How to Get a Business Phone Number? 5 Easy Ways
Whether you want to start a new business or expand your current one, you will most likely need a new phone number for it. Nowadays, we have emails, social media messages, and live chat widgets, among other channels. However, for many people, a phone call is still their preferred method of communication.
For this reason, you should always allow customers to contact you by phone. To do this professionally, you should consider getting yourself a business phone number.
Although buying it may seem simple, there are a few things to consider. We’ll cover them all.
Selecting the right business phone system
To begin with, do you really need a business phone system? If so, what volume of calls would be satisfactory for you?
Before you dive into business phone number options, there are some more questions to answer.
#1 Should I go on-premise or online?
An on-premises or on-site phone system will be set to work from one, physical location (e.g. your office). This requires you to invest in the necessary hardware and services upfront.
You may also have to set up an on-premise PBX (private branch exchange) to create multiple extensions for your employees and provide additional phone system features, such as call transferring and call directories.
Hosted or cloud-based platforms can be accessed online, from anywhere in the world. This flexibility also comes at a lower price, as the only cost on your side is usually just a monthly subscription fee.
#2 How big is your business?
If you run a small company, you may not need sophisticated infrastructure for your business phone number. Simple solutions and a spare number may suffice, at least at first. However, this can change as you scale. Pick the right system for both the current and desired or expected future size of your business.
Cloud-based business phone providers allow you to scale easily, no matter which direction you want to take. Do you need to jump from 1 to 15 phone numbers, or scale down from 30 to 3 in a day? No problem.
#3 What about other communication channels?
You may think that you don’t need a business phone if all of your other communication channels function flawlessly.
That’s fair enough – it can make little or no sense to start a revolution if you have a fully functional workflow with other channels, or if your audience doesn’t call you often. However, you may still consider having a backup business number for those who do prefer to communicate this way.
Choosing your business phone number
Once you find out what you need, you can then look at how to actually get yourself a business phone number. There are three main ways in which you can purchase a new number for your business:
#1 Landline number
Getting a business phone number with a landline is the most traditional method. However, as we mentioned, it also costs the most and is not very flexible.
If you want to go this way, you will have to contact a selected telecom or phone company first and submit a request to add another line to your office. Then, upon buying all of the necessary equipment, you can schedule a tech appointment to get the system up and running.
Even though it sounds straightforward, this method has a few downsides. First, you might have to wait as long as several weeks for your line to become fully active. You must also cover all of the expenses related to the line by yourself well in advance, which can be a drawback for many.
#2 Virtual numbers and VoIP services
The popularity of landline business phone numbers has been decreasing proportionally to the growing interest in remote-friendly solutions for quite some time now.
However, in 2020, with the Coronavirus outbreak, this tendency fully escalated. There was a total change of heart for many businesses. Overnight, many were no longer able to access their landlines because suddenly no one was working in the office.
As a solution to carrying out business communication in turbulent times, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) emerged as a popular choice. Using VoIP, you can make cheaper phone calls more easily and accessible from virtually anywhere in the world. Just with an Internet connection.
VoIP solutions are also easily adjustable and extendable, meaning they can grow with your company. In seconds you can add new virtual numbers, users, and features to your existing set. Without involving extra staff, services, or equipment.
Time savings can also be linked to financial ones: VoIP can greatly reduce costs.
#3 Additional mobile phone number
VoIP services or landlines are great when you work on a large scale, but that might not always be the case. Even just a spare number can be sufficient if you’re just starting out or you’re a solopreneur. Such solutions have a near-zero cost, are flexible, and require very little setup. You will lose many interesting features that VoIP offers, but you may simply not need these at the beginning of your journey.
Types of business phone numbers
If you have already started looking for a landline or virtual number, you may have been surprised by the number of options. What should you choose: a local number, a toll-free number, or perhaps a vanity number? Which of them would work the best for your business?
Local Phone Numbers
A local phone number is one that starts with an area code for a specific region, city, or state. Seeing a familiar number prefix makes people feel at ease, so if you want to contact people in a specific location then getting a local number might be the best choice.
But what if you want to expand to another city or country? Customers may hesitate to call a company with a foreign prefix if you only use the same local phone number. Having many local landlines would be neither convenient nor cost-effective, though.
A clever option here would be to get a virtual local phone number for your chosen location. For example, CloudTalk lets you buy local phone numbers from over 140 countries.
Toll-Free Phone Numbers
A toll-free number is one that begins with one of the associated codes – 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833, in the United States. As the owner of such a number, you will be billed both for incoming and outgoing calls.
This means that customers can reach out to you without them having to worry about the costs. Toll-free numbers may encourage customers to call you with any questions or issues they may have. But you could then worry about whether or not you can afford to add a toll-free number to your company. Especially when running on a tight budget.
In that case, you might be interested in purchasing a “shared-cost” toll-free number. Instead of only you being charged for incoming calls, the cost will be split between you and the customer. Shared-cost numbers are therefore both easier on your budget and more convenient for your customers, who can call you at a lower rate than if they used a regular number.
Vanity Phone Numbers
A vanity phone number is a local or toll-free phone number that lets you spell out words or phrases that are relevant to your brand. Such short but memorable numbers work like a charm for any digital or printed campaign in which your phone number must be visible and easy to remember. How could you use one?
