86% of small business owners use their personal phone numbers for business. If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’re one of them.
It might seem ok when you’re just starting out, but as your business grows you’ll feel the pain and limitations.
You might have experienced some of them already—late night calls interrupting your personal time, texts on your personal number from strangers, never knowing whether a call is business or personal, and spam calls that just don’t seem to end.
It doesn’t have to be this way. These days you can get a separate business phone number right on top of your existing mobile device in seconds. Keep reading if you’d like to learn why it’s time to stop using your personal phone number for business and what you should do instead.
1) You can’t distinguish between personal and business calls
When you use a personal phone number for business, a call from your child’s school may look the same as a call from a potential customer visiting your website. You don’t know how to respond or whether you should respond at all. Have you ever received a call in a noisy coffee shop and wondered if you should walk outside to take it?
Getting a separate phone number for business eliminates this guesswork for you. You can now use your company name when answering the call:
“Hello, thanks for calling ABC Contractors. This is Janet, how may I help you?”
When your business sounds great, your customers are more confident about working with you.
2) You don’t have control over your phone (and life)
When your business and personal phone numbers are the same, it’s impossible to turn one off without turning off the other. You might still want to be available to friends and family on holidays and weekends, while your business calls go directly to voicemail. Or when you’re on vacation. Yes, you should actually take a vacation.
With a separate business phone number you get to set boundaries for when you’re available to clients and can manage their expectations much better. Your clients would prefer knowing that your business is closed for the day and that you’ll get back to them in the morning rather than waiting for someone to pick up the phone.
3) Not being able to share responsibility for your phone line
When your call volume gets heavy or for those times when you’re unavailable, wouldn’t it be great to be able to share responsibility for your business phone with a partner or team? You might already have a team email inbox, so why shouldn’t your phone be able to support collaboration?
You could forward your calls to your partner or team member, but that means they’ll be getting your personal calls too. Having a separate line allows you to keep your personal life separate from your work life, and protect your privacy.
4) You’ll lack professionalism
Studies show that you only have seven seconds to make a first impression when meeting someone. When your first point of contact with a customer is through the phone, that first impression comes down to your phone greeting and voicemail.
There’s nothing worse than calling a business with a voicemail inbox that’s full or isn’t configured at all. Wouldn’t it be much better if it said something like this instead:
“Hello, thanks for calling ABC Contractors. Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
Unless this is going to be your personal voicemail greeting as well, you’ll be losing the opportunity to appear more professional to your customers.
Also, if you’re serving customers across the country, having a toll-free phone number is a great way to make your business look big and more accessible.
5) You’ll regret it years down the road
The longer you wait to get a business phone number, the more painful it’ll become, and the harder it will get to switch away.
Think of all the places where you list your personal phone number—your website, social media, different business listings, email signature, invoices, online profiles and services for your business.
Switching to a business phone is a lot more difficult when you have already given out your personal number to a lot of people and have used it in different places. At that point, your personal phone number is no longer personal.
How to get a business phone number
Gone are the days when getting a business phone number meant having to carry two phones or getting a landline that’s stuck to a desk and lacks crucial features like the ability to send and receive text messages.
Now all you need is to download an app and you can separate all your business and personal communications, have control over your phone and life, share the phone with your partner or team, and look more professional to clients.
Daryna Kulya is a Co-Founder at OpenPhone. She loves helping businesses effortlessly communicate with their customers and deliver better customer experiences through technology. Follow her on Twitter.
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