Communications – Your Business Backbone

The ability to effectively communicate with all parties involved in a transaction can effectively make or break a property deal. As a real estate agent, you work more away from your desk than most other office workers – be it staffing an open inspection, valuing properties, or on the road – and as such, the confines of an office space are becoming increasingly redundant for you. Story by Hugh Humphrey.

The ability to operate your business using the best technology on the market can also keep you one step ahead of your competition.”

Choosing the right provider
Choosing the right mobile provider is an important decision for your business as successfully selling a property can come down to just one call and your ability to respond. Therefore, it is vitally important that your business is mobile and you are accessible at all times. There are a variety of different mobile providers to choose from that cater for an ever growing range of mobile services. Here are some important steps to take prior to choosing a mobile provider and some crucial questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line.

Generally, the most cost effective plan for your business is one that allows a group of employees to share from the same ‘pool’ of talk-time, rather than bill each single employee separately on general call rates. A shared ‘pool’ option allows for greater certainty in monthly mobile spend, minimising the chance of receiving unexpectedly large bills. It’s still not common for providers to charge their corporate customers in this way, so do your research to ensure you lock in the best plan for you.

Mobile network coverage – both locally and internationally – will greatly affect your ability to use mobile services. When thinking about your business’ requirements, also think about the locality in which your employees operate, evaluating how far they travel and the mobile activity required to conduct business effectively in those areas. Generally your agents tend to operate in the areas surrounding your offices. In which case, paying a costly premium to a mobile provider that guarantees you coverage in Uluru may not be the best way to spend your business dollar.

Access to email on the move is also important as, by having access to email on your mobile phone you have an alternative way of staying in contact with your clients whilst on the road. Your corporate mobile package isn’t just about network coverage and applications however. The ability to operate your business using the best technology on the market can also keep you one step ahead of your competition. When choosing your mobile provider look at the types of handsets available with each of the corporate plans and ensure they are able to undertake all the functions that you’ll need.

Of all the smartphones available in market, the BlackBerry® range from maker Research In Motion, is certainly the most well-known, having created the market many years ago and is probably the most popular in the business community with its unparalleled reputation. These devices offer users the versatility of mobile email, mobile internet, and a stylish phone for out-of-office calls all-in-one. The newest device to hit Australian shores is the BlackBerry® StormTM which, along with the Apple® iPhoneTM, has been the success story of 2008/09. These smartphones have revolutionised the way businesses operate, allowing companies to stay connected to customers, clients and stakeholders simply and cost-effectively while on the move.

The most important asset to your business is your clientele and one of the biggest concerns for you is an existing sales member taking that client base with them when they leave your business. The remote wipe function on a BlackBerry means you can wipe the content on a staff member’s smartphone, as well as, lock down the BlackBerry at any time. Additional security features, such as password protection are also vital.

One number
Some telecommunication providers offer a service which synchronises mobile and fixed phones so that the user only has one office number shared between both their mobile and desk phones. Additionally, this service can be supplemented with one voicemail service covering both devices. For example, Vodafone Business One has a service called Office Number Anywhere which means you have one number and one voicemail for your fixed and mobile devices, increasing communication, speeding up response times, and boosting productivity – within the team and with clients. What’s more, your customers can reach you on your fixed number without you having to pay anything extra to divert landlines to your mobile. This service also allows you to have all your contacts synched so that you know who is calling you when the phone rings.

Quickly returning a missed call can be a deal breaker for you when trying to sell a property. By having just one voicemail for both your fixed and mobile phone – which you can access from your office phone, your mobile or even via the web, you have a more streamlined way of staying in touch.

Paying a costly premium to a mobile provider that guarantees you coverage in Uluru may not be the best way to spend your business dollar.

Hugh Humphrey, General Manager Business Markets, Vodafone Australia, oversees Vodafone’s overall business market strategy, products, segments and business communications. He is responsible for a diverse range of business customers ranging from large multi-nationals and Australian corporates, to SME and SOHO businesses.

The most important asset to your business is your clientele and one of the biggest concerns for you is an existing sales member taking that client base with them when they leave your business.

Customer Service
The property market is highly competitive and a loss in communications can mean losing a property sale so, if things go wrong (and they will from time to time) it’s important you have a dedicated team you can turn to for help.

When it comes down to choosing a service provider, quality customer service is a make or break component. A knowledgeable, reassuring voice at the end of the phone line can make a world of difference when in times of crisis.

Choosing a service provider based on their customer service qualities can be difficult, however there are a few stand-out features that businesses can look for when making their appraisal. Firstly, evaluate whether your mobile service provider offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ customer service centre, offering advice on all your telecommunications components. Customers choosing Vodafone Business One have the luxury of combining all of their telecommunications needs into one simple package, with a dedicated, 24/7 support team available if anything goes wrong.

Secondly, check if your mobile service provider offers FREE customer service. Some service providers can charge a fee for customer service calls – so check the fine print. Also, check what hours they operate in. You don’t want to be stuck overseas with no mobile, no internet and no customer service. Look for a service provider that offers free 24/7 customer care – essential for business users who find themselves working late into the night, over weekends or while overseas.

When looking at the mobile solution for your business, smart businesses should also look at other ways to improve business efficiencies and consider consolidating mobile service suppliers into one. In fact, services such as mobile broadband, mobile internet, mobile calls, fixed-line calls and WiFi are all essential services to keep your business viable in 2009 and give you an edge over the competition.

Tips for Smart Communication

  1. Assess your current mobile requirements and forecasthow this may grow
  2. Review and compare costs of corporate packages offered by mobile providers, paying close attention to how the ‘minutes’ will be allocated within the business rather than call rates offered
  3. Choose the mobile provider that has the best national and global coverage for your employees
  4. Understand the technology you need to operate, and chose a mobile provider that’s working with trusted brands with evolving technology
  5. Assess the level of customer service offered, with a focus on whether you get a real person who is available 24/7 to service the mobile needs of your business
  6. Once you’re happy with the level of mobile service provided, look at the whole package to see what other solutions are provided and how consolidation could transfer to costs savings

For more information visit
BlackBerry® and the BlackBerry logo are registered trademarks of Research In Motion Limited and are used under licence. Vodafone Pty Limited ABN 76 062 954 554.

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