It could be a good idea to mention your specialization so that people know exactly what you can help them with just from the number, e.g. 1800-Flowers. You could also add your brand name to the phone number to make it more memorable, as FedEx did with their 1-800-GO-FedEx number.
Selecting phones for your business phone system
Have you decided on the type of phone number that you want to have? Now the only thing you need is a calling device. Which one should you pick, though?
If you have chosen a landline system, then you don’t have many other options besides either buying a traditional desktop phone or getting a business PBX set. It might make more sense to get a PBX phone for business calls, as they can give you many useful features that regular phones do not have.
PBX phones are unfortunately on the pricier side, though. If you have to buy 10 or 15 of them for all of your employees, then you might have to spend quite a bit of money even when opting for cheaper models. For example, an average PBX phone will cost around $1,000 per agent.
What’s more, PBX phones are also typically contract-bound. This means that before a contract with the provider ends, you might have problems changing, replacing, or modifying the devices. As such, you should pick those carefully.
If you are looking for something a bit more flexible and easier to scale, then a VoIP platform might be a good option for you. As your employees can use any device they like for making and receiving calls, there is no need to buy new phones for your team right away. What’s more, they can easily switch between multiple devices and choose the one that is most comfortable for them at any moment. Simply by logging into the VoIP service on another device.
Optimize Your Business Calls with Extensions
You could buy a separate phone number for each employee, but that would likely require a lot of time and money. A better idea would be to use call extensions. These are short, easy-to-remember numbers that are individualized for each department or employee, through which they can quickly reach who they want.
Let’s say that an agent has to discuss an urgent issue with a coworker from a different department. Instead of typing the full number (and possibly making a mistake), they can just type a four-digit extension to get connected straight away.
How much time could they save by calling the right department through an extension rather than the entire phone number? Quite a lot when it all adds up.
Optimizing your business phone system with more features
Improving your and your team’s productivity is probably one of your top priorities. Most modern phone systems have several features that can help you with this.
Sadly, the majority of them are not available with regular landline or PBX phones. While those phone systems do have a couple of useful built-in features, their capabilities are generally pretty basic.
What’s more, most advanced features are usually only available as add-ons for which you would need to pay separately. Sum the costs up and the end-price for upgrading your phone system might be well above what you can afford.
In contrast, virtual phone platforms come with numerous business features that are available to you from the start at no extra cost. Have a quick look at some features of CloudTalk that could help your team function better than ever:
- Auto-attendant with which you can route all calls to the most suitable agent straight away.
- Personalized greetings will be played to all customers when they, for example, call outside your working hours.
- Voicemail drop, through which your team can record a voicemail message once and use it whenever needed rather than record a new voicemail message every time.
- Conference calls for holding meetings over the phone or any other device that the participants want to use.
- Call analytics to track the performance of your employees in real-time, straight from your dashboard.
- Predictive dialer that can automatically dial numbers from an employee’s contact list and forward to them the answered calls. It saves time on dialing manually for your agents.
These features could be a game-changer for you, especially if you run a small business. What’s even more important is that you’ll get immediate access to all of the newest tools or capabilities added to the platform, for no extra cost to you.
How can you buy a new business phone number in CloudTalk?
Now that you know all the ins and outs of business phone numbers, let’s get to the details. It’s much easier to buy a phone number than you might think. Here’s how to do so in Cloudtalk:
- Go to your CloudTalk dashboard and click on the “Numbers” tab in the menu.
- All phone numbers that you currently own will be presented. Above the list, there’s a “Buy a number” button.
- After you click on it, you’ll be taken to a new menu. Here, you can pick the type of number you want to buy (local, mobile, national, or toll-free). You’ll also see the monthly prices for each.
- If you want to purchase a number for a specific area/city or more than one number, fill in the “Area code” and “How many numbers do you need” fields. If not, leave them empty.
- After confirming your choice, you’ll see an order confirmation banner at the top of the screen. You’ll also receive an email confirming your purchase.
Find out why you should obtain a free business phone number and how to do it in CloudTalk:
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your current phone number behind. Whether it’s a landline number or a mobile one, you can port it to CloudTalk and keep using it as normal. If you want to port a number to us, just send an email to email@example.com with the subject “Port-in request” and the following information:
- The number(s) you wish to port in the international format, e.g. +442012345678.
- The name(s) of your current phone service provider(s) from whom you want us to port the number(s) and the name(s) of the range holder(s).
- The name of the person, company, or organization to whom the number(s) is/are registered, along with their full address(es).
- A copy of your most recent bill(s) for the number(s) you want to port.
Once we receive the request, we will check if the number can be ported. If yes, we will send you a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to fill out, sign, and return to us.
How long will it take for your number to become available? We would recommend you take a look at our Portability Table. There, you’ll also find out how much it might cost to port a number, depending on the location.
A phone number isn’t just a convenient way for your customers to contact you. It can also boost the trust that your customers have in you and make you appear “bigger” in their eyes. Even if you are a small company. But in order to achieve this, you should pick your phone number and the entire phone system wisely.
Now that you know what your options are, it should be easier for you to figure out which one would work best for your business.
If you are still in two minds about the type of phone number that is most likely to work best for your business, how about getting in touch with us? We’re ready to answer all of your questions and help you pick exactly the right system to help grow your business.