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IVR: The Office Automation Tool That Makes Business Communication Easy

As a new company or one that has been running for a few years, you are always looking for ways to improve office productivity and efficiency. And with advancements in technology, businesses are finding more and more utility for office automation tools like interactive voice response (IVR), product and content management software and applications, and more. Here we will look at how IVR improves internal and external communication.

Interactive Voice Response: A Necessary Office Automation Tool

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a communication tool that allows an automated voice to answer incoming calls and assist callers. This is achieved through highly effective technology that enables a computer to speak with a client using voice and digital tones. When an interested individual calls a company, this feature can be set up to welcome the caller, provide information about your company, and ask what task they’d like to complete today.

How Does an IVR System Work?

IVR systems work based on how you program them. You first need to purchase the service from a cloud-based phone service provider, like Global Call Forwarding. Then, you create a phone tree that maps out how customers will interact with the automated voice. They could either use their keypads or say words, or both, to move closer to completing their task. Then, you input this map into the software offered by your provider. Now, when callers call in, they will have a custom welcome greeting and a menu of options. Click here for information about how such systems work.

How Businesses Are Using This Feature

For small businesses to large corporations, IVR can be programmed and customized to meet your specific communication needs. Say, you are a pharmacy and want to cut down time spent on the phone refilling prescriptions, you can have the IVR take care of it. For example, your IVR could ask callers to “Press 3 to refill prescriptions.” Callers can then be asked to provide their information and the name of the prescription they’d like filled. Then, your business gets a notification of the renewal request. Here are some other examples of what an IVR system can do:

  • Place orders
  • Process payments
  • Verify accounts
  • Activate services
  • Register complaints
  • Collect caller information
  • Checking account balances
  • Record surveys
  • Make appointments
  • Direct callers to appropriate departments
  • Provide business information (like office hours or movie showtimes)
  • Provide customer support options
  • Interviews to streamline hiring processes, and more.

Having automation take care of these simple tasks can considerably cut down phone time and free up agents or employees for more complicated tasks or to resolve bigger customer issues. And that is the main reason why office automation is growing more and more popular with businesses. It creates an environment that supports high productivity and reduces time-consuming tasks.

Benefits of Including Automation In Your Communication System

With a well-developed IVR office automation system, calls are answered immediately, instantly improving the caller experience. Customers trying to contact your enterprise or store or wanting to complete a task don’t have to wait in long lines, and they appreciate the convenience. You can create customer greetings providing company information and important departments. You can also include announcements, new promotions, etc. Additionally, you can control and coordinate your IVR system, provided it is from a cloud-based provider, from anywhere in the world. This helps with companies that have multiple offices and employees spread across the globe.

Make Your Office Phone System Efficient and Professional

You can get IVR with your purchase of virtual business numbers from Global Call Forwarding. Tailor and customize this feature based on the number of employees or lines your company uses. Streamline and organize your office communications to increase productivity. Talk to an expert at Global Call Forwarding to find out how we can help you set up the perfect IVR system for your business needs.

How To Get a Virtual Business Address

Companies with a global customer base need a local presence in the countries or states they are conducting business in. Customers need to know they can reach you easily without much hassle. Freelancers, on the other hand, hesitate to provide their home address as their business address in order to maintain a work-life balance. Additionally, a lot of official documents need a business address. So, what can you do to establish your virtual business as a professional one? This is where a virtual business address comes in handy.

Cost-Effective Business Address Option

A virtual business address is basically an address for a location separate from your business or home address. This location can be anywhere, depending on where you want to run or expand your business. Those who run a home-based company or have branches in other states or countries can make use of a virtual business address to establish a local presence. They are generally more cost-effective than renting an office space.

Who Can Make Use of a Virtual Address?

Companies, large and small, can utilize a virtual business address to expand and maintain relations in different markets globally. Enterprises/ business people that can benefit greatly from a virtual address are:

  • Small businesses
  • Start-ups
  • Solo professionals
  • Solopreneurs
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Freelancers
  • Companies looking to expand to other countries.

How to Get a Virtual Business Address

There are different options for obtaining a virtual address for your business. You can get a private mailbox or invest in a virtual mailroom or virtual office. Here’s an overview of how you can maintain mail through these options:

Private Mailboxes

You can sign up for a private mailbox at your local post office. Your address will have a P.O. Box number on it. Cost is usually less than $10/month for most places. However, the rate depends on the size of the box and the duration of use. It is the most cost-effective but has a few drawbacks. Private mailboxes cannot receive packages from other carriers like UPS or FedEX. You can also get a private box through UPS or Pakmail for a slightly higher price. These boxes do not have a P. O. Box number on the address and can receive packages from other carriers.

