Today’s small businesses often find themselves less reliant on the telephone than companies in their industry were just two or three decades ago. Typically, this is because many of the communication processes that relied on telephone conferences and ordering for speed have been moved to online ordering and email communication, since those are now the fastest way to collaborate across locations and organizations.
Some of the other reasons for live voice to voice communication are still in place, but with video conferencing and other options, the phone is often viewed by smaller companies as a less-prioritized investment.
That’s often a mistake, though. A business phone number is usually a good investment early on, and it’s almost always worth the expense just for the added curb appeal. Let’s explore the reasons your new company should register a phone number as soon as possible.
1. It’s Less Expensive Than Ever
Today, an extra phone number can be just a few dollars a month, and unlike phone access in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pay for a full second line. You can, and many companies do, but for an entry-level business phone service it’s often not even a feature.
Today’s fast-access phone services use VOIP and other wireless technology to serve your new number to an existing cell phone handset. That gives you an easy way to see when business calls are coming in, because they won’t be coming on your personal number. At the same time, it lets you decide whether you actually need a second cell phone by giving you options that work on any phone.
2. Customers Value Businesses With Phone Numbers
Most customers view a contact number for questions and customer service inquiries as a sign that a business is well-established and well-run. That’s because seeing a path to contacting the company if something goes awry provides peace of mind.
This is especially important for eCommerce companies and some remote B2B services, because companies in those niches often function without any direct customer contact beyond the initial order and service delivery.
Providing customers with that peace of mind makes them more likely to work with you, and providing the customer service behind the number means increasing your repeat business by making more customers happy with their experience.
3. Use Any Equipment You Like
Today’s businesses have a wide range of choices for telecommunications equipment. You can use a VOIP service to access calling from a computer or tablet as one option, limiting your contact times to your live log-in hours and taking voicemails when you are unavailable. Another option is to use a standard handset with either a landline or a VOIP wired internet connection.
WiFi in the office allows these handsets to be portable, but connecting them to your business internet at the office means avoiding phone line installation costs. You can also go mobile, dedicating a device to the new line or forwarding the calls to your existing devices. That means you often don’t have to invest in any new equipment at all to get started. It also means upgrading is easy as you grow.
4. Add Services Easily, at a Low Cost
Additional support with customer service is often a good idea for companies, especially if business is booming. Today’s answering services and call centers can provide practically any outsourced phone support you could ask for, from tech support for your devices to customer returns and questions.
You can even engage traditional live answering services for a more personal touch on your messages and voice mail. Many of the companies that provide inexpensive business phone access also provide these services, so it’s easy for you to look like a big operation even when you’re still a one-person shop.
5. Separate Your Personal and Business Calling
Many entrepreneurs resort to using a personal cell phone as a business contact early in their operations, especially among eCommerce entrepreneurs. That’s often cited in advice for new business owner articles as a mistake, one that can contribute to burnout.
Keeping a firewall between your business contacts and the people who have access to your personal time means being able to manage stress better during crucial phases of your startup by making it easy to unplug when you need time to recharge and think. When you think about it, that might be the best reason of all.