Restaurants love it when lots of customers are phoning in. It’s vital to keep up with all the calls, though. If customers get busy signals or no answer, that’s a lost order. Worse, they might not call again. If a lot of the calls are for hours and directions, they tie up the line and the person answering while someone else might want to order.
Switching to VoIP phones can help avoid lost calls and business while saving money. Here are just some of the benefits.
- Lower cost. When the volume of calls is high, the costs add up. Internet-based VoIP calling is much less expensive than traditional phone service.
- Easy call transfer. Some calls are about important business matters, not food orders, and it’s important to get them to the right people with the least amount of effort. VoIP phones provide more streamlined call forwarding than traditional systems.
- Mobility. Most restaurant employees don’t sit at desks. VoIP systems let employees take calls where they are, not just where their own phone is connected to the wall.
- Internal communication. VoIP phones make extension dialing within the business easier. Employees can quickly get information to where it needs to go.
- Avoiding nuisance calls. Abusive telemarketers and outright scammers call any and all numbers, tying up phones that should be taking orders. Smart VoIP systems can block a large proportion of these calls, letting legitimate callers get through more easily.
- The auto-attendant feature. The ideal is to take all calls as they come in, but sometimes this isn’t possible. With VoIP, busy signals are rare, and the auto-attendant feature can handle many calls without tying up a human. People calling a specific person can get through without a delay. Many systems include transcription of voicemail. It’s easier to handle messages and return calls when there’s a text transcription.
- Expandability. It’s easy to add more phones.
- Caller identification. The phones will show the names of callers who are on a list of known contacts. This speeds up getting their calls to the right person.
- Logging of calls. The system keeps a record of all incoming and outgoing calls, so management can tell how many calls are coming in, what the peak times are, and how long each call takes.
VoIP is the way to go
Old-style TDM phones, like the ones on the public network, are dying out in business multi-line systems. It’s impossible to get new systems, and it’s getting steadily harder to support the old ones. VoIP phones are less expensive and more versatile.
Large restaurants will benefit from multiple phones that can share the load of calls. The auto-attendant can direct orders and business calls to the appropriate people. It can respond to requests for general information with recorded messages. As many people can be put on taking orders as there are phones. The ability for order takers to call up the kitchen can be a great help.
Small places, with only one person to answer, can benefit as well. When calls start coming in fast, the missed ones can go to the auto-attendant, which will be able to handle some of them itself. People asking for directions or hours can get recorded information without having to wait. This leaves just orders and other business calls to handle in person.
If online ordering is available, the auto-attendant can let callers know about this option. Getting people to order online helps to reduce the burden of answering the phone. At the same time, it makes ordering easier for customers.
You do have to be sure of one thing before going with VoIP. The Internet connection has to be solid. If you’re in a building which has slow or unreliable Internet, VoIP won’t work well, and you should consider other options.
With that caution, any restaurant that has trouble keeping pace with its phone calls can benefit from a VoIP system.