Virtual Mailroom

Virtual mailrooms provide addresses in a city of your choosing. A virtual mailroom scans and uploads images of your mail to a secure website. You can then decide to have the mail shredded, forwarded to your personal address, deposit checks, etc. Such mailrooms cost more than private mailboxes but offer more convenient services. Companies such as PostScan Mail and Earth Class Mail provide these services. Subscriptions for such services, depending on the type and volume of mail, start at $9.95/month and go up to $60/month.

Virtual Office

If you are looking for a virtual mailroom but also want access to office or conference rooms then a virtual office is the one for you. With a virtual office subscription, you will have the ability to meet customers, hold meetings, and therefore have a stronger local presence. These offices have live receptionists, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) systems, mail forwarding, and professional settings for meetings. And because of these facilities, they are the most expensive of the three with prices starting at $60/month.

Get A Virtual Phone Number To Go With Your Business Address

Now that you have your virtual business address figured out for your mail, it is time to consider virtual phone numbers for your calls. Customers are more likely to get in touch with you through your phone number than any other means of communication. This makes it highly important to invest in a reliable and resourceful phone service that can cover all your virtual needs. You need a phone number that has multiple lines and call forwarding to ensure no call goes unanswered. You can get a local or toll free number for the state or country you are interested in. Get all this and more with a virtual phone number from Global Call Forwarding. Sign up today and let us help you expand globally.

Giving Proper Credit to Employees and Building Trust

If customers are the backbone of any successful company, then employees are the foundation. When an employee doesn’t trust the company that they work for, then your company will not succeed. This is why building trust with your team is an important aspect of running your business. Employees do not want to give 100% to a company they do not trust. Your employees may just be giving the bare minimum not to get fired. When an employee likes the company that they work for, you will find that they are acting with more passion and enthusiasm for the job.

Building Trust within your Team

So how do you establish trust with your employees? There are plenty of steps to take to earn the trust of your employees.

1. Establish initial trust with employees
Since managers are in direct communication with their employees, the first step is to be sure that the managers are doing everything they can to establish trust with their employees. Managers can do this by just being honest with their employees. They must be effective communicators who offer help and support. Managers should not only be helpful, but they need to have a friendly and professional relationship with their team. Consider taking your team to lunch once a week to establish a better connection.

2. Engage your employees
The easiest way to get to know your team is to ask them questions. That’s all it takes. Once you open up communication, you can begin building trust in your relationships. If you’re not sure how to establish communication with members of your team, ask them what you can do to be better. Take this feedback and then acknowledge and act upon it.

3. Listen to your team
Now that you are getting good at asking your employees about what they feel and want, you must listen to what your employees are answering. In this regard, you must take a more in-depth look, because more often than not, your employees will sugar-coat things with surface-level conversations. It is your job as the manager to dive deeper into these conversations and find out what it is your employees are too shy to ask for.

Building Trust with your Team
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#:100223779788

4. Respect your employees
Don’t try to scare your employees with surprise reviews. If you have something serious to discuss with an employee, let them know that it is coming so they have time to prepare. Schedule your time with employees so that way you’re not bursting in on an important project they’re working on with bad news. It is better for the overall health of your business to be completely transparent with your employees.

5. Let your team know that you trust them
An easy way to show your team that you are building trust in them is to give them a project and let them run with it. If you don’t believe they could do a difficult task without your help, start with an easy task. Try not to micromanage their lives and you’ll find that once you start showing trust to your team, they will begin to demonstrate confidence in return.

6. Treat them like humans
When you’re a manager, you may come off as intimidating to your employees without even realizing it. Although you want to maintain a reasonable amount of respect, don’t forget to show that you’re a human too. Little things like making eye contact, greeting your employees every day and listening to them can make a big difference.

7. Build up your team
Show that you have confidence in your employees by taking an interest in your employees’ personal lives. Of course, this must be done on a respectful and professional level, but it’s important to know when your employees may be struggling so you can provide support during these times. For example, if you recognize that one of your employees is going through a divorce or is having another issue at home, you might notice that it is affecting their work performance. When you can provide sympathy and take an interest in their personal lives during these downtimes your employees will feel supported and ready to give their all again. On the other side, when things are going well, don’t forget to celebrate!