It seems like such a small detail, finding and choosing a business phone number, until it’s actually time for you to do exactly that. Then it’s clear that there are a number of different decisions and considerations involved in the process, and that there’s a lot of pressure to choose the right one.
What type of number should you get? What services and call features do you need? Do you want to be lugging around multiple phones, and how should you choose from the many providers and carriers out there?
If you’re currently in the middle of the decision making process, we’re here to help. We’ll take you step by step through the process of narrowing down what you need and want so that when you’re finding a business phone number, you’ll be able to choose the right one the first time around.
1. Decide What Services You Need
First, before you ever start looking at plans and pricing, you should consider what call functions you need your business number to have. Not all carriers are equal, and having this information upfront will prevent you from walking away from features you might really need because you want to keep costs as low as possible.
Here at Tresta, for example, we offer all of the following features (amongst others):
- Virtual business numbers which can be added to your existing phones through an app.
- Call routing, call forwarding, extensions, and auto attendants based on schedules you set
- Customized voicemail and call greetings
- Call recording
If you know that you don’t want every customer who calls the business to reach the same person, you need to have extensions, call routing, and call features enabled. And if you want to create a seamless and hyper-branded experience for your customers, customized greetings are essential.
Make a list of the features that you know you need in a business phone number. This may include generic features like the ability to use the number internationally, and having a list will help you be able to whittle down the list of carriers to one that’s compatible with your needs.
2. Pick Whether You Want A Toll-Free or Local Number
There are pros and cons of both toll-free and local numbers, so think about what works for you.
Toll-free numbers can help you look established, giving you a nice boost of credibility, and are a great choice for businesses who are expanding beyond a small geographic region.
Local numbers, on the other hand, are strong choices for small, local businesses who have strong connections to their communities and plan to stay there.
This decision will be a predominantly visual one, and you should choose the option that works best to solidify how you want potential customers to see your brand. Once you know what you want, you can choose a provider who offers that specific type of number.
Fun fact: Here at Tresta, we offer both!
3. Choose If You Want to Go for Vanity Numbers
Some carriers will let you choose the number that you want, as long as it’s available. (And if you already have a number that you want to stay with, they’ll let you port it to their service). This includes vanity numbers, like “1-800-YES-HONDA” and “1-800-WATCH-TV.”
These are carefully chosen by brands who want customers to remember their numbers without a hitch. In many cases, of course, people may still forget the exact combination, but it’s a big bonus towards branding and it can help the number be more memorable. It will also help you to stand out in a search engine or directory.
Not all brands want vanity numbers, however, and it’s good to remember that you don’t need a clever slogan for your digits to be memorable. And with the advancement of technology, most people will save your number in their phones if they need it regularly, and single-click-to-call mobile optimization options can make it easy work for customers to call you in an instant.
4. Consider a Virtual Phone Number
Do you want to carry around two phones at all times and doll out additional devices for each member of your staff, or would you rather just have everyone install an app on their phones that can be turned on and off so that they can route business calls from their personal devices?
Virtual phone numbers like Tresta’s give you the option to have an entire second line on a phone that you already have and carry with you everywhere, and all you need to do is install our app on your phone. This app gives you the option to use all those fancy features we talked about earlier without any fancy equipment.
You can learn more about virtual business numbers and what they entail here.
5. Find a Provider That Can Give You What You Need
At this point, you’ve got a list of the services and features that you know you need so that you can best serve your customers as you scale your business. It’s important to find a provider who can give you everything that you need, because while you can convert to another carrier later, it’s easier to find the right one up front.
Compare providers based on the features they offer and their pricing. It’s also a good idea to check for customer reviews for each provider to ensure that you’ll truly be in good hands.
Finding a business phone number can be just one more complicated decision in a long stream of complicated, exhausting decisions for business owners, but if you get it right the first time you don’t have to worry about it again.
Go through our checklist, narrowing down the options and features that you know you’ll need, and keep in mind what you anticipate you may need as your business grows. This is crucial, because you should choose a business phone number that can scale alongside you. Here at Tresta, we’re happy that we can, but not all carriers can say the same.
Are you ready to pull the trigger and get your business number set up today? Start your free trial with Tresta and see if it’s right for you!