Why You Need a Business Number
For small business owners and startups, using your personal cell phone number for work isn’t a good idea. By using your personal number, you’re allowing customers, clients, and investors to contact you at any given time. While it makes sense to take calls personally as your business is starting out, it’s not a scalable process. Eventually, you’ll need a dedicated phone number that can be accessed by multiple team members to support your customers, internal teams, and investors.
It’s always a good idea to have a separate business phone line for phone calls. When starting a business, one of the first things you should do is get a business phone number. But instead of purchasing a second phone or using a landline, you can easily get a second phone number through a VoIP phone service that works with your existing devices.
Use a VoIP Service for your Business Phone
Why should you use a VoIP provider as your business phone service? Unlike landlines and desk phones, a VoIP service works through any device with an internet connection. Mobile phones, computers, and tablets can all work for VoIP providers. As long as your internet connection works, you can make calls or send text messages at any time through your virtual phone number.
VoIP services are typically cheaper than traditional office phone systems as they don’t require special hardware, dedicated phone lines or extra fees. For example, some VoIP providers let you call Canada from the US without having to pay international calling rates. For small businesses and startups, VoIP is a much better system. Unless you’re a corporation with thousands of employees, stick to VoIP.
Alternative names for VoIP services include virtual phone systems, cloud phone systems, and softphones.
Features Needed for a Business Phone
Businesses and customers are becoming more and more complex every day. There are hundreds of business phone systems available, so keep an eye out for business phone systems that have the following:
- Call Forwarding: Forwarding incoming calls to the right people can help customers and clients get in touch with the right people. This is vital for customer support.
- Call Recording: Recording business calls can help you with training, product updates, conference call updates, interviews, and more.
- Support for Multiple Devices: Many VoIP service providers have mobile apps that allow their services to run on smartphones. iPhones, Android phones, and tablets can all support VoIP apps. Some VoIP services even provide web-based and desktop apps so you can use them on your computer.
- Vanity Numbers: A vanity phone number is a fun way to help customers remember your phone number. For example, 1-800-FLOWERS is a vanity phone number.
- Toll-free numbers: Customers shouldn’t have to pay to call you. With toll-free numbers, your customers can call you without having to pay additional fees.
- Auto-attendant / Call Routing: Automation is always positive for businesses. With an auto-attendant, calls can be routed to the right person without getting receptionists involved.
- Local Numbers: If you work with local businesses, having a local phone number can. For example, if your business is based in Seattle, but you have lots of customers in New York, you can use a telephone number with a local area code to increase the chances of customers picking up your calls.
- Phone Number Sharing: If you have a customer support team, they can use shared phone numbers to pick up calls as they come in.
- SMS / MMS Texting: Customer support through text is becoming more and more popular. With SMS support, you can answer questions through text from a central location.
- Voicemail Transcription: You can’t listen to every voicemail as it comes in. With voicemail transcription, voicemails are automatically transcribed and sent to you through email, text, or Slack.
- Set Business Hours: Unless your business is 24/7, setting business hours can let your customers know when they can contact you if they call outside of normal business hours.
Looking for a VoIP service with all the above features? Check out OpenPhone. We have all the above features and even a few more required for modern business phone systems!
Business Phone Service Providers
There are hundreds of business phone systems available today. Large corporations with thousands of employees across the globe in office buildings tend to rely on enterprise solutions available through Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. These enterprise solutions are built to support thousands of calls per day, require specialized hardware, and are integrated into multiple systems.
For mid-market companies, services like Grasshopper, Nextiva, and RingCentral are popular business phone options because they provide VoIP services meant to support hundreds of employees. They’re typically cheaper than enterprise solutions but aren’t cost-effective for smaller businesses. These services are also focused on older technology and hardware, so they don’t typically meet the needs of modern companies or workflows. Integrating these VoIP services with apps like Gmail and Slack is time-consuming (and sometimes not possible). However, there are more advanced solutions available to mid-market and smaller businesses.
VoIP services like OpenPhone are built with modern businesses in mind. With support for multiple devices, integrations with your most-used apps, and no special hardware required, OpenPhone is a great alternative to older VoIP phone services. OpenPhone’s affordable pricing and features provide all the features needed for business phones without the hefty cost or additional hardware seen in mid-market and enterprise solutions.
One additional business phone number option is Google Voice. Even though Google Voice is a popular alternative, it shouldn’t be used as a business phone.
Using Google Voice for Business
We’ve seen many businesses try to use Google Voice as their business phone because it gives you a free phone number. Sounds great right? While a free phone number is great, Google Voice isn’t built to help businesses. It’s more suited to personal use and lacks many key features required for business phones. Some of the features Google Voice is missing include:
- No toll-free or vanity numbers
- No business hours settings
- No phone number sharing (no way to share a phone number with your team as the business grows)
- No separate business address book
- No auto-replies when you miss calls or get messages after hours
Also, no customer support. If your business is important to you, you’ll want to make sure it’s also important to your business phone provider. We definitely recommend using Google Voice if you need a personal phone number. But using Google Voice for business is limited. Unless you’re a self-proprietor who just wants an alternate phone number to ward off spam calls, consider using OpenPhone as a Google Voice alternative.
Why OpenPhone is the Best Way to Get a Business Phone Number
OpenPhone is used by thousands of businesses as their business phone system. Through OpenPhone, you can make unlimited calls throughout the world to help support your customers, team members, and clients. OpenPhone is available for iOS, Android, and on the web.
OpenPhone has many required features for business phone systems including:
- Toll-free numbers
- Automatic call recording
- Works in the US and internationally
- Auto-replies for iPhones and Android
- Crystal-clear audio quality
- Ability to set business hours
- Multiple phone numbers tied to one account
- Number porting
- Dedicated customer support
Don’t take my word for it – check out the free trial of OpenPhone today and see how you like it.
How to Get a Business Phone Number with OpenPhone
Ready to start using OpenPhone? You can get a business phone number up and running in just 3 steps!
Step 1 – Pick your phone number
Step 2 – Create an account
Sign in with Google or with email + one-time PIN. Your call.
Step 3 – Customize your phone to fit your business
Once your account is set up, you can take the following steps to be up and running in minutes.
- Set up your business voicemail greeting
- Set your business hours (9-5 M-F or whatever suits you)
- Set up an auto-attendant
- Determine if you want to auto-record all phone calls
- Set up auto-replies for missed calls, text messages and voicemail
Start your free trial of OpenPhone today!