Business phone system and how to get it?
Using VoIP is the modern way your company can get a business phone number. This cloud system is quickly replacing traditional landlines and cell phones. It gives your business a competitive edge to grow and offer better all-round services to your clients. Getting a business phone number using a virtual phone system is simple, advantageous, and good for everyone involved.
Business phones and VoIP
Business VoIP is a way business phone services use the internet for communications purposes instead of traditional landline connections. Business VoIP involves sending video, voice, and data communication using the internet.
This technology is more advantageous compared to landline services because of its rich features for lower costs making it a better option for small and mid-size companies. For a smaller fee and a simpler set up, your business can enjoy high-quality VoIP phone services.
Some of the features that come with business VoIP include hosted PBX, auto attendant, call routing, desk to desk calling, music on hold, and overall unified communication services.
How to get a business phone number for free?
Free business phone number providers
You have numerous options if you are looking for a free phone number for your business. The services offer tollfree numbers or local numbers. You can also have incoming calls directed to your mobile phone.
1. FreedomPop for free cell phone calls
FreedomPop is leading the way when it comes to free business phone services. FreedomPop’s basic plan is free, and when not connected to WiFi, you can get 200 minutes call time, 500 text messages, and 500MB LTE data. You will also get a separate cell phone and one local number.
FreedomPop has a $19.99 one time activation fee, but after that, it’s free every month. This free service is possible because the calls are not made on the regular cellular towers but rather on your public WiFi.
FreedomPop is very convenient for small businesses that want some professional appearance without a toll-free number.
2. Google Voice for free calls
The Google Voice app allows users to make free calls and send text messages using your computer, Android device, or Apple device. This Google service also lets you spam phone calls, transcribe voicemail, and forward your messages. You can access your phone number with Google Voice app from anywhere. You will only get a free local phone number here.
For a free 1-800 number, and a free local number, eVoice is what you want. It is free for 30 days though, and after that, a $12.99 monthly plan kicks in. This Lite plan offers 300 minutes of talk time, six numbers, and two extensions. For more minutes, numbers, and extension, you can upgrade to a higher package.
There is also an option for a human receptionist to answer your calls during specific times, and the eVoice auto attendant during off-hours.
FreedomVoice offers a 30-day free trial. The best thing about FreedomVoice is that if you do not want a random local number or tollfree number, you can pay a one time fee of $30 to get a vanity phone number for your business. The vanity phone number is great because your clients cannot easily forget it.
FreedomVoice packages also come with unlimited voicemail boxes, virtual auto attendant, auto-phone forwarding, Android and iPhone app calling capabilities.
CallCentric will give you a free business phone number. However, you can only receive calls for free. If you want to make calls, you have to pay for that. You will not be charged to make a call to another CallCentric customer or VoIP networks.
For the paid calls, there are monthly plans or pay by minute plans. The plans start at $1.95 for 120 minutes. This is for outgoing calls to the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
iNum is popular for free international business calls. You will get a phone number with a global country code (883) that can be used for voice and SMS. In the near future, your iNum would be called for free using any phone in the world. For now, though, it can be called for free using the numerous free international call apps.
Phonebooth is a VoIP app that offers free business phone numbers. However, Phonebooth is not really a free service as there is a $20 monthly fee per user. The two business phone numbers you get are free, and the $20 monthly charge caters for services such as auto attendants, voicemail transcriptions, groups, group conferences, nationwide local and long-distance.
There are apps that offer these services as a premium or give you finite minutes. This makes the $20 monthly charge much cheaper and more convenient. There are also no setup fees or any hidden charges when enrolling with Phonebooth. Plus, there are no contracts or any form of long term commitments.
Setting up the business phone number on your cell phone
Getting the local phone or vanity phone on your mobile device
Setting up and getting started with your business phone number is fast and simple. You only need your mobile phone.
How to choose your business phone number?
The first step is picking a business number; it needs to be good. Your first choice will be between a tollfree number or a local number. Both have their advantages.
A tollfree number can be customized in a clever way such that it becomes easy for your customers to remember. For example, 1-800-123-123 or maybe 1-800-ICECREAM. This number is also free to call, something your customers will appreciate.
A local number is your standard phone number with the local area code. It does not allow for all these custom features. These numbers are usually popular among businesses that operate within a small area. Locals are more attracted to phone numbers with their local area code.
Check if your vanity number is available and sign it up
Unfortunately, all the good vanity numbers are mostly taken. It best to come up with a couple of number options and search online services to check their availability. When you find an open one, follow the instructions provided to reserve it.
Creating a custom greeting for your business phone number
The custom greeting is the first message your clients will hear when they call your business number, and therefore, it is very important. Most of the business phone providers come with a default message. The messages are very general, and for better customer service you will want to change it.
There are VoIP providers that offer complementary professional recording services where your customized messages can be recorded in a studio and uploaded in the system.
Adding extensions for calls forwarded
There are VoIP providers that give you unlimited extensions while others have packages with a limited number. Whatever the case, the extensions can be used to forward calls to different departments or people. This redirection smoothens the workflow and increases productivity.
Customizing the voicemail message on your business phone
A customized voicemail message is equally as important as a customized greeting. In case a call from your client is not picked, this is the message they will hear requesting them to leave a voicemail.
The default voicemail message that comes with most VoIP providers is usually good enough. But its can be made tailor-made to suit the business. Moreover, if you have different extensions for different departments, each message can be customized for that department.
Changing the hold music for your business phone
This is the music the caller will hear when on hold. If you get lots of calls, clients will find themselves calling when all your call center operators are busy and will be placed on hold. This is an opportunity to showcase your customized hold music.
