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Although it’s usually a positive sign, handling a high volume of calls can be stressful for small business owners.
A virtual landline could be a useful solution to the problem as it allows businesses to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and handle calls effectively.
Read our guide to virtual landlines for information on how they work, the benefits for small businesses, and some of the best providers.
A virtual landline is a cloud-based service that allows people to reach your business no matter where you are.
This means customers can contact your business without the need for you to have a traditional landline or give out your personal mobile number.
Virtual landlines have become increasingly popular due to a rise in flexible working in recent years, which sped up during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Using a virtual landline means you can have any type of number you want for your business, without having to link it to a premises.
For example, if you’re a mobile hairdresser working across Greater Manchester, you may want a business number with a Manchester area code (0161). A virtual landline allows you to do this without using your home address or having to rent or buy a salon.
Using a virtual landline has lots of benefits. Here are five advantages that could have a positive impact on your business:
Yes, this is the most common use of a virtual landline by business owners. Not only can it help a small business appear more professional and established, it also means business owners can split personal and business calls more easily.
Most providers will allow you to divert calls to several mobiles, which can speed up response times and spread the workload among a team.
What’s more, some virtual landline services also provide features like welcome messages and switchboards to mirror the experience of calling a traditional business landline.
Diverting a virtual landline to a mobile allows businesses to operate on the go with increased flexibility, no matter where they’re based.
Most virtual landline providers will give you access to a free voicemail service that should be simple to set up.
Some providers automatically send your voicemail messages to you via email, which can be an easier way of tracking customer communications.
As with most voicemail services, the one that comes with your virtual landline is likely to have a standard greeting message. It’s worth thinking about updating yours so it’s tailored to your business.
How you do this depends on your provider, but it’s likely you’ll need to get access to your voicemail account by calling the relevant number on your phone and then choosing the option to record a new message.
It’s important to note that sometimes virtual landline voicemails can accidentally go through to a user’s personal voicemail.
To stop this happening, you need to make sure that the number of rings before going to voicemail is different for your personal mobile number and your virtual landline number.
When you set up your virtual landline, you’ll be asked how many seconds you want it to ring for before the call is diverted to voicemail (some providers may have a standard number of seconds).
You can check how long your personal mobile rings for, and change its duration, by calling your voicemail service and accessing the settings.
When you sign up with a virtual landline provider, you should be able to choose a number that suits the needs of your business.
There are different types of numbers available, such as freephone numbers starting with 0800 or area numbers starting with 0207 in central London.
As its name suggests, a freephone number will be free for your customers to use. On the other hand, a regional number with a dialling code like 0207 will cost you but is likely to be more appealing to people based in London.
It’s important not to confuse a virtual landline with a VOIP system, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.
In most cases, a virtual landline offers a simple and affordable professional business number that can be diverted to your mobile.
A VOIP system is similar in that it uses an internet connection to handle calls, but it usually has extra features and could be more suited to businesses with more employees.
There are lots of virtual landline services for you to choose from and you’ll need to weigh up which one best suits the needs of your business.
Some providers will be more suitable if you want to focus on managing a higher number of calls while others will be better if there’s a specific dialling code or number you want to use.
Here’s an overview of three of the best-known virtual landline services:
Users of this service can choose from a wide range of UK local numbers from £5.95 a month.
Here are some of its benefits:
This virtual landline aims to help small businesses with up to nine employees “appear reassuringly established”, with costs starting from £10 a month.
Its benefits include:
This provider gives customers a free UK phone number, with charges starting from £1 per user per month.
Its other benefits include:
Do you have any unanswered questions about virtual landlines? Let us know in the comments below.
Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
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