5 Things You Need to Know About Business Phone Systems and What to Look For

Before you take on the task of researching the best business phone systems out there, here are a few general things you need to know to help you make the best decision for your business communication needs.

1. Premise-based PBX vs. Hosted PBX

For the most part, there are two types of PBX business phone systems: Premise and Hosted. A premise-based business phone system requires clunky equipment to be stored within your office and is usually seen in larger enterprises. Small business owners are recommended to use hosted business phone systems for seamless expansion and cost efficiency.

2. Expensive Equipment is Not Always Necessary

One way your PBX business phone systems save you money is by not requiring you to make expensive purchases on hardware. With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), you can use your mobile phone or keep using your existing hardware without any issues. Wiring and cabling is also not necessary as hosted PBX business phone systems are powered using your internet connection.

3. It Can Boost Productivity and Help Retain Customers

You won’t have to worry about letting a message slip through the cracks. Many business phone systems have features in place like call continuity and voicemail to email to ensure you always stay on top of your messages. Cloud receptionist features like auto attendant are also available so you can offer an overall better customer experience and keep your buyers satisfied.

4. Promotes Workspace Flexibility

Modern systems provide users with the freedom to work from anywhere. These days, you don’t need to have an office to have a business phone system; all you need is a reliable internet connection and electricity (unless you’re using a virtual PBX and operating straight from your cell phone). It’s also easy to expand your team and add extensions, as well as move from one location to another with an easy plug and play solution.

As you search for business phone systems, you will come across providers ranging from those that have been around for decades and some that have sprouted in the last few years. Although we praise experience, it may not always be best to choose a provider solely on their shelf life. Go with a provider that focuses their efforts on business solutions (some providers go as far to make focus medium-sized and small businesses their main focus) to ensure that your business communication needs are being met. Check out their services and decide whether or not they have what your business needs.

5. Not All Business Phone Systems Are Created Equal

How A PBX Phone System Can Benefit Your Business

Don’t be fooled by the jargon and heavily technical literature you may find on PBX systems. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to learn how to operate a PBX system. If you’re purchasing hardware from a provider, you will most likely receive a pre-configured phone that is ready to use as soon as it arrives. This makes it possible to just plug in the device and start making calls with barely any set up. Cabling and wiring is not necessary with a hosted PBX system so installation fees and downtime is not something you would have to worry about.

All of these benefits lead to one thing: more savings. Without set up costs or expensive hardware, you can use the time and money you’re saving and invest it back into your business. For even more savings, you can choose a virtual PBX phone system that allows you to run your business from your mobile phone using your business phone number. It’s the simplicity and professionalism many entrepreneurs look for without the cost of a major PBX phone system provider.

Small Business Phone System Features to Look Out For

If you’re looking for any limitation that PBX business phone systems bring, it would be that they rely on an internet connection to function. As long as you’re using a reliable internet provider your system will stay up and running; however, many PBX business phone systems offer the ability to forward your calls to an external device, like your smartphone. It’s an added security feature that gives business owners peace of mind knowing that they won’t miss an opportunity regardless of unexpected circumstances. Just like this simple call forwarding feature, there are many services within a small business phone system that can save your business.

Call recording is a great way to keep voice records, just be sure to follow your state’s laws in regards to voice recording. It comes in handy with industries like travel agencies and medical offices when there is miscommunication or an incident regarding an exchange of information over the phone. It’s a way to meet compliance standards for certain industries and has been a crucial tool for business owners who rely on record-keeping for accountability and training purposes.

You can easily streamline your customer’s calling experience with an automated attendant and customized caller menu. These two features work together to give your caller relevant information, like new promotions or upcoming changes to your office hours, and direct them to the people they need to speak with. Your callers will appreciate the updates and their positive experience will encourage them to recommend your service to others.

Overall, keep it simple. You might not need all the bells and whistles a major provider might offer, so be sure to understand your specific business communication needs. Look for business phone systems that reduce the headaches, not add to it.

Social Media Tips For B2B Insurance Agencies

A strong social media presence can be challenging to accomplish for B2B (business to business) insurance agencies. Many B2B companies struggle to showcase their professionalism, and build an audience through social media marketing. Consider the following tips to help make sure your agency is maximizing your social media marketing efforts.

Create Your Online Persona

Your social media presence should have a well-defined personality. Informative, helpful, engaging, timely and relevant are all characteristics top B2B social media accounts consider when creating their online persona. Decide what your online voice will sound like. Will you be formal or informal, speaking to individuals or businesses, sounding like a reporter or an op-ed contributor? Will you be sharing company employee events, creating contests, reporting on industry changes or regulations, or all of the above? Your agency goal is to build rapport and a sense of community with both clients and prospects. But first you need to determine your social media persona.

