Did you know that 88% of customers report that they call a business directly after doing an online search for a product or service? No matter how technologically connected your business is, having a business phone number is consistently cited as the best way for customers and suppliers to reach you, for placing outgoing calls with your business caller ID, and for managing multiple phone lines inside your company. A separate business line or virtual number also offers professional calling features that are unavailable to individuals, but those are just a few of the reasons why your small business needs its own phone number.
Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use Your Personal Phone Number for Business
Many start-ups and entrepreneurs only consider adding a separate phone number after the business has grown beyond the initial phase. Often, they will use their personal phone number (or numbers, in the case of co-founders, or start-ups with employees), since it seems like a convenient and affordable option when the business is in early stages. However, this can create a number of problems and limitations down the road when it comes time to expand the business and its brand.
Using your personal number for business exposes you to all kinds of communications on your personal line that you might not be ready for. Customers and suppliers will contact you outside of business hours, telemarketers and robocallers will harass you to no end, and any business materials you publish your personal number on will be useless if you change your number later. Other reasons not to use your personal number include:
- No professional calling features
- Lack of control over other lines
- Compromised personal privacy
- No distinguishing personal vs. business calls
- Unable to pass control to a workmate
- Using your personal number looks unprofessional
The list goes on, but thankfully, getting your business its own phone number can instantly remedy most of those problems.
Advantages of Getting Your Own Small Business Phone Number
There is a long list of benefits to getting a separate business number, but it’s worth focusing on a few key points that provide across-the-board benefits for any entrepreneur:
Improve customer experience
An exclusive business phone number works to enhance the customer experience and improve customer satisfaction. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to get in touch with a company and are unable to for any reason, so having a business number makes it easy for customers and suppliers to reach you when they need to.
Reliability, portability, and scalability
Having a business phone number will provide the kind of reliability and peace of mind that you need to focus on growing your business. A dedicated line means a dedicated service for your business that you can always count on. You can easily move that number to another location if you need to, forward your calls, or take it with you on the go. Using a professional business phone system also lets you scale your business easily, adding departments and extensions as you need them.
Keep business and personal communications separate
If you use your personal number for business, it can be difficult to distinguish between personal and business calls, texts, and voicemails, complicating your efforts to communicate with customers and suppliers, as well as friends and family. What’s more, if you change your personal number, all your promotional materials, including business cards, company letterheads, and marketing communications will be rendered useless.
With a separate business number, you can keep your personal contacts and communications separate, and even change your number without impacting your business.
Choose a business phone number that’s convenient and easy to remember
With a virtual business phone system, you can choose a number that’s easy for customers to remember, from any area code across the U.S. and Canada. You can even choose between local and toll-free numbers, or add extra numbers to your plan to increase the convenience of your callers in different area codes.
Control how your business communicates
Allowing everyone at your company to use their personal number for communicating with clients and suppliers means giving up control over that part of business operations. You need to be able to keep an eye on your company’s activities, whether logistics, sales, or customer service, and know who your employees are speaking to and when. With a business phone system, you will be able to maintain visibility into all your company’s phone communications.
Easier to maintain work-life balance
Giving out your personal number for business activities risks having your personal and professional lives becoming inextricably mixed. You will always be accessible to your customers, even if you’re supposed to be outside of work hours. Personal privacy can be compromised, opening you up to all kinds of unwelcome communications at any hour of the day or night. Maintain a healthy work-life balance by keeping a separate business number with controllable features for when and how your business line rings.
Benefits of Getting A Virtual Business Phone Number
A business phone number improves and simplifies the calling experience for business owners and their customers. Callers will hear a professional pre-recorded greeting and be presented with call options to help them get the service they need quickly. Your business phone or virtual phone number will ring separately from your personal line, making it easy to distinguish between types of calls.
If you opt to use a virtual phone number on your current smartphone or device(s) instead of a traditional business line, you also get a variety of advantages that traditional plans are unable to offer, or limited in their capacity to provide, such as:
- A separate work phone number on your current phone, no need to purchase or install additional expensive equipment
- Local or toll-free numbers from any area code in the U.S. or Canada
- Business caller ID to keep your personal number private
- Easily distinguish between incoming personal and business calls and messages
- Keep business communications and contacts separate from personal
- AI-powered voicemail transcription when you can’t listen to messages
- Option to set business hours to receive calls only when you choose
- Add additional lines and extensions for free, or expand your plan when your business scales up
- Track conversations with clients and suppliers across your company
- Call menu options, departments, extensions, and voicemail boxes for a professional calling experience
Virtual Numbers Help Teams and Businesses Achieve Success
Being able to work together as a team is critical for any business to achieve its goals. Employees consistently rate teamwork and collaboration as very important when working together at a company, and we all know that working well with our colleagues is essential not just for getting the job done, but for overall happiness and satisfaction in our work lives. But collaboration can be difficult, especially when your company grows, adding branches and diverse teams throughout a larger organization.
Keeping everyone in touch and having one central point of contact for customers and service providers is just one of the reasons why your small business needs its own phone number. Adding a virtual business phone number offers a myriad of other benefits, including professional call options, extensions for every individual and department, and shared contacts that your organization can use to keep everyone on the same page about where your business is at today, and where you are headed in the future.
Guest post courtesy of Emma Lakna