If you start a business, there are many important decisions you need to make. What will you call the company? How are you going to present your brand and values? How will you market your products and services? It may seem that deciding on your phone number is relatively unimportant but it may be one of the key aspects to consider, especially when you don’t want to use your personal phone number.
Your phones – and other communication platforms – are what keep you in touch with customers and partners or suppliers. But internal communications, whether in one location or with teams and staff working remotely or in other locations, is also essential. Good communication means good teamwork and efficient collaboration.
Selecting a specific business number (also known as a direct inward dialling or DID number) can make a real difference to your company. A lot depends on your particular business needs. But just what is a business phone number? Are there different types? What benefits does having a dedicated and specific business number give you?
What is a business phone number?
A business phone number can make you stand out from the crowd as a professional organisation. They’re linked to your cloud-based unified communications platform and can offer more options than a standard landline number. A business number is a bridge between your brand and your existing and potential customers.
Depending on your business type and needs, you can choose from a personal phone number, toll-free (free call), landline numbers, or local phone numbers to appeal to customers in different areas who would rather make a local call.
Choosing a business number from a service provider such as RingCentral means you also have access to a wide range of features including call monitoring and call recording, power dialers, voicemail (for when you are busy or outside business hours), auto-attendant (or virtual receptionist), analytics and much more. These can help you not only manage your communications efficiently but also give you data-driven and actionable insights.
Types of business phone numbers
1. Local Numbers
Your business may have one central location but you want to appeal to customers in different areas. By choosing a local number with a local area code, you make your business look like a local business and can attract customers looking for more localised products and services. Many organisations will buy multiple local numbers in order to achieve this.
2. Toll-Free Numbers (free call)
Many organisations choose to have one or more free call numbers to enhance their customer service provision. In Australia, you’ll find that these free call numbers begin with either an 18 or 1800 prefix and that they are free to call from any landline or mobile number. These are a great choice as a customer support phone line but are also useful for specific marketing campaigns.
3. Vanity Numbers
A vanity number is a number that has been customised especially for your business, usually spelling out something related to your company. For example, ‘1800 big fun’ is likely easier for people to remember than the numerical version.
4. VoIP Numbers
When you sign up for a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone service such as one of the various plans offered by RingCentral, then you’re assigned a dedicated VoIP number for your business. While more expensive than the other types listed, a VoIP number offers many additional features such as call routing, analytics, mobile apps for android or iOS, and more. VoIP numbers also offer greater scalability than other types of phone numbers.
Benefits of having a business phone number
The first question you will likely ask yourself is ‘what benefits will a business phone offer me?’ There are a number of benefits that a business number will provide when compared to landlines or to using smartphones/mobile devices that utilise your personal number. The value of benefits will vary according to how you operate your business as well as your business needs.
1. Multi-Device Access
One of the primary benefits of a VoIP business number is that you can use it on whatever device you prefer. It will work on your traditional desk phone, on a smartphone or a mobile phone as well as on your laptop or desktop computer. This gives you the flexibility to make and receive phone calls whether you are in the office or on the road.
With call forwarding options, it also means that you shouldn’t miss any calls if you’ve set up your routing rules properly. If someone calls you on one number and the call is unanswered, the call can be forwarded to the device you’re on at the time.
2. Better Call Management
Both a virtual phone number and a VoIP number will offer you better call management options than a landline. One of the best features is Caller ID, letting you screen incoming calls as well as be more prepared for business calls. Getting real-time notifications of missed calls and voicemails also means you can deal with any call quickly. You can also manage outbound calls and use tools such as a power dialer where needed.
Some business VoIP providers like RingCentral will also offer a voice-to-text transcription of your voicemails so that you can read any messages as well as having a ‘written’ record of important messages in case you need to refer to the info later. Transcription software is a tool you should check that any provider can offer you when you sign up to their service.
3. Reduced Call Costs
We all like saving money, especially your CFO! Choosing a business VoIP number can greatly reduce your call costs as it utilises your internet or Wi-Fi connection and doesn’t need any additional hardware. Many providers also offer unlimited calls with some plans. It can also reduce overall costs by unifying all your communications apps on one single platform.
Switching to a single provider means that you also have a unique and more efficient payment model, one that allows you to scale upwards when you add new staff. With less hardware but more communications options, you should see a better ROI on any investment in this area. Savings can be significant over time when you compare to your old landline bills.
4. Increased Retention
If you move to a unified communications platform, then you have access to a host of tools that allow you to provide a better customer experience from end-to-end. When your customers are happy, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your brand and organisation which in turn increases their CLV (customer lifetime value).
RingCentral allows for integration with more than 200 apps. That means your teams can work more efficiently with access to great apps such as Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, Zendesk and more. Having good CRM (customer relationship management) apps means you can provide a quicker and more personalised service to all your customers.
Get your business phone number with RingCentral
There are many good reasons why you should choose RingCentral as your business phone provider. In this modern age, you want your business phone system to be much more than just a phone, and RingCentral delivers the functionality you need and more.
RingCentral’s system means you can access your calls no matter where you are, perfect when you have remote or hybrid workers or if you have that all-important conference to attend. Set up call forwarding so that you get important calls on the device of your choice and customise your voicemail settings so you get real-time notifications or even voice-to-text transcriptions.
If you have a lot of incoming calls, you can also set up an IVR (interactive voice response) system that can help ensure any callers can get to the right person, team or department. Customise your IVR to ask relevant questions and quickly identify the needs of any caller.
As we’ve discovered, you want more than just a phone system. With RingCentral, you get access to all the communications options you need. High-quality video conferencing is ideal as a replacement for physical meetings when the participants are working remotely.
Video conferencing encourages better teamwork and collaboration and the ability to share screens, files and other info means that all your teams can work together better on project and task management. Workflows are more streamlined and productivity can increase as a result. You can also send SMS messages with ease, something that can enhance your marketing campaigns.
One thing that concerns many managers and business owners is whether a new phone system will be complex to administer. Once you sign up, activation is easy and with RingCentral – it’s simple to administer your phone system from one intuitive interface. You can easily set up rules for features such as call routing or forwarding as well as configuring new users with the click of a mouse.
As long as you have two or more lines, it’s straightforward to apply common phone settings to all your users with the handy templates supplied. This allows you to apply the same settings to all your staff or to customise according to the needs of different branches, teams, or departments.
RingCentral also recognises that while you may be a small business right now, you have ambitions to grow. That’s why scalability is easy and painless and you can add new employees easily via your account settings.
With so many features, great functionality and the ability to integrate all the tools and apps you need, you can see why RingCentral is such a good choice. Whether you are a small business (remember that scalability) or an enterprise-level organisation, RingCentral can provide you with the most efficient unified communications platform available.
Originally published 03 Jun, 2022