Create a Written Strategy Including Prospect Scorecard & Buyer Persona

When creating your marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your target online audience – and how diverse is this group? Start by creating a Prospect Scorecard.
  • Which social platforms will best target that audience? You may have to search the different platforms to see which social media platforms are most applicable to your clients and prospects.
  • What type of content will that target audience find most useful? Would it be infographics, long-form articles, tech support information, breaking news commentary, regulatory updates, or some combination of all of these?
  • What are your short term and long term social media goals? Perhaps your short term goal is simply consistent content sharing. And your long term goal includes an ad budget for growth and prospect engagement.
  • How are your competitors using social media? You can learn a lot about what to do and what not to do by studying your competitors.

Comment on News & Regulations Relevant To Your Target Industries

Offering commentary on breaking news and changing industry regulations is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge in your industry and to provide your clients with insights on how to understand these updates. This can lead to higher engagement levels and increased exposure to your social media pages. You can use Google Alerts and social media alerts to monitor industry keywords and stay on top of dynamically changing events.

Organic Vs. Paid Posts

Once your insurance agency is consistently posting quality content, you can consider posts boosts and ads. You may want guidance with this, as the budget can get spent quickly, and multivariate split testing with compelling images and custom graphics can dramatically improve your reach and ROI.

Achieve A Respectable Follower Base

Looking professional and demonstrating a respectable number of followers and engagement level is half the battle when starting on your insurance social media marketing initiative. The top platforms your agency should leverage are: LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, likely in that order, though your target markets could impact this. LinkedIn and YouTube can be very valuable to B2B businesses. LinkedIn is a good place to start, it’s very much a business centric platform. Then leverage YouTube using videos, recorded webinars or even simple voice over PowerPoint updates. Try to build up your follower base as quickly as possible, to a respectable number. For example, this might be 500 followers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Though 5,000 or more would be great, initially your agency is striving to attain a baseline of professionalism and credibility.

The Olympic Coverage on Sirius Radio

Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, now known to the world as Sirius XM Radio, subscribers can keep up with all the latest news and information from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing by tuning in to one of the many news channels that are offered. Sirius XM Radio provides listeners with news from NPR, CNN, CNN-HN, Fox, WRN, and BBC. These stations are well respected as good authorities for late breaking news.

NPR Now is available on Sirius channel 134. NPR is public radio at its finest bringing radio listeners a wealth of information including news and entertainment programs. NPR Talk radio can be heard on both local and national radio stations. Some news topics covered on public radio are news from the world and our nation, 2008 Election, business news, the Beijing Olympics, health & science, people & places, books, music, arts, and more. NPR Now 134 is the host of many listener favorites such as Car Talk, News & Notes, Fresh Air, and Tech Nation.

The most trusted name in news found on the web, our televisions, and our satellite radios can be found in the Sirius XM Radio lineup. CNN news airs on Sirius channel 132 and CNN Headline News on Sirius channel 133. Listeners often turn to CNN and CNN HN for breaking news coverage from around the world. These stations on sat. radio provide several talk programs including the well known Larry King Live, Lou Dobbs Tonight, and Wolf Blitzer Reports. Sirius XM Radio subscribers can tune in to CNN during the morning commute for American Morning to get the top news stories of the day. CNN HN produces its version of morning news on Morning Express with Robin Meade. These stations would be a great starting place to hear the latest news from Beijing on the 2008 Olympic Games.

Fox News airs on Sirius Radio channel 131. This station is well known around the country for keeping up with important news from America and around the world. Fox News is the home of the well known news talk radio programs The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. Fox & Friends First at 6 a.m. and FOX & Friends at 7 a.m. are a great first stop for 2008 Beijing Olympics news. These two programs cover everything from breaking news to weather to sports and much more.

The world recognizes the name BBC when it comes to top-notch news coverage. BBC has the largest team of reporters bringing satellite radio subscribers the news from its 250 correspondents located around the world. This station can be heard on Sirius channel 141. For impressive sports coverage listeners can tune in for Sports Roundup or get news from Beijing during one of their many world updates.

Sirius channel 140 is the home of World Radio Network. This station is a unique news station providing coverage directly from the broadcasts as they have aired in countries around the world. Listeners may want to tune in to hear broadcasts from China Radio International or any of the various other broadcasts for a variety of 2008 Olympic Game coverage in Beijing, China.

Subscribers to Sirius XM Radio Inc. have additional news channels available to them for information on financial, business, or even entertainment news. With over 300 channels available from Sirius XM Radio there is something for everyone on the nation’s favored radio provider.