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Voice System Data Gives SMBs Decision-Making Power

Mitel's new business dashboard offers small and midsize businesses real-time call reporting data that can enable your business to make smarter, faster, and cheaper choices.Your business opens at 9 AM, but 15% of your customer calls come in between 8-9 AM. The solution is easy enough -- open an hour earlier (or at least have someone answering the phone even if your entire crew isn't there). But that solution's only easy and obvious if you know 15% of your call volume arrives before 9AM. Without that knowledge, you're leaving 15% on the table -- ignorance is bliss? Not so much.

That scenario is one of several that Mitel's portfolio marketing manager, Wendy Moore-Bailey, shared with me recently in discussing the Mitel Business Dashboard, a new product that rolls out today at VoiceCon Orlando. The dashboard offers businesses real-time reporting and historical data about their telephony system. Provided, of course, that your system is the Mitel 5000 Communications Platform (designed for up to 250 users).

Whether or not the Mitel dashboard is the best fit for your business is a question that only you can answer. However, the power of information can be transformative and whether you get it from Mitel or another vendor figuring out a way to access this information can make your business more competitive.

A key tagline in the Mitel announcement is "You can't manage, what you can't measure." That's true of voice communications, but it's true of other parts of your business as well. In his column today, bMighty publisher Fred Paul digs into some recent survey data from Microsoft, pointing out where more nimble, agile smaller businesses can outflank large competitors. Being nimble has great power, but without data to ground that nimbleness in solid strategy and tactics, you may leap quickly off a cliff as often as you leap ahead of the competition.

So that's the argument for gathering quality data in general, but what about the Mitel dashboard in particular. Provided your business runs the Mitel 5000, the dashboard allows you to associate every call with 120 different statistics. Mitel has 200 standard reports that can be customized to your particular needs (which should help you avoid drowning in too much data). There are obvious uses for a system like this, such as tracking when customers call your business, how long calls last, caller wait time and abandoned calls. There's also integration that can allow a rep to see account information when a customer calls based on phone number.

But the SMB use that intrigued me most was based on car dealership that's a current Mitel customer. Like most car dealers, they advertise in different media -- print, radio, TV, display, online, etc. -- and like most businesses, they struggled to quantify the effectiveness of that advertising. Using the Mitel system, the dealership was able to use a different phone number for each ad placement and then compare the response to each using the dashboard. Not only was the dealership able to refine ad placement based on this data, but also they were able to negotiate more favorable ad rates. That's data worth having.

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