5 Costly Small Business Phone System Mistakes

“The average small business misses 40% of sales related phone calls.”


It may sound crazy but your current phone system (or lack thereof) may be costing your small business a lot of money. As a business owner, you may have the latest technology when it comes to payment processing, managing your inventory, and handling the books. So why do small business owners choose to neglect their phone systems?


It’s simple. Traditional phone systems are difficult to setup and costly to maintain. The bottom line is that you don’t need a phone system that is overly complex to be successful.


The truth is that you only need a small business phone system that is capable of helping you solve these 5 common mistakes:


1. Letting Business Calls Go to Voicemail

You single biggest phone system expense is not the monthly bill or even the phones themselves. It is the act of letting calls go to voicemail and missing potential sales.


I can not stress this enough. Voicemail is literally the kiss of death for small business phone sales. If a caller has a pre-sales question or if they are looking to place an order with you, answering that call has to become your top priority. Unless you are the only source for your product or service, 85% of callers that go to voicemail never leave a message. And do you know what they do next? That’s right! They are dialing your competitors until they find someone who is willing to speak with them.


How do you solve this problem?
Simply removing your voicemail message is not enough. Callers will still be disconnected after a set number of “rings”. You need to implement a proper hold queuing system. With Talkroute, our service gives you the ability to keep an unlimited number of callers on hold until you are ready to answer. Even if you are taking calls from a single cellular phone. Best of all, your callers will never receive a busy signal again.


2. Choosing the Wrong Phone Number

The choice to go with a toll free or local number is 100% based on the type of business you own. If you run a local business, like a pizzeria, a toll free number will actually work against you. Local businesses thrive on being, well… local.


You’re much better suited to have a phone number with a proper local area code that tells your customers you are apart of the community. Because residents take pride in supporting their local businesses.


If you are an internet based company, national chain, or sell your products and services world-wide, a toll free number is a good option to consider. However, there are no studies that prove businesses that utilize toll free numbers instead of local numbers are more profitable. 


So what about Vanity Numbers?
Vanity numbers are usually a poor choice for any business and only lead to confusion for your callers. Before I continue, let me give you an example of what a typical vanity number looks like:


Example: 1-888-BUY-STUF


When you first look at this vanity number you may think, how can a customer forget us? Look at how memorable it is! You would be dead wrong… Allow me to explain why. Without looking at a keypad on a phone, tell me what number button corresponds with each letter.


Having trouble? So are your callers.


Even though the letters are listed under each number on most keypads, vanity numbers are still 7x more likely to be misdialed then any other number. If a caller doesn’t realize they dialed the number incorrectly, they may just assume you’re no longer in business and call your competitor instead. This is exactly why Talkroute does not offer vanity numbers.


3. Buying Unnecessary Equipment

Unfortunately, most traditional phone systems require that you purchase new phones, routers, switches, and even upgrade your internet service provider. Not only is this equipment expensive, you will most likely be paying someone to install and maintain it for you.


The great news is that Talkroute works with any phone and service provider.  As long as your phone has active service, you have everything you need to start receiving business calls immediately. 


4. Phone Operating Hours

Unless you are a 24 hour business, there are times when your business is open or closed. Your small business phone system needs to also follow this same schedule. There is no reason your cellular phone should be ringing with a business call at 9:00 PM at night when your business closes at 5:00PM. Not to mention, if your customers are calling and no one is answering, it sends the wrong message.


We solved this problem by allowing our users to establish time parameters for when your phones are available to receive calls. When your business is closed, Talkroute will play an after hours message that you designate and route the call accordingly. This allows you to have much needed time away from your phones and also lets your callers know that they are not being ignored.


5. Failing to Delegate Pre-Sales and Post-Sales Calls

Pre-Sales calls are the inquiries you receive by phone when a customer is either preparing to buy or ready to purchase from you. As a business, these calls are your top priority and a large percentage of these calls will convert to sales. One of the most difficult and aggravating issues you will face is being stuck on the phone dealing with a Post-Sales question, instead of answering a Pre-Sales call.


Post-Sale calls are the types of inquiries you received after the sale is complete. While ongoing customer support is paramount to the success of your business, these calls need to be delegating properly.


What is the solution?
So instead of thinking about how you can answer every phone call, let’s talk about how you can prioritize your calls. We have clearly identified that your Pre-Sales calls are the priority for answering immediately. This is why I highly suggest implementing a call menu (IVR). A call menu is the fancy prompt you hear when dialing a phone number and you are greeted with “press #1 for… press #2 for…”


By correctly implementing a call menu into your phone system, you can start to delegate where your calls are being routed. For example:


“Press #1 for Sales related questions or to place an order”

“Press #2 to Check the status of an order”

“Press #3 for Help with an existing order”


With Talkroute, you can route these different menu prompts to any number of phones. So if you have several employees that you rely on for sales support, you can route calls from option #1 to their phones. Now your staff members, that specialize in sales, will no longer be fielding support calls and missing sales inquiries.



So Is a Small Business Phone System Worth it?

The average small business misses 40% of sales related phone calls. These are calls that are not leaving you a voicemail. Instead, they are calling  your competitors until they find someone willing to speak with them. 


You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a proper phone system that will both increase profits and give you personal freedom as you grow your business.


We are so confident that Talkroute will help grow your business that we make our service 100% free to try. You can sign up for a trial here

About The Author

Paul Howey is the CEO & Co-Founder of Talkroute


Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

Stephanie5 Costly Small Business Phone System Mistakes