How Do I Get a Business Phone Number? (2023 Update)
If you own a small business, you need to get a business phone number for your business needs. Although many small business owners use their personal phone numbers to make and receive work-related calls, it is not the most effective.
Having a personalized business phone number makes you stand out from your competitor. It also gives your business a professional look to your target audience. Instead of using your personal cellphone and landline for your business calls, you can use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) as a better alternative.
There are three simple steps involved in getting a business phone number.
- Choose the Right Business Phone System and Plan
- Choose Your Business Phone Number
- Select Phones for Your Virtual Business Phone System
Let's get started.
Step 1: Choose the Right Business Phone System and Plan
Businesses need an efficient phone service designed to receive incoming calls from customers and prospective clients. There are so many business phone services for small businesses that offer basic communication needs (freebie options). Nevertheless, companies who have sophisticated demands ought to employ the use of high-quality office phone services.
A faulty service behind your office phone system can cause a negative effect on your company's communication efficiency. The business world is a very competitive one and similar loopholes can cost one its credibility.
Most small-scale businesses use personal mobiles as their business phone system. Some businesses use old landlines that do not offer cloud phone system features such as artificial intelligence, team collaboration, voice to email transcriptions, auto-attendant, advanced call screening, video conferencing, and others.
Although the old landlines and mobile phones might be offering you the basic needs, managing a business in this century necessitates an upgrade. One way to upgrade is to get a traditional phone line (a separate line from your personal phone line). In this way, you will call the phone company to run a new line to your organization for a fee (setup charges).
Subsequently, you would pay extra bucks every month. A disadvantage is that this phone system is tied to your office and a call can only be picked up when one is physically around.
A better alternative is to use a cloud phone system. We are in the days of full-time connected internet access. You can access the internet from any device, anywhere, and anytime. You do not have to use traditional phone systems anymore. The cost of installation and management is not as expensive as for a traditional phone system.
Features of the Right Business Phone System and Plan
If you want to be sure that a phone system is the right one for your business, you have to look out for some features.
For effective communication, there are some critical features you need to look out for. Not many people take note but they are very vital to businesses. These features include:
- Automatic Call Recording. The business phone system should be able to record all incoming and outgoing calls.
- Call Forwarding. A feature that allows a call can ring on multiple devices at the same time. Also, you can set the system to forward calls only during specific hours.
- Conference Calls. A feature that gives you the ability to put all clients on the same conference line without interference issues.
- Auto-attendants. The auto-attendant feature makes your business look more professional and formal.
- High-audio Quality. The system should transmit audio enough for recipients to pick up every word said during the call.
These features give business owners and entrepreneurs the adequate tools that are needed to upscale a business.
As entrepreneurs, you need to make every penny count. Most traditional phone plans are very expensive to acquire, some cost as much as $50 per line. Some businesses can not afford this much for a phone system. So, what's your next best option? The best alternative is a phone system powered by VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
- Easy Setup. A VoIP-powered business phone system is faster and easier to set up for small, medium, and large-scale businesses.
- Easy to Acquire A New Business Phone Number. With a business VoIP provider, acquiring a new business phone number is very easy and stress-free. You do not need to have a desk phone or install a new phone line before you can get a new number.
- Efficient Management of Calls Across Devices. With VoIP phones, you can manage calls from any device. It can be used as an app on a phone. You can also receive incoming calls on a laptop or desktop computer. If you have to upgrade from an old landline, you can port your number to the VoIP system.
Other examples of the advantages of VoIP over landlines and traditional phone lines are:
- Lower costs
- Better mobility
- Greater audio quality, etc.
The features to look out for in a phone system as listed above are also part of what makes a VoIP system better than traditional phone lines.
Best Business Phone Services
Here are the best business phone services that organizations can use.
Step 2: Choose Your Business Phone Number
Before choosing a business phone number, you need to understand the variety of available options. Many VoIP providers offer businesses the choice of selecting between toll-free numbers, local numbers, virtual numbers, or vanity numbers.
Types of Business Phone Numbers
To help you know your best option, let us take a look at each of the types of business phone numbers, what they have to offer, and how the numbers can improve the communication efficiency of your business.
1. Toll-Free Phone Number
A toll-free number is a type of number that can be accessed by people from different locations, i.e. it is location-agnostic. It is also called a free phone number. To the caller, it is like calling a landline for free.
An advantage of toll-free phone numbers is that they appear more professional to recipients. One way your business can get a toll-free number instantly is to use high-quality toll-free 800 number providers such as RingCentral, Ooma, Grasshopper, 8×8, and MightyCall. The setup is straightforward.
Also, you can forward your toll-free number to an existing line. A toll-free number is a three-digit code. The average cost for using a toll-free phone number is $10 per month.
