers come with. Virtual phone numbers are business numbers that aren’t connected to physical phones, which means you can separate your personal and business numbers to maintain your privacy without buying and carrying around a second phone.

Setting up Caller ID (which takes less than a minute) will show both your business name and the number calling for every business call, making calls super easy to differentiate a business call from a personal one.

virtual phone number for business

Your personal number remains completely safe. If spam does hit your business number, it won’t last long: the black list feature lets you block any number permanently with the click of a button.

A vanity phone number will help people remember your business. Custom greetings, which can be used in a plethora of ways, also help, letting you inject some personality into your company and get important information to customers.

Visual voicemail, voicemail-to-text transcriptions, and unlimited text messaging from your business number are sure to save you time.

virtual voice mail

You can use business hours to reroute calls to other employees or voicemail during inconvenient times.

set up business hours for calls

Call queues and holding music help save calls while you and your employees tend to other matters. You might roll your eyes and wonder who in the world likes waiting around for someone to take their call, but having those features is the difference between saving some calls versus saving none.

Finally, no matter where you customers call from, toll-free calls are free for them, making it a great way for your site visitors to clear things up or place a custom order.

VoIP has a feature to solve or mitigate nearly any problem businesses encounter when communicating with customers. For as great as websites are, people are much more fickle when browsing and shopping online than they are when talking to real live people.

Related: How to Choose Customer Service Channels for Your Business

How to Get Started With More Effective Calls

If you are using Ecwid and interested in seeing how much VoIP could help you, get 50% off your first 6 months of MightyCall.

If your business is strapped for cash or you simply don’t want to subscribe to another service just yet, there are still ways to use your phone and various channels to increase your direct customer communication.

You’re already using your phone and social media for business, so highlight them. Focus on your website design and hotspots — where are you displaying your phone number and social media accounts? If they aren’t front and center or in attention-drawing areas (Check out how it’s done on Ecwid Starter Sites for a good example), put them there immediately.

phone number above the fold

From there, what’s the most surefire way to get customers interested? Incentivization. Give people more when they interact with you on social media or call you to finalize an order; offer discounts or extras for things like retweeting a post or leaving a comment.

customer incentivization

Related: How to Run a Store from Your Smartphone

The Combo: Website + Phone

Your Ecwid website is a great start that puts you ahead of the nearly half of small businesses in the United States that don’t have a website, per the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report.

More people will visit your website than will call you, but combining your website with a virtual business number will ensure that you cater to those customers who need more time or have questions. Being able to talk to customers could be the difference between making 10 sales a day versus 15 sales a day.

phone communications in business

Website analytics show that each “one-second delay in website loading time can lead to a 7% loss in conversion.” If you’re not an IT expert, you shouldn’t risk sales by only using your website to convert.

In fact, most customers don’t want you to do that either, as it looks detached. 65% of customers said they wanted to be able to see a company’s contact info on the website’s main page, and 88% said shopping with businesses that have cross-channel experiences is better.

Telstra found that 28% of customers wanted at least to chat online with a representative before buying something from a company, and likewise, 74% of small business entrepreneurs preferred talking to their customers face-to-face rather than registering a sale anonymously online.

28% of customers wanted at least to chat online with a representative before buying something from a company.

BlueCorona, a marketing analytics company, discovered in a small business survey that 43% of entrepreneurs wanted to focus on improving their customer experience to increase retention and customer loyalty. No matter how good online algorithms are, small businesses that cater to their customers by knowing who they are and what they want will always be a better answer for most people.

***

For all the hoopla about telephone conversations being dead, there are still plenty of people who want to talk about products and services before they buy, as evidenced by the stats above. Don’t neglect that gigantic subset of people.

Show your charm, answer any questions or concerns buyers might have, form lasting customer relationships and get invaluable feedback. For every conversation you have with a customer, you get 10 times the wealth of information that you do from them simply clicking around your website.

About the author
James Grieco is a content marketing manager at MightyCall. When he isn't trying to explain VoIP and its benefits to people, he watches sports or binges detective novels. You can follow him for random and irregular thoughts on Twitter.