The hold music does not have to be music. It can be a smart promotional message may be showcasing a new product or service. This is a great advertising opportunity. Remember, this on-hold message is supposed to manage the frustrations of the customer kept on hold. Therefore, it should be very interesting as well.
Test your new business phone number
After the setup, the business phone number just needs to be tested to ensure it is working as programmed. It is important to test the number as a customer to gauge the experience. This includes how the hold music sounds and the other customized messages. After that, your business number can be operational.
How to properly use your free business phone number?
Picking a free business phone number
A free business phone number means you get to save some money, and therefore, more profit. This is the aim of any business, big or small. Each free business number service is most suited for different kinds of businesses.
To maximize the benefits of a free business phone number, it is crucial to make the following key decisions.
Toll free/ Vanity phone number or local phone number?
Toll-free numbers usually require a one-time fee. But they are usually very beneficial to your clients. They call for free, and you get a customized phone number. You can get a vanity phone number like 112-HOUSE for your real estate business.
Depending on your business, you may fancy a local number. This works well for a business that serves local customers who are more comfortable using phone numbers with their local area code. Plus, local phone numbers are more likely to be completely free, saving you that activation fee.
Unlimited minutes or limited minutes?
Again, this depends on your business. Some businesses only make a few short calls a month. A lot of the free business numbers come with limited free minutes. For some businesses, this will suffice. If that is the case, then the free business number will work perfectly for you.
However, there are other businesses that will exhaust the 300 minutes within a day or two. This means the free business number provider will not be a good option for you. You may need to compare the affordable and flexible VoIP options for unlimited calls.
Desk phone or cell phone?
Desk phones are more advanced, with more features and capabilities. This might be more costly, but if your business needs it, then it will be more efficient. But if your business is mostly outdoor or on the move, then the cell phone will be the more practical option. You can use just one cell phone for your personal and business calls.
How to choose a business phone plan?
What to consider when picking business VoIP provider?
The factors that will guide you to a VoIP provider is dependant on the size of your business, the nature of the business, the numbers of users, the growth potential, and the business budget. This makes choosing a suitable VoIP provider rather difficult. Since the decision is crucial for the prosperity of your business, here is what you should prioritize.
The cost of the VoIP provider and the features it comes with
This is key when choosing a business VoIP service. The amount you put in the telephone system should translate into value in terms of productivity and features. There are features that VoIP providers charge an extra fee for while their competitors offer the same feature for free or as a standard.
To avoid paying for features, you can get for free; you need to review all the VoIP providers. You should also check if the VoIP provider offers customization so that you do not pay for features you do not use.
Customer support; online support, call center
24-hour customer support is crucial when it comes to VoIP services. You do not want to have a hard time getting assistance if something goes wrong. Enquire about the nature of support the VoIP provider offers.
Quality of service offered by a VoIP provider
It is not enough getting numerous features from your phone service provider. The features have to be of high quality. The signals should always be strong so that calls do not drop or get interrupted. This can be frustrating when you are on an important call.
Customized VoIP packages for flexibility
VoIP services usually offer tailor-made plans suited for your business needs. These packages are flexible and allow for scalability. On a high season, for example, you can scale up, and on a low season you can scale down so that you do not pay for what you do not need. This is a good feature. If your business fluctuates with seasons, then pick a flexible VoIP provider.
Advantages of business VoIP over traditional phones
Why you should you switch to a business VoIP phone service?
Business VoIP, as discussed, is very beneficial. Below are some of its key benefits and why you should switch to a business VoIP phone service.
1. Business VoIP is more affordable
So how does having VoIP for your business save you money?
Well, first, the monthly charges for a business VoIP are significantly lower than the standard phone system. Since VoIP uses an internet connection, the rather expensive hardware needed for phone lines is not required. Furthermore, the old phone system operated on one call per line at a given time. This means that large companies that make lots of calls would need a lot of external lines. These lines would be billed individually and at a premium rate.
Using VoIP will also save you money when it comes to international calls. Traditional phones call charges are usually partly based on region and distance. That is, the longer the distance between the caller and receiver, the higher the call charges. This makes international call particularly costly. However, with VoIP, the calls are much cheaper, and even with some providers, the international calls are free.
VoIP is a simple set up because it is a cloud PBX system. So how does this cloud-based system translate to saving money? Well, all the hardware required for setting up the traditional phone system is not in play. Such equipment can get significantly expensive. Furthermore, they require technical maintenance, another dig at your budget.
Other financial benefits of using business VoIP is that it allows your organization to expand in the most inexpensive way. You do not require to make major adjustments or redesigning to accomplish any growth.
2. Business VoIP lets you work anywhere and any time you want
Business VoIP system has this feature called ‘find me/follow me,” which lets you have one virtual extension. This virtual extension comes in handy in different ways. For example, you do not need separate numbers for your office, home office, or cell phone, just one virtual extension for all devices. You can also set up your business phone to ring all the extensions, decide if the call should go to voicemail, and what to do with a missed. On top of that, when you make a call with your cloud phone using any device, the caller ID will always show the receiver your business phone number.
3. Business VoIP offers auto attendant
This is a virtual type of receptionist that automatically greets callers with a custom message. Auto attendant will also direct callers to the right individual, extensions, or department they are looking for. The caller usually picks options from the provided menu.
4. Business VoIP has business SMS
With business SMS, you can use any of your personal devices such as a tablet, smartphone or computer to send business-related text messages to colleagues, clients, or suppliers without needing a separate work phone number.
5. Business VoIP has flexible messaging options
With business VoIP, you have a couple of options on how you can retrieve your messages. You can easily transcribe your voicemails into text and get it via email. Or the fax can be virtually sent as a PDF.