2. Local Phone Number
Getting a local phone number is easy for anyone, whether you run a business or not. You can acquire your number from a local phone company or from Google Voice. The setup is quite fast and the number is tied to a location via the area code you choose.
Local phone numbers are ways people establish a presence in a region even if they are not there. It is also a three-digit code that represents a region, a city, or a state.
You can start using the local phone number the very same day you set it up. A local phone number costs an average of $0 – $10 per month.
3. Virtual Phone Number
Virtual phone numbers function as a voicemail or call forwarding service. Not everyone likes this option because it does not function as reliable phone service.
A virtual phone number is used when you want to forward incoming calls to another number. This type of number is the right option for a business that wants to create a local presence in an environment and not make calls from there.
Some of the best virtual phone number providers include RingCentral, Grasshopper, Vonage, CallHippo, GoToConnect, and Talkroute. A virtual phone number is priced within the range of $0 – $10 per month.
4. Vanity Phone Number
A vanity phone number is like an upgraded version of toll-free numbers. It takes the toll-free experience to a higher level by introducing a thread of numbers. The string of numbers and words will be particular to a company's brand, i.e. you can recognize a brand from the thread of numbers.
If you want to register a vanity phone number today, your desired number might have been claimed. But surprisingly, it might still be available. You can acquire rights to a number first by contacting a vanity phone number distributor. The cost is within the range of $10 – $50 per month.
Some of the best vanity phone number providers include RingCentral, Grasshopper, eVoice, 800.com, and Phone.com.
Step 3: Select Phones for Your Virtual Business Phone System
Getting the right type of phone number is a step closer to being able to place and receive calls using VoIP. However, after getting the phone number, you need an IP-based phone that is compatible with VOIP to use the number.
The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a set of standards for voice phone calls via VoIP. It tells if your phone is compatible with your business phone system. SIP trunking acts as a virtual phone line that enables users to make and receive phone calls over the internet irrespective of geographical barriers.
You should upscale your communication services by choosing a professional VoIP phone. If you are confused about which one to go for, check for quality brands that have a track record for credibility and originality. Twilio, Plivo, Bandwidth, and Nextiva are some of the best SIP trunking providers that you can patronize.
Also, if you have a cloud-phone service provider, you can contact them to help you explore the different costs of leasing or buying VoIP hardware. These providers have a better experience and they will be able to choose the best brand at your budget.
Optimize Your Business Phone Calls with Extensions
After successfully setting up your phone number, you can begin to add extensions. Small-scale businesses like salons, kiosks, or repair shops make good use of extensions. In this way, the business does not have to use separate phone numbers. All they need to do is to register a central number for all the staff to use.
If a central number is created, callers can dial the extension that rings a particular individual or department in the company. A very good example is a customer calling a salon to book an appointment with a manicurist of their choice. Extensions are no big deal for service providers to arrange. To handle VIP calls, you can forward the extension to a personal line.
Another advantage of extensions is that it helps companies to trim the bills of their phone calls. It also helps to increase the size of a small-scale business, i.e. making it appear bigger than it is. Another advantage is that it is easier for customers to reach whoever they want when a business phone number has extensions.
However, extension is just one of the features to look at when selecting phones for your business phone system. Let us take a look at other features to think about.
Additional Business Phone Features
The satisfaction that comes with the use of a phone depends on the features that come with it. Here are the top phone features to look out for.
- Custom Messages. Custom greetings or welcome messages are some of the best features that a phone can have. You can create a greeting or pre-record a welcome message for every customer that calls your line. In this way, you do not have to keep someone in watch of a phone system to receive calls or hire a voice-over agent to take that position.
- Auto Attendants. The auto-attendant feature allows your customers to select whoever they want to talk to. For customers who have developed an interest in specific employees, this feature is beneficial. All they need to do is to press the right button and the phone system will direct their call to the right person. This feature boosts your customer service experience. Also, if an employee receives a call, he/she would know why the customer is calling and attend to them appropriately.
VoIP Phone Systems Save 80% of Telephony Costs
Businesses need an effective business phone system that can allow them to make and receive calls at low costs. High phone bill costs are one of the biggest concerns of business owners using traditional business phone systems. These costs include the cost of purchase and installation of hardware, and local and long-distance phone calls.
A cheaper alternative to the traditional business phone system with more advanced calling features is the VoIP phone system.
VoIP phone systems can save your business 40-80 percent of the telephony costs that it would attract using traditional business phone systems. There are cheap VoIP services that offer access to their services for little or no cost.
Business VoIP phone systems have very low installation and equipment purchase costs compared to traditional phone systems. In many cases, you do not need to purchase any additional equipment.
VoIP phone systems can cost as low as $10 a month per line which includes unlimited calls over the internet. Traditional phone systems cost $50-$65 per line monthly and may attract extra charges for both local and international calls.