When I was a kid, the local shop in our village was an essential institution. Despite being barely bigger than the average front room, it seemed to sell anything you could ever possibly want or need.
Power-Ranger cake decorations? Check ✓
Those furry pipe cleaners that only ever get used for school art projects? Check ✓
Obscure spice mix you’d never heard of until you decided to try out the Malay-Trinidadian fusion dish that seemed like a great idea two hours ago? Check ✓
But then, disaster struck the much-loved local shop. A fire started in the stockroom and all but destroyed the place. By the time it re-opened six months later, everyone in our village had got used to driving over to the huge, cheap-as-chips supermarket in the next town. The handful of staff who’d worked in the shop had moved on and got jobs elsewhere.
As so often happens, loyalty had been trumped by convenience. The local shop lasted about another year, and then it shuttered up for good.
One of the biggest benefits of running an e-commerce business is that, in theory, you’re shielded from risks like these.
… In theory.
Because you’re running everything online, you’re not bound to one particular location. You might not even handle physical stock – or, if you do, you can store it anywhere. Your shop front exists in cyberspace; it can’t burn down suddenly and put you out of business. You can compete on price with some of the biggest companies in the world and you can sell to your customers regardless of their geographical location.
And yet, so many companies are still stuck in the same old rigid mentality that usually comes with working in a single location.
They make logistical and technological choices that tie support staff to a set office at set times, even though it doesn’t need to be that way. They have a shop front that can be browsed 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world, but they can only handle queries or problems in conventional ways and timeframes. Internet hosting underpins all customer-focused parts of the business, but they aren’t bringing the same benefits to the rest of the operation – and that’s a mistake.
It’s a mistake because capitalizing on these benefits is actually pretty simple. By switching to a hosted PBX solution, you can start to really make the most of the perks of being an e-commerce business. And what’s more, it can save you a ton of money.
Here are 5 reasons why.
1. It Lets You Be Always-On, From Anywhere
Your customers only ever see your online outlet. They have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.
That means your customer service, technical support and even fulfilment teams do not need to be in the same place. Want to free them up to work remotely? To work flexible hours? No problem: they can sign in from anywhere. They can answer customer queries while they’re on the train. They can pick up calls in their pajamas, if needs be.
What does this do for your business? It means you can be flexible, agile, responsive. It means you can take productively up a notch. It means you can really start to compete in your market.
2. It Reduces Physical Risk
Hosting in the cloud is a fantastic failsafe for your business. You no longer have to worry about what happens if your technology fails, if there’s a break in, a fire or a natural disaster.
All of your assets, client information and, well, everything else is securely encrypted and kept safely in the cloud, protected by experts in the field. Whatever happens, you can continue to have uninterrupted access to everything you need – and you can restore your systems from online backups in no time at all.
Your customers need never know that there’s been a crisis, and there’s no risk of competitors swooping in to clean up and corner your market in the chaos.
3. It’s Scalable
One of the biggest issues for any company is growth. When it comes to choosing the right technology, you need to know that the systems you have in place can support your needs, not just today, but tomorrow, the day after – in five year’s time.
Using a hosted PBX means that you can rapidly add new accounts and users as soon as you need. There’s no delay, no enormous outlay of physical infrastructure required to grow your team. You simply increase your number of subscriptions as and when you need them – and if you need to rein it back in and weather out unexpected financial pressures, you can scale back again, as much (and as fast) as you need.
This eases the pressure on your cashflow no end, making your financials more manageable, reducing risk and letting you focus on what matters: delivering a great service and expanding at a rate you can cope with.
4. It Makes your Customer Service More Professional
Of course, the ability to respond to customers quickly and potentially outside of your usual hours is a big plus. But the myriad additional perks that come with a hosted PBX also help to give you a professional sheen.
Firstly, by switching your phone system online, you free yourself up from being tied down to a specific geographical location, so you can introduce national or freephone numbers that benefit customers and give the impression that you’re a wide-reaching operation.
Secondly, it’s easy as pie to manage features like hold music, call transfers, voicemail – and to keep track of call times and other data that can help you hone your operation in the long run.
5. It’s Future-Proof
Technology is improving all the time and the last thing you want to do is commit to a pricey, rigid system that takes time to implement and might not even be fit for purpose a few years down the line. If it turns out to be tricky, unwieldy or lacking in some way, you’re kind of stuck.
Instead, opting for an alternative that can evolve alongside your needs can save you a lot of sleepless nights. And cloud-based systems can do just that.
Using a hosted PBX means working with a partner who is almost certainly investing in the future. A good provider will be constantly on the lookout for ways to improve and perfect their offering, and because it’s based online they can translate these developments into benefits for you at lightning speed.
If you want to make sure that you’re not just the equivalent of the doomed local shop – that you’re a business built for longevity – a hosted PBX is absolutely the way to go.
So, What Next?
If you’re on the look-out for a new Hosted PBX supplier, or you just want to explore how it could help your business (whether it’s e-commerce or not), click here to arrange a Free, No-obligation Consultation and we’ll give you all the help & advice you need.