Your mobile phone is your lifeline to your small business, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or part of a team. Most business owners communicate with a combination of an office phone and a mobile phone in order to avoid mixing business with personal communications. The most common solutions are either to put in an office phone landline, or to buy a separate cell phone just for work. However, a third and more cost-efficient option exists: add a business line to your smartphone.
You could go the more expensive route and upgrade your plan with your cell service provider to add a second line, but there is an even better way to add a separate business number to your existing smartphone: using a virtual business phone system. A virtual business number is just that, a number that you use only for your business, and is managed virtually. That is, through a mobile app or online web platform. One cell phone, two numbers. One is the number of your physical device, the other uses voice over internet protocol (VOIP) technology to provide advanced call management features on any smartphone or mobile device. It’s easy, convenient, and adds a huge amount of value in the day to day operations of small business owners.
The process when signing up with a virtual business phone service is simple. Just pick any available local or toll-free business phone number, and start using it right away. If you already have a business number, most platforms support porting it to their service. If you don’t have one, you can choose a new number that is simple and easy for customers to remember.
Abracadabra, presto change-o, the new number works just like magic! No expensive additional business cell phone or overpriced business calling plans. Most virtual business phone systems charge $20/month or less for starter services, a fraction of what an extra business line would cost.
The best thing about adding a business line to your smartphone this way are all the professional calling features you can take advantage of, to add functionality and more easily manage communications with internal teams, as well as customers and suppliers. You can talk and text from your business number, share a common number with team members, and create professional call menu options. Calls, text messages, voicemails and contacts are all kept separate from your personal data.
Benefits of Creating a Business Phone Line With a Smartphone App
Using a business calling app simplifies the call experience for both users and callers. When someone calls your business line, the app will ring with a distinct ringtone and screen so you know right away this is not a personal call. When members of your team share a common phone number, they can set all of their phones to ring at the same time when a call comes in. Whoever picks up first is instantly connected to the caller.
The system can be configured to have the caller dial an extension to reach a specific person or department. You can also set up call menu options, such as, “Press 1 for Amy” or “Press 2 for Rudy”. If you’re a larger business, “Press 1 for Sales” or “Press 2 for Customer Service”. Call menu options can be configured to forward calls to a single person or an entire team, instantly.
From the caller’s point of view, they are having the same experience they are already familiar with: dialing a single phone number to reach your business. Using advanced calling features helps your business present a more polished, professional face to the public, as well as suppliers and service providers.
The benefits of adding a business line to your smartphone include:
- Get a local or toll-free business phone number or port your current number.
- Talk & text from your business caller ID so your personal number stays private.
- Distinctive look for incoming business calls and text messages.
- Keep business calls, text messages, voicemail, & contacts separate.
- Voicemail transcription empowers you to read voicemail on the go.
- Set business hours so you receive business calls only when you want to.
- Team members get their own extension and can use the app for free.
- Keep track of customer conversations with in-app notes.
- Add call menu options for a polished and professional call experience.
Step-By-Step Guide: Adding a Business Phone Line To Your Smartphone
Virtual small business phone systems are easy, affordable, and highly portable, both on the move and across devices. The app works with your cell phone on the road, your desk phone at the office, and your laptop when traveling.
1. Download the Smartphone App
Apps are typically available on both Apple’s iOS (iPhone) and Google’s Android operating systems. You can read about the features of each app, or sign up for a free trial to see if the app you’re interested in is the right solution for you.
2. Verify Your Cell Phone Number
The first step is to enter your cell phone number. You will receive a verification code to authenticate your number, then you can start using the app.
3. Choose a Local or Toll-Free Business Phone Number
Business phone numbers are available from across every area code in the U.S. and Canada. Just tap the number you want and it’s yours. You can choose a convenient local number, a toll-free business number, or both with certain service plans. You can also port your current business number.
4. Choose the Right Plan for Your Business Needs
Most virtual phone providers offer tiered pricing plans, which enable you to select the right level of service for your business. A single line for a solopreneur is the most economical option, all the way up to hundreds of lines for a large office.
5. Add Team Members & Additional Business Phone Lines
Next, the app will likely prompt you to complete your profile by entering your name, email, and optional profile photo. The app may send you voicemail, tips, and instructions via email or notifications.
You will also have the option to add additional team members up to your plan’s limit, and everyone will receive their own extension. You and your team members will share a common business number configured to ring certain phones or all phones as you choose. Each team member you select will receive app download instructions and can use the app for free.
At this point, you can add wired devices like office VoIP phones or landlines. After you finish setup, you can start using your business phone number right away.
6. Set Business Hours and Customize Greetings & Voicemail
The default configuration may simply route calls to you and your users when customers call your business phone number. You may want to set up business hours, a welcome greeting, and voicemail greetings with a basic configuration.
If you need a more advanced configuration, you can set up call menu options with a virtual receptionist or auto attendant. Call menu options enable you to play helpful messages like hours and location, transfer callers to voicemail or to a live receptionist, and route callers to specific team members or departments.
Sharing One Business Line With Your Entire Team
Every organization needs its team members to work well together in order to achieve success. Studies have shown that 75% of employees rate collaboration and teamwork as “very important” when working together. This can be hard to achieve, especially in larger organizations with many teams or different branches. Using a single business line that links your entire company together, even if they are in scattered physical locations, is a great way to help effective teamwork happen.
By adding a virtual business number, you can:
- Pick from a vast inventory of local & toll-free phone numbers, or port in a number you’d like to keep.
- Easily add colleagues so that everyone on your team is linked to a common business phone number.
- Set up a virtual receptionist to answer your business calls and dynamically route calls to the most appropriate member of your team.
- Talk & text across your entire team with business caller ID right from their cell phones.
- Create business contacts, share contacts and notes about customer conversations.
Sharing a business phone number with your team couldn’t be easier, and incorporating a shared phone line into your business helps streamline your communications workflow. Mobility is becoming increasingly important in today’s work environment, and legacy business phone systems that keep you tied to your desk just don’t cut it any more. Add a business line to your smartphone today, and bring your communications in the 21st century.