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Hosted VoIP

Time to Value for Small Business Cloud Phone Services

  • Time to Value

When considering a purchase of small business cloud phone services, metrics like Return on Investment (ROI) andTotal Cost of Ownership (TCO) are often considered. This makes sense for larger businesses, but often the key metric for small business or a startup is more time sensitive. For businesses that are highly time sensitive Time to Value (TtV) is a better metric.

What is Time to Value (TtV)?

Time to value describes the amount of time between making a business decision or incurring initial cost to receiving the value from the decision or investment.  Value in this case is the desired business goal or benefit.

This is a different metric than the often used Time Value of Money (TVM). TVM is a calculation of what today’s money is worth in the future due to its earning potential. TVM is generally used when money is being loaned or will be received at some future time.

Both the Time to Value and TVM attempt to address the consideration of time, but in different ways.

Startup & Small Business Time

For startups and small businesses time is often their most precious commodity. The industry likes to focus on ROI, which factors time but not always in a way that matters to a startup or small business. Small businesses and startups are often on the clock trying to make their business successful before running out of time.

ROI helps you understand how long it will take to pay back an initial investment. This is useful when there is a large capital expenditure, but for cloud services this often misses the point. Time to Value is very aligned with how small businesses and startups tend to think. It is focused on the speed of which money spent returns value.

What is the TtV for cloud business phone services?

To answer this question we must first look at the benefits that drive most small businesses tocloud business phone services. I wrote a post awhile back on the top reasons small businesses go to the cloud, so I won’t rewrite it here. Let’s review these reasons and the Time to Value for each:

  • Cost – Most startups and small businesses go to the cloud to avoid a large capital expenditure on a phone system With cloud business phone services this value is delivered day one.
  • Scalability – Startups and small businesses don’t want to be penalized for adding or removing a line. Again, the time to value is pretty much immediate with most cloudbusiness phone services offering adds and removes at no cost.
  • Security – Managing cyber security can be a real burden for small businesses. Cloudbusiness phone services shift this burden to the service provider and the value is received immediately by customers of all sizes.
  • Integrations – Many small business cloud phone services offer integrations to CRM and Support platforms. These integrations typically require a little configuration, but value is often received the first day. Cloud business phone services also offer APIs enabling startups and small businesses to create their own custom integrations. The value of these integrations is not received until the development work is completed.
  • Flexibility – This benefit is partially described under scalability above, but there is added value from picking and choosing features. Most cloud business services provide plans where the customer can have a limited feature set for a lower cost and add features as they grow. Again, this value is received pretty much immediately by the customer.
  • Disaster Recovery – Most startups and small businesses don’t have the time or money for a full blown disaster recovery plan, however flying without a net is rarely a good policy and customers often require this. Going to the cloud solves this problem in a critical business area, communications, immediately upon activating the service.

So the short answer is unless you need to develop a new integration Time to Value is immediate. Some might dismiss TtV for its simplicity, but it is often the most important metric for startups and small businesses. We would encourage you to consider it with your next major purchase.

Categories
Hosted VoIP

Why Switch from PBX to Hosted VoIP and Cloud Phone Systems

2015 Business Phone System Buyers’ Report: Why Switch from PBX to Hosted VoIP and Cloud Phone Systems

If you’re thinking about buying a new business phone system , here’s your guide! Sometimes knowing what factors prompt other businesses to switch can help in your decision. This report from Software Advice is a wealth of information on Most Wanted Features and Applications, Top Pain Points, Buyers by Industry and so much more. With all the different options available for business communications (i.e. on-premises Private Branch Exchange (PBX), on-premises IP PBX and Hosted VoIP and Cloud UC systems), it can get overwhelming. Let this navigate you through all the reasons to upgrade to a hosted VoIP or Cloud phone system.

If you get nothing else from this report, know this: the PHONE still reigns supreme over all other communications. Yes, people are increasingly using web-based channels like email, social media and online chat to connect with your customer support team, but at the end of the day their phone interactions with your business dominate their perceptions.

 In other words, if you don’t do a good job with your auto attendant – the automated menu that lets callers self-select where their call is routed – then you’re likely to lose their business.

Daniel Harris, Market Research Associate at Software Advice, a VoIP software reviews website, gives more insight:

Our survey asked a population of U.S. consumers about how they would respond to a bad experience with a local business’s auto attendant. These findings suggest that auto attendants are a vitally important customer-facing element of business phone systems, particularly for local businesses.

  • Strikingly, 42% of our sample says that they would take their business elsewhere.
  • Only 7% says that they would email the business.
  • Moreover, only 20% says that they’ll look for info on the company’s website if they can’t use the auto attendant, which is less than half of the percentage of respondents who would simply take their business elsewhere.

We asked consumers about their top pain points with using auto attendants in order to identify the key elements of good auto attendant design. The top pain points among the consumers in our sample are long introductions (cited by 29%) and too many menu options (cited by 28%). In order to arrive at guidelines concerning how to avoid these pain points, we analyzed a sample of 45 small business auto attendants to track metrics on average introduction length, menu length and number of menu options.

  • More than half (58%) of the introductions in our sample are under three seconds long.
  • Only 9% provide branding statements regarding their businesses in auto attendant introductions.
  • Additionally, overall menu length rarely exceeds 40 seconds (only 24% of the businesses in our sample had longer introductions).
  • We also found that very few small business auto attendants include more than 8 options – only 6% of the auto attendants in our sample extended beyond this number.
  • The lion’s share of auto attendants clustered between 4 and 5 options (42% of our sample).

I hope this guide helps you make a more informed decision about what type of communication system is right for your business. Remember, you typically only have one chance to make a good impression on your customers and prospects, so make sure that the phone system you choose gives your business a professional, polished image.