Maybe you never had a number to start with, or you were using your personal phone number, and now you're searching 'how to get number for small business', or some variation of that. And yes, it's possible to have two numbers on one phone, and you should definitely get a different number for your business.
We'll make the case for a local number. Simply put, a local number establishes a local presence for your business, which customers prefer as they can easily reach out to you.
The good news is that obtaining a local number is simple, easy, and affordable.
A local phone number is a number local to a specific area – reasonably straightforward. They start with a three-digit area code and are assigned to a particular location, country, or state.
Choosing a local phone number is one of the simplest ways to tell your clients that you work locally. Many prospective buyers want to support local companies. Getting a local phone number helps you promote your company in your neighborhood and tell customers that you’re nearby.
Local phone numbers are an excellent way to create a foothold in a city, whether or not you have a physical presence.
While anyone and any business can use one, local numbers are more suitable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
It's impractical for global companies to buy out local numbers everywhere (that, and they don't need to), which means SMBs have a chance to establish a local presence using one.
The surge in small businesses being advertised and gaining a following on social media has created a false belief that social media is a much more popular and accessible way of contacting the company.
Unfortunately, social media was customers' third preferred method of contact, behind email and phone. 60% of customers still preferred to phone small businesses.
*TIP: If you haven't already, you should add your business details to Google My Business, because customers expect to see something pop up when they search you. In other words, it makes you sound more legit and professional (people trust Google).
With VoIP, you can get a local phone number for as low as $5-$10/month. That's a small price to pay. VoIP providers let you take care of all your communication needs over the internet. Usually, you can snag unlimited calls and texts and features like call recording, call queues, and departments.
How much you want to spend depends on how many features you want. For example, eFone starts at $10 ($7 for just Canada or the USA) and offers unlimited calls, voicemail-to-email, dynamic caller ID (you can what appears as your caller ID on outgoing calls), and a dedicated app.
VoIP is the best way to go when you take out a local number. With a dedicated app, you can separate your personal and professional life even with one phone. You'll be able to tell if the call is directed to your business or personal number, and you can choose to turn on call-forwarding or voicemail if you're not working.
The best thing about VoIP is that it's extremely flexible. Whether you have a few employees or 100, you'll find that you'll be able to continue on with your business easily. Once things start getting busy, you can even assign employees with their own numbers, create departments with their own extensions, and much more.
You pretty much can't go wrong. What's better is that most VoIP providers offer free trials. You can look around and take some of your final choices on a trial to see what you want.
Read also: Why should you switch to VoIP?
As we've mentioned a few times, the point of a local number is to maintain a presence in a specific area and to show your customers that you're right there.
Local phone numbers can help you build a presence through local business listings, directories, and online search results. Google is always trying to provide searchers with localized results, which means a local phone number might be the thing that pushes you to the top when someone searches 'XX near me'.
People prefer to shop local and know that the business is easily accessible, which a local number indirectly tells them.
You are more likely to retain local customers, which is why local phone numbers are a must. People often complain about having to talk to someone at a call center on the other side of the world or bots that have replaced receptionists.
Knowing that reaching customer service is just a phone call away puts your customers at ease, and it makes it easier for you to gain and keep their trust by showing them that you're local and there to help.
The easiest way to grab your virtual phone number is by finding a VoIP provider that offers the features you want. The process of actually getting the number is almost instant, which makes it the most efficient.
With eFone, the process is simple:
Read also: 9 Ways You Can Improve Customer Service in Call Centers