As the 4th Snow Storm hit New England this March, Granite's support staff spent much of the day helping our customers set up their business phone systems for another unscheduled business closing. Some of our customers have systems that are quite old, so making changes are not as straightforward as with newer systems.
With a little planning, even legacy business phone systems can be configured so that an unexpected closing is simple and allows your customers to reach you if they really need to.
Simply follow this three step process:
1) Determine what level of support your customers require - For many businesses, simply letting their customers know that your office is closed is sufficient. Some companies, such as IT support firms, medical practices, and sales organizations, will need their customers to be able to reach a live person. Other firms choose to have their customers leave a message in a mailbox and then call back the clients who need assistance.
2) Determine what options are available with the specific telephone system and network services installed in your office - Contact your phone system provider and discuss what level of support you wish to provide your customers when you are forced to close your office. Don't assume that you are limited by the functions of your phone system. There are creative solutions that combine capabilities of your network services, tricks that all good phone system techs know, and third party apps or software. Apply the KISS principal so that your staff can activate the inclement weather procedure easily and your customer can understand your options.
3) Set up the solution and document the procedure - Work with your providers to set up the programming, record the appropriate greetings, and activate any network services / applications that are required for the solution. A little pre-planning goes a long way and will make closing the office a simple process which and keep your customers happy. Lastly, document the procedure and share with anyone who may be tasked with closing the office.
If you are evaluating new business phone systems, include the above factors in your search. Granite Cloud Phone service supports excellent options for closed and after hours call routing and messaging. Since Granite Cloud Phone System supports remote phones, soft-phones and mobile apps, as well as SMS messaging, you can create a virtual office that allows your employees to be connected to your customers from anywhere at anytime.
If you'd like to discuss options for closing your office or see if there are services that would benefit your firm, contact me.
Gregg Haughton has been helping clients improve productivity, enhance customer service and lower costs since 1996. He has been shoveling snow in New England for even longer.