There inevitably comes a time when your business outgrows your cell phone, at which time you’re going to need some kind of a system. Running your business from a cell phone works great at first; however, when a ton of orders start to come in, call volume increases dramatically, and you begin to hire employees, the capacity of your single cell phone will hit its limit.
If you’re still relying solely on your cell, then these are issues that you’re likely already becoming concerned with. What follows are the key issues that you can easily address by adding a virtual phone system to your cell phone to manage every aspect of your business professionally.
Voicemail is one of the first things that will require your attention. A standard, personal voice mailbox that comes with your phone just isn’t equipped to handle all of the messages for your business. For one thing, the capacity is most likely too low, and you’ve only got that one mailbox. Your personal mailbox will fill up fast. Once that mailbox is full, what happens then?
If you don’t carefully manage the mailbox to make sure there is room for more messages, then a customer will probably just get the, “mailbox is full” automated prompt and be unable to leave a message for you. That could be a new customer lost right off the bat. Not only that, but your phone’s mailbox might have a setting that automatically deletes messages when it becomes full, making it impossible to retrieve important messages from customers.
There’s also the issue of your voicemail greeting. As the mailbox is probably shared between business and personal messages, you might have a voicemail greeting that is a little unprofessional, giving customers a bad impression of the business. You can solve all of these problems by using a virtual phone system that works with your personal cell phone but adds all kinds of useful features, including business voicemail.
With a Talkroute virtual phone system, you can add one, or multiple voice mailboxes that are separate from your personal voicemail and have a 100-message capacity per mailbox. You can also record a business voicemail greeting that is exclusively for your customers, instead of a more personal and inappropriate greeting.
Even more than that, you can view, listen, and manage all of your voice messages from an online control panel. It’s pretty important that you have professional-grade voicemail to handle all of your messages for the business.
You Need Multiple Lines to Manage Calls
If you only have your single cell phone to take all business calls, there is one glaringly obvious problem with that. That one line isn’t going to cut it as your call volume increases. What happens when another call comes in while you’re already on the line? For the second call, they’ll just get a ringing tone as it beeps in on your call waiting feature, but the third, forth, and fifth calls that come in will get a busy signal.
That is the worst thing that you want callers to hear. When you have a virtual system, even with a single cell phone, you can have call queues that stack calls on hold until you can get to them, as they listen to music or a pre-recorded message that you’ve prepared for the on-hold program. Talkroute has this call stacking feature built in, so that you can be sure your callers will never hear a busy signal.
Using Multiple Phones to Take Calls
What phones are you using to take business calls? Is it just your cell phone? Do you use your home phone, too? Do you also have one or two employees who are taking calls on their own cell phones? That can get complicated and problematic real fast if you don’t have any system to manage it, which is exactly why you have to take it up a notch and add a virtual phone system.
If you’re at that point, where you have customers calling in on more than one phone, then you’re ready to move up to the next level and get a real phone system. Using a Talkroute system, you don’t need to buy any new equipment, and you can use whatever phones you already have; no new phones are necessary.
Once you add a system, your options for managing calls increase significantly. Most importantly, you can have a single phone number that customers dial to reach you, and then either have it ring all of your phones at the same time, or let the caller select an option from your menu to reach whatever individual or department that they want. Adding a call menu is a huge advantage.
The first thing is that it sounds way more professional, and even more than that, you can set each menu option to ring any phone you want, play a recorded message with information such as your operating hours or driving directions, or even have an option that routes directly to voicemail if that’s what the caller wants. When you take calls on multiple phones, a virtual system adds a big advantage.
Set Your Hours of Operation
When you’re a new small business, you’ve probably accepted the fact that you’re going to get calls at all hours of the day and night, and you might even answer those late-night calls. There’s no reason you have to do that, unless you want to be open 24 hours a day.
With a virtual system, you can set your hours of operation, so that after a certain hour that you choose, your phone(s) will no longer ring and the caller will immediately be sent to voicemail. When you are just using a cell phone by itself, it’s obviously not possible to do that, so you either turn your phone off, which you probably aren’t willing to do with a business, or have your phone ringing at all hours of the night.
That’s exactly what the hours of operation feature is designed to help you avoid. If you set your hours in the system for 9am to 5pm, for example, then your phone will never ring outside of those hours with this system.
Business Text Messaging
Many customers will want to reach you via text message, and these days, there isn’t really any way around that because they will do it, whether you want them to or not. So, when you run everything from your personal cell, you’re going to get a lot of business texts, depending on how many customers you currently have. When that happens, it can not only be troublesome due to the mixture with your personal texts on the same phone, but you also don’t have an efficient way to manage the business texts as they come in.
This can also be quickly resolved by adding a virtual system because you can separate business text messages from the personal ones, and you can also manage them from an online dashboard, as well as through a mobile app. Also receive email notifications for new business texts, if you prefer.
All of this hinges on what stage you’re at with your small business. Of course, if you are just getting started and don’t have any employees or a whole lot of orders, then using your one cell phone to handle everything may be just fine. That won’t last very long, however, if your business is growing and sales are increasing.
Adding a virtual phone system is probably the best thing you can do for your business as it grows because you can add all of the features you would get in a traditional office system, without adding all of the expensive equipment, and without the high cost. This kind of system will remove a great deal of stress, and it will give your customers a much better experience when they call into your business.
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.