Small Business Archives - Page 6 of 7 - Netlines

Why Your Business Needs an Auto Attendant

How do callers reach the right person in your business? Some companies list multiple phone numbers on their website, some use a receptionist, and some use a “whoever answers the phone first” method. But the best way for many businesses to route callers is through an auto attendant.

What is an auto attendant?

Not everyone is familiar with the term “auto attendant,” but everyone knows what it is. Some call it a virtual receptionist. It’s the automatic greeting that provides keypad prompts to direct callers to departments or people. It can also provide basic business information, such as store hours or current deals.

Using an auto attendant as your phone answering service is the easiest and most cost-effective way to not only improve customer satisfaction, but also to increase employee productivity. Here’s why your business needs an auto attendant:

More Professional

First impressions matter. An auto attendant greeting immediately gives callers a polished, professional impression of your business. Unlike a receptionist, the auto attendant works 24/7/365, never has a bad day, and always gives the exact same welcome message. You can even customize the message for after business hours or holidays.

It doesn’t matter if you are an established small business with 20 employees or a new start up (like you and a friend working from your garage) – with auto attendant, callers won’t be able to tell. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to immediately give your business an edge.

Save Money

Compared to other professional alternatives, a phone service with auto attendant is typically cheaper. Whether you’re considering a full-time receptionist or relying on an office manager or admin, an auto attendant eliminates that need. You’ll save employee time and money that can be better spent elsewhere.

Some companies also consider a live virtual receptionist. While these services are cheaper than a full-time employee, they still cost hundreds of dollars each month. For most businesses, it is a completely unnecessary cost that can be better handled with an auto attendant.

Optimize Call Handling

We’ve all been there – you call a business and you get the dreaded, “Let me put you on hold while I transfer you…”, only for the call to get dropped or to be transferred to the wrong person.

With auto attendant, this never happens. Callers get to pick who they speak to, getting them to the right person, the first time. And if you are using a completely virtual phone system, like NetLines, it can connect to employee’s cell phones, increasing call answer rate.

Auto attendant streamlines your internal communication, reducing caller frustration and optimizing employee time.

Increase Productivity

For any small business, time is a precious resource. Employees often wear multiple hats and juggle many priorities. Administrative tasks only take away from work on key growth initiatives and operations.

With an automated attendant, the call routing process is automated, freeing up employee time. Each employee or department gets the proper calls, on time. No waiting for transfers or for another team member to relay a message. Customer questions or problems are addressed efficiently, improving employee and department productivity.

Advance Your Business with Auto Attendant

Implementing an auto attendant is smart business sense: it is more professional, saves money, optimizes call handling, and increases productivity. Not to mention it’s inexpensive.

With NetLines, you get a completely virtual phone system on your existing smartphone. Its advanced auto attendant feature will elevate your business without costing you big bucks. Explore our Voice Valet and other features to see if NetLines may be right for you and your business.

Categories: Small Business

The Best Business Books of 2018 that Everyone Should Read

Business books aren’t just for CEOs and entrepreneurs. 2018 delivered tons of great business books that are must-reads for everyone. If you haven’t already grabbed them, now is the time to add these books to your 2019 reading list.

With new research, engaging memoirs, and educational how-to’s, this roundup of 2018’s best business books will help you at home, at work, and everywhere in between.

Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World by Rand Fishkin

Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, a $45 million a year marketing software business. And Lost and Founder is his part-memoir, part-field guide to the startup world. Reviewers have raved about its honest, warm, and humorous perspective on the tech startup world, while still offering useful advice to anyone in the field.

Lost and Founder can serve as a guidebook for any aspiring tech entrepreneur, but for those of us not in that world, it still offers a fascinating story. Fishkin paints a tech startup culture that is very different from the picture-perfect Silicon Valley image that some companies (and Hollywood) would have us believe.

Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr

John Doerr, investor in Google, shares his secret to success in his new business book, Measure What Matters. Doerr uses a goal-setting system called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), where objectives are broken down into goals, each goal with measurable actions within a specific time frame. Every individual’s goals and every team’s goals are transparent and align with the overall OKRs.

In Measure What Matters, Doerr uses stories of OKR success at over 50 companies from his time as a venture capitalist to inspire and teach. You can learn the ins and outs of the OKR approach, so you can apply them to any organization of which you’re a part.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

In The Culture Code, Coyle goes behind-the-scenes of successful groups – from SEAL Team Six, the San Antonio Spurs, and IDEO, the global design company, to figure out what makes them tick. Through his research, he identifies how people best work together and how leaders can develop a successful group culture.

Through stories and specific strategies, Coyle offers any leader insight and advice on developing a team that innovates, solves problems, and works well together. You’ll leave this book feeling empowered to transform your teams, at work and beyond.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

While not strictly for business, this is one of those personal development books that can really help us in our time-strapped, always-on business world. Pink uses research to understand how timing, the “when”, impacts outcomes and how to use that knowledge to improve our productivity and our success.

When combines research and data with engaging stories to deliver insights and practical tips on how to use timing to improve all aspects of our lives. Pink will have you rethinking your routines and working to optimize your day.

Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work by Alison Green

This is the business book that every employee needs at their desk. Alison Green, often referred to as “the Dear Abby of the work world”, shares learnings from her past ten years as a workplace-advice columnist in her new book. From being micromanaged to getting drunk at the office holiday party, Green has practical advice for those difficult conversations that need to happen in the workplace.

Ask a Manager is a must-have resource that covers over 200 scenarios, helping you stay professional while communicating effectively throughout your career.

Categories: Small Business

5 Phone Features Every Entrepreneur Needs

If you’re an entrepreneur – whether it’s a side hustle or a small business – you know how important your mobile phone is. It’s what keeps you connected with your business, no matter where you are.

But your phone can be more than a place to check work email. All businesses, even the smallest ones, can benefit from a business phone system on their smartphone.

A mobile business phone system combines the features of an advanced business phone system with the convenience of your personal smartphone. There are tons of entrepreneur apps available, but here are five features entrepreneurs need from a business phone system that make the biggest impact:

1. Second number for mobile

Stop handing out your personal cell number to clients, customers, employees, and vendors! It’s hard enough for entrepreneurs to keep their work life separate from their personal life. Every entrepreneur needs a second number exclusively for business on their smartphone.

2. Business texting

More and more people are communicating via text message, even for business. But having business texts in the same spot as your personal texts is not ideal – especially if you have overlap between friends and business contacts. Your second phone number should have text messaging capabilities, so you can simplify and separate your business communications.

3. Extensions

Maybe you’re a solopreneur right now, but if you ever want to add partners or hire employees, a business phone system that can accommodate extensions is critical. It makes life simpler for all inbound callers. They don’t have to have different numbers for different people on your team and can reach the right person easily.

4. Auto Attendant

For entrepreneurs with inbound customer calls, an auto attendant is a must-have feature. It’s a professional greeting that allows callers to direct their call to the correct extension via keypad inputs. It greatly enhances the professionalism of your business phone system as well as improves the user experience for callers.

5. Conference calls

No entrepreneur works entirely alone. Whether it’s with vendors, contract workers, freelancers, employees, clients, or customers, the time will come when you need a conference call. And you better have a business phone system that supports it! Nothing will undermine your appearance faster to new clients than struggling to coordinate a conference call.

If you’re looking for a phone system for your smartphone, check out NetLines – the entrepreneur’s business phone system. With all the features listed above, plus dozens more, NetLines will help you keep your sanity while you advance your business. 

Categories: Small Business

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