Mobile technology has come a long way since 1985, when the first UK mobile phone call was made. Mobile is a lynchpin of business, and smart phones have become central to how we work.
The recent growth in sole traders is a case in point. Few of these new one-person businesses would consider operating without a smart phone.
But many business owners also feel that having a landline number projects an established, professional image. The result? Most companies still have landline and mobile services, even though this means doubling up on costs.
It’s now easier than ever to reroute calls regardless of where a physical phone line is. So, is it time to think again?
Separate mobile and landline
Maintaining mobile and landline services can be pricey. In addition to the cost of two contracts, you pay through the nose to have calls diverted from landline to mobile when you’re out and about.
Planning to move your business to a new location? Transferring your landline number can be a slow and painful process. That’s assuming it’s possible at all – if you’re moving to a different area then you’ll need a new number.
So, how can you maintain the agility and flexibility that a small business should be known for, without spending so much on your phone services?
The single-phone business
To cut your telephone costs you need to stop thinking of a phone number as something that’s tied to a particular location.
In the old days, that’s how it was. Your telephone supplied installed a telephone line, and that was associated with your number. If someone called it, they’d be connected via that line.
Today, you can switch to a virtual business phone number. This still gives you a landline phone number, but you can reroute calls to wherever you like.
For instance, when you’re in the office as usual, the number can be set to ring a phone on your desk. But when you’re on the move, it’s your smart phone that will ring instead.
For callers, nothing changes. They call the same, professional telephone number as always. You can answer, no matter where you are.
Virtual number services usually let you choose what sort of phone number you want. You could opt for a number that uses your local area code, or for a national number (probably starting 03…).
You can hang on to that number for as long as you like – no matter how many time the company moves locations.
Using apps to stay in touch
Once you have a virtual number set up, you can usually use apps to stay in touch. These can run on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
As long as you’re connected to the internet (via Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G), you should be able to make and receive calls from your virtual number. (You might need to use a headset connected to your computer or mobile device.)
When you’re busy or can’t answer for some reason, a good virtual number service will record a message for you and forward the recording by email.
If you currently pay for a business landline and smart phone, perhaps you should start to think differently. A virtual number could give you more freedom, more flexibility … and fewer missed calls.