As a business owner, you take important phone calls at the office. But you’re not always in the office. You’re meeting clients, attending events, and ducking out for lunch at school with the kids. So what do you do when an important call comes in on your business phone system but you’re not there to take it?
Believe it or not, there are lots of options for business owners who face this predicament. Most offices have a landline, and most business owners & managers have a smartphone. These two can easily work together to create a seamless system that reaches you wherever you are.
Having a landline at home might seem dated now. More than half of Americans have gone to wireless only in their homes, and the trend toward landline-free residences shows no signs of abating. As you probably expected, most people who still use landlines at home come from an older demographic. They’re typically empty-nesters, too. However, a large number of boomerang kids — those who moved back home after finishing college — also live in homes with landlines.
Keeping Up With Technology
The trend of ditching the landline hasn’t moved as far as the office, though. Most businesses keep a stationary phone or phone system & a number exclusive to that phone. Businesses make this choice for many reasons. Call quality is one important consideration especially for companies that use three-way calling or that hold important meetings by phone. Marketability is another important consideration.
When it’s obvious that a company relies on cell phones for communication, prospective clients are prone to lump them together with major corporations or stereotype them as techies. If neither of those categories fits you, it can feel awkward. Finally, some companies feel more comfortable with the privacy & security of a landline.
For these and other reasons, landlines can be the right phone system choice for a small business. Landlines prove problematic, however, when you’re on the road. If you’re a one-person operation, you manage a virtual team, or you attend many in-person meetings, you probably spend a lot of time out of the office and away from the phone. That means you need your calls forwarded to your cell phone.
So what are the ways you can forward your landline phone to your cell phone? Here are three good ones!
A Receptionist Can Forward the Calls By Hand
You can hire a full-time receptionist to answer your office phone, and they can forward calls to your cell phone the old-fashioned way when you’re out of the office.
Pros of the traditional receptionist model:
Cons of the traditional receptionist model:
A skilled receptionist can add plenty of benefits to an organization, including serving as a call transferer. But at an average salary of more than $27,000 per year plus insurance and time off, those benefits don’t come cheaply. In addition, as a business owner, you likely need to invest your money in getting help with sales, marketing, product development, financial management, or even custodial services more than you need to spend money on a receptionist.
Use the Star Code Option
A star code lets you send calls from a landline to a cell phone automatically. A specific code, usually *72, activates a call forwarding feature that sends the caller directly to the number you gave the system. You can even activate call forwarding remotely if you need to.
Pros of the star code option model:
Cons of the star code option model:
For a one-person operation, using star codes to forward calls can be a good idea, but as soon as you add a second staff member, even a part-timer, this approach gets complicated to handle and is insufficient for meeting your needs.
Use a Virtual Phone System
What is a virtual phone system? It’s a cloud-based telecommunications system that lets you make or receive calls from anywhere using nothing more than your personal laptop or mobile device.
Pros of the virtual phone system model:
Cons of the virtual phone system model:
For most business owners, a virtual phone system will provide the best quality service at the most affordable price, making phone calls easy to route and manage. How do you use a virtual phone system?
How to Get Started Using a Virtual Phone System
Start by signing up with a virtual phone system service such as Talkroute. You can either port an existing business number into the system, or you can pick a new one from our inventory of numbers. That number will serve as your main business phone number, but it will route to your cell phone. Your private number is always hidden, and the recipient will only see your business number on the caller ID when you call out.
You can even set up a separate business voicemail and text service depending on which number the caller enters. Even better, you can make your phone sound like a professional system by adding features such as a call menu or music for on-hold time so your customers do not know they have reached your personal cell. Essentially, you are managing your business from your personal cell, and no one knows it but you. Great idea, huh? We thought so, too.
Why You Might Want to Get Rid of Your Landline After All
For many businesses, keeping a landline is a good idea because it looks professional & helps separate business calls from personal ones. But if you opt to go with a virtual phone system, you don’t have to do that. This system gives you a separate business number, which you can pass on to customers and clients, even though it uses your cell phone. Plus, both incoming and outgoing calls show up on the screen as either your personal or your business number, whichever you choose.
So by opting for a virtual phone system such as Talkroute, you could save yourself the cost of a landline. Once you crunch the numbers, you might discover that losing your landline would result in a much bigger savings than you could have guessed.
As a small business owner, you want to appear professional while responding quickly to clients’ needs. That’s why using the right call forwarding system is important to your business’ success. So whether you decide to hire a receptionist, go with automated call forwarding, or invest in a virtual phone system, making the right choice is important.
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.