In the old days, one of the first steps to opening a business was having a telephone installed. Now, the traditional landline phone may be on its way out, replaced by cell phones and PSTN technology. In fact, many companies began phasing out their landlines at least a decade ago. It may be time for you to eliminate your landline, too.
If you’re wondering whether you’ll be able to keep a professional business running without a landline, the answer is yes. You can set up a virtual phone system which provides everything that your old landline used to—a call menu, a welcome greeting, professional voicemail, and much more.
Of course, if you’d like to keep your landline, that’s perfectly fine! You can incorporate it into a virtual phone system as well. Keep on reading for some of the best reasons to cut the cord on your business landline.
Five Reasons Why You Should Get Rid of Your Business Landline
Businesses across the US & Canada have been phasing out their old wired phone lines for years. In Canada, an estimated two thirds of businesses have introduced desk phones with wireless connections for their staff, according to the Financial Post.
And the Wall Street Journal reported that even when companies do keep their desk phones, younger employees tend to ignore them. The newspaper said most employees in their twenties and thirties simply didn’t understand how to use their desk phones. Instead, those employees preferred to do business on their personal cell phones.
In 2018, over 53 percent of American households did not have a landline, relying instead of cellphone service. With that number likely to keep growing, more and more people are turning to cellphones for their business needs as well as for personal use.
That’s why more and more businesses are choosing to eliminate their wired lines in favor of a centralized virtual phone system. Below are five reasons why you should get rid of your own business landline.
1. You Won’t Have Any More Missed Calls
If you’re like many business owners, you’re probably out and about for much of the day, attending to different clients and projects. Depending on the nature of your work, you may not be spending a lot of time sitting in your office at all.
Unfortunately, that means that you run the risk of missing a lot of phone calls from your clients. If you run a small to mid-sized business, it might not make financial sense to pay a receptionist just to sit in the office and answer phones all day. And even if you do have a secretary, your clients will likely get frustrated when they can’t reach you directly. If a client calls and you’re not there, you run the risk of losing their business and having them turn to one of your competitors instead.
Even if you have voicemail set up on your landline, you may not be checking your messages as often as you’d should be. If you’re not checking your voice mailbox regularly, your mailbox could fill up quickly & stop accepting new messages.
That’s why setting up a virtual phone system is a great idea. It can seamlessly connect all of your phones and offers call forwarding so that customers can reach you wherever you go. You can also add extensions for all of your employees, ensuring that your customers always reach the right person.
If multiple customers are trying to contact you, your virtual phone network lets you “stack” the calls so that nobody hears a busy signal. You can also add hold music or a recorded message with information for your customers.
For business owners, this is life-changing. Instead of being tethered to a landline, you’ll have the freedom to work from wherever you want—without worrying about missing important calls. Letting go of your landline can give you the flexibility to do your best work.
2. Landlines Aren’t As Reliable as Wireless Networks
Decades ago, landlines were considered the gold standard for sound quality and reliability. But times have changed. In recent years, more and more people and businesses have been phasing out their landlines. This has had the unintended consequence of actually making landline service less reliable.
Here’s why that’s happening. As landline, or “wireline” use is shrinking, telephone companies are cutting back on their service to those wirelines. That means that fewer technicians are being employed to service and maintain telephone lines. The cellular networks, which get far more traffic, are much better maintained than the landline network.
That’s one reason that more and more business owners are choosing to get rid of their landlines. In this day and age, cell phone networks are more reliable than the copper-wire infrastructure.
A virtual phone system will also provide you with technical support in the unlikely event of a problem. That means that, instead of spending hours trying to reach the phone company by yourself, you’ll be able to turn the problem over to your network’s customer support department—while you focus on running your business.
3. Customers Prefer to Communicate with Businesses by Text and Email
More and more customers prefer to communicate by text. Studies show that the average American spends five hours a day using their smartphone, but very little of that time is spent making phone calls.
According to a study done by the mobile data tracking firm Infomate, Americans spend an average 26 minutes a day texting, and just 6 minutes a day making phone calls. Consumers have also indicated that they would prefer to communicate with customer service by sending and receiving text messages, whenever possible.
Millennials are notorious for doing everything by text, but they’re not the only ones who’d prefer to avoid making phone calls. Consumers of all ages have said they’d like to be able to communicate with businesses by text, according to a survey by the cloud-based computing firm ZipWhip. Of course, phone calls are still an essential part of doing business, so you’ll still need a professional phone network.
A virtual phone network comes with a text messaging service which makes it easy to stay in touch by text or by email. You’ll be able to send and receive text messages from your business phone. You can even utilize the text-to-email feature that allows you to respond to a text from your email. You’ll be amazed at how much easier this makes it for you to check in with your customers and to respond to their queries.
4. Landlines Are on Their Way Out, Experts Say
Experts are predicting that landlines will become obsolete in the near future. AT&T has already announced plans to end its landline coverage in 2020, and other phone companies have signaled that they plan to follow suit.
AT&T is the legacy carrier in 21 states across the US. Legislatures in 20 of those states have given the company the OK to end landline service altogether, according to the Chicago Tribune. (The federal government still needs to approve that decision). AT&T says it will focus on building new technology, instead of investing in the old copper-wire network.
Paul La Schiazza, AT&T’s Illinois president, told the Tribune,
“We’re investing in a technology that consumers have said they don’t want anymore, and wasting precious hundreds of millions of dollars that could be going to the new technologies that would do a better job of serving customers.”
The end of landlines could spell a major disruption to many businesses, if they’re not prepared. If your company still relies on a landline, this is the right time to start modernizing your phones. Switching from a landline to a more modern system may sound a little overwhelming. In fact, though, it’s a very easy transition. With a virtual phone system, you can keep your existing phone number.
In short, you’ll be able to create the same set-up that you enjoyed with a landline—only now, you’ll be able to access your virtual phone system via cell phone, no matter where you happen to be.
5. Most Employees Prefer to Use their Own Phone for Work
The majority of American workers would prefer to use their own phone for job-related purposes, according to a survey of hourly employees carried out earlier this year and reported in the Credit Union Times.
The survey found that 75 percent of hospitality employees wanted to use their own phones for work. 66 percent of healthcare and retail workers felt the same way; so did 56 percent of banking employees.
So, if your employees want to use their phones for work anyway, there may be little point in paying for a pricey business landline. Getting rid of your landline and switching to a virtual phone network will save you money—and it will also keep your employees happy.
Virtual phone networks work with your existing equipment (your cell phone!) so that you don’t have to buy expensive new equipment in order to set up your new system. Once you’ve created the network, you can add all of your team members to your account, too. You’ll even be able to pick what level of access to give each employee.
Keep Your Equipment, but Modernize Your Voicemail System
Right now, if a customer calls your cell phone, they’ll hear your personal outgoing message, which can be a little jarring in a business setting. With a virtual phone system, you’ll have professional voicemail on all of the phones in your network, including on your cell phone and on all of your employees’ cell phones.
Using your virtual network’s voicemail system also means that you won’t have any more messages get accidentally deleted or simply not saved when someone’s mailbox is full. All your messages can be automatically sent to your business voice mailbox, which means you won’t have any more lost messages resulting in lost sales.
Even if you are on the fence about using a virtual phone system, there’s no harm in simply trying it out. You may wonder why you didn’t switch your business over to one sooner!
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.