5 minute read |

Identify and address SMB communication problems

VoIP phone service background

Businesses of all sizes – large or small – face communication issues. But the challenge facing small and medium companies is greater as they rarely have the resources to tackle them. SMB communication problems run the gamut from customers unable to reach service agents to employees having difficulty communicating with colleagues. When left untouched, small issues can snowball into much bigger problems, effectively crippling your organization. Is there a way to solve these communication problems in time?

Identifying the root cause

One of the biggest mistakes enterprises make when trying to solve SMB communication problems is fixing the symptoms instead of the disease. Consider a business whose customers are frustrated with long hold times. How can you solve it? Well, the first step is to identify the cause of the long hold times. Is it because of a lack of manpower or inefficient technology? It quickly becomes obvious that the solution will be different in each scenario.

If you are facing communication issues in your organization, it is more than likely that others have faced similar issues. So here are the most common SMB communication problems that businesses encounter and how you can solve them.

Common SMB Communication Problems

Slow decision-making

Slow decision-making is a big problem for small and medium businesses. The reasons are numerous but commonly include:

  1. Staff waiting for replies from colleagues or managers
  2. Teams searching for suitable meeting times
  3. Employees waiting for information from various departments or project leads
  4. Customer service agents unable to contact the right person to get answers
  5. Collaborative technology is either absent or inefficient

Businesses often underestimate the time employees waste simply waiting for replies or information from someone else. You need a system that minimizes such downtime as much as possible.

Use conference calling, multi-channel communication, and internal transfers

One solution is to implement a good conference calling system. Even better if it’s integrated or packaged with your existing phone system. Now virtual meetings help distributed teams meet and collaborate on projects. Allow employees to communicate over multiple channels so they can video call, talk, text, message, or chat with anyone in the company. Staff can also use the internal call transfer feature to get answers quickly or connect customers to the right person.

Missed calls

Missed calls are the bane of every small and medium business out there. Every missed call represents a missed opportunity such as lost sales, loss of customer trust, or the potential failure of a crucial project. As it keeps happening, your customers will slowly lose their trust in you to solve their problems and go elsewhere. How often do your staff miss calls due to stepping away from their desk or because their voicemail inbox is full? If this happens often in your office, here are some potential solutions.

Visual voicemail, call groups, and multi-device ring

Voicemail has been around for a long time but today’s interation is much more powerful than previous generations. Don’t force employees to call a number and listen to endless messages. Use visual voicemail that sends a transcription straight to your email inbox. Note down pertinent details and reply to customers as quickly as possible.

Another option to prevent missed calls is to use call groups. Sometimes customers are not looking for a specific person to solve their issue. Anyone in the team – whether sales or service – can help them out. So allow any free staff member to answer the call instead of routing it to a specific extension.

The multi-device ring feature is yet another effective solution. It allows staff to add multiple devices to ring – in a chain or in parallel – when a call comes in. The person can answer on the closest device, instead of running back to their desk.

Lack of contact with remote employees

There was a time when working from home or anywhere away from the office was an option for a privileged few. As the current pandemic has shown, remote working is not only feasible but may even be preferable to many companies. But working from home adds a different aspect to SMB communication – remote employees are often forgotten or left out of important projects. How can you encourage staff to maintain contact with everyone, regardless of where they work?

Multi-channel communication, video chats, and powerful mobile software

Employees working from home miss the visual cues and in-person meetings that are essential to effective communication. So you can use video chats and virtual meetings to ensure everyone stays in touch. Enabling multiple channels also helps – staff can choose the best way to reach out based on context, time of day, or other factors. Another helpful feature is to bring mobile software on par with desktop applications. Employees should be able to access every tool they need, whether they’re working on a laptop or tablet.

The wait time for customers is too long

This is a common problem for businesses of all sizes. No matter how many resources you have, you will eventually reach a point where call volume is higher than what your staff can handle. So what do you do when customers end up waiting for 30 minutes or more just to talk to an agent?

ACD queues, call routing, and IVR options

A combination of ACD queues, call routing, and effective IVR options can help you tackle this particular SMB communication problem. An IVR system can help customers get answers to simple queries such as account status or payment information without the need for a person. It will also get them to the right department or person to solve their problem. As the IVR handles simple queries, you have fewer callers staying on the line.

Then use ACD queues to send calls to free agents. Managers can quickly add staff to the queue when call volume exceeds normal levels. At the same time, implement intelligent call routing based on the time of day or skills of the agents. Having multiple teams in different time zones can help you serve customers throughout the day. Skills-based call routing ensures customers can talk to knowledgeable staff right away.

Staff is unavailable or busy

Quick question: how many times does your staff try to contact someone to solve a problem or make a decision only to get a busy signal or no answer? At the other end, you have frustrated staff who are interrupted at crucial times only to answer a simple question.

Presence information and multi-device ring

Presence or status information allows employees to indicate their availability to others. So if one staff member is trying to reach someone, a quick glance let them know if it is a good time or if the other person is busy. Users can set their status too busy, available, away from the desk, or any other custom option. Combine presence information with the multi-device ring feature to make sure no one is disturbed but also help people communicate with each other.

Disconnected communication

This is a problem that organizations are running into lately. As you increase the number of available communication channels,  employees run into the issue of having to select one before initiating contact.

Having too many choices also impedes decision-making and hinders productivity. Between texting, messaging, calling, video chatting, virtual meetings, and the number of apps available for each, messages get lost quite frequently.  How often does a user return to their desk only to find multiple voicemails, text messages, and missed calls from the same colleague about the same problem?

Unified communication and integrated solutions

Unified communication is often dismissed as a marketing tool but it can be highly effective in the right context. It is simply the term applied to several applications that integrate and work together to provide a seamless experience.

Internal users having to open dozens of apps to keep track of their colleagues, all notifications are delivered to a single inbox. This allows your employees to communicate with each other without having to think about or understand the underlying equipment.  Unified communication tools also possess a consistent interface, so that users can navigate different applications. It doesn’t matter if they are accessing a particular app from a mobile phone or a desktop computer.

Even if you don’t have a full-fledged unified Communication System, you can still Integrity or existing Solutions. Connect your CRM app to the phone system so that sales agents can easily add information to call records. Or they can call customers from within the CRM app with a single click. Similarly, integrate your conference calling solution with existing hardware or communication systems.

As you can see, some issues have common solutions. Sometimes the same feature can help you solve multiple issues at once. Implementing a single system that solves all SMB communication problems in one swoop is an impossible dream. But you can get your existing systems to integrate and work together to help alleviate communication issues.

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Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?

Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?

Start a free 30 day trial now, no credit card details are needed!