What is a shared phone number? A shared phone number is like a shared email inbox, but for a phone. It allows multiple people to call and text from a single phone number.


Why you need a shared phone number

Have you ever wanted to give a colleague access to your phone so they could respond to calls or messages on your behalf? Or set up a phone number that rings multiple people on the team?

Whether it’s for sales, customer service or operations, the ability to have multiple people behind a phone number leads to shorter response times and less time spent on getting caught up with your team. You can team up on communications with your team, delegate tasks and stay up to speed easily.

How you can use shared phone numbers

There are many ways a shared phone number can be useful for you and your team.

  • Customer support phone number
  • Inbound sales phone number
  • The main phone number for the company that’s used on company registration documents, government services, etc. and shared among the founding team
  • A dedicated phone number for priority / VIP customer support
  • Being able to invite your assistant to your phone number to help respond to calls and messages
  • A shared phone number for your office buzzer, delivery services, etc.
  • Are you using a shared number in a creative way? Let us know!

How could you share access to a phone number with a colleague?

  1. Forward incoming calls to a colleague. If you’re using your phone number both for business and personal, they’ll get both your personal and work calls. Text messages don’t get forwarded.
  2. Buy a virtual phone number and forward calls from it to multiple numbers. That means team members can’t call out of the original phone number. There’s no track record of outbound calls. And just as before, texts aren’t forwarded.
  3. Set up a business phone system with an auto-attendant (IVR) and extensions. It could work for a larger team or a company with different departments. For a small team though it’s an overkill. Plus, how do you text an extension?

Luckily, there’s a better way to share a phone number with a colleague or a team. And yes, it rhymes with “phone” 🙂

How to share a phone number with your team on OpenPhone

Here are the instructions for getting a shared phone number on OpenPhone:

1 – Create an account with OpenPhone ⤴️

2 – During sign up, select your city or area code in the US or Canada to pick your phone number. You can also get a 1-800 toll-free phone number.

You can pick a local number in virtually any city in the US and Canada as well as a 1-800 toll-free number

3 – Invite the team member(s) you’d like to have access to your phone number via the Admin Dashboard ⤴️

Invite a team member to share a phone number

4 – That’s it! They’ll get an email with the link to the mobile & web apps.

How does calling and texting on a shared number work?

  1. Everyone gets calls. When you get a call, everyone with access to the phone number will have their app ring. The first person to pick up stops ringing for others. You can place concurrent calls so the number is never “busy”.
  2. Everyone gets messages and voicemail. When the shared number gets a message or voicemail, everyone sees it in their OpenPhone app. All messages, voicemail and call history are synced so you know if a conversation was opened.
  3. See who said what. Every outgoing message shows the team member who sent it. You can also see who made a call or accepted a call.
  4. See who’s typing. You can see who’s drafting a response as they are typing. So you never send multiple replies to a customer again (I’ve been there)
  5. Shared contacts. Your business address book is shared with everyone sharing the number. If someone adds the name or details of a customer, all team members will have that contact information on OpenPhone right away.
See who’s typing never send multiple replies to a customer again.

Does the recipient know there’s a team behind a phone number?

This question gets asked a lot. No, the recipient doesn’t know there’s a team behind a number. It looks like a regular conversation to them – whether they send a message or call.

Author

Co-Founder at OpenPhone. Ukrainian-Canadian in SF. Love exploring new hiking trails.

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