Some of the business owners we coach or advise use their personal phone line for business, believing that an 800 number will be too expensive, too much work to set up, or they don’t want to hire and train someone to answer a business line.
When we started running our virtual marketing agency in 2005, we were trying to spare costs too. Our founder Wild Web Woman® Lorrie Thomas Ross used her cell phone as the primary phone number when she originally left the confines of corporate life to start her consultancy. While this isn’t a DON’T in business, it can become too much (and too much too quickly) to have your personal line and business line going to the same place. For our first company, it also set the tone that Lorrie could be reached 24/7 for work calls. She couldn’t keep up and we wanted to have better control of where and when we answered the phone.
For over a decade, we have used a virtual phone number that goes right to voicemail. Some companies like to be able to answer the phone, which is a possibility too. For many of us with web-based businesses, we are with clients, kids, in the car or taking a break (a whhhattt? Yes, breaks are a must!) so being able to direct a business call to a business line can spare us from “do it all” overwhelm.
You can easily and inexpensively set up an 800 number for your business that will either ring directly to your personal line or to voicemail.
When we began looking for options for an 800 number, we had a few criteria. We wanted to be able to choose a number, we wanted to pay only for the minutes that the number was used (not a huge monthly fee) and we wanted the option to send calls directly to voicemail during hours that our team wasn’t in the office. We discovered kall8 and we have used them for our businesses as well as our clients for years and this service gets 5 stars!
Setting up a number is easy! You simply create an account, and select “add a number”. You are able to choose between 800 or 888 numbers, vanity numbers, “repeaters” (the same number combination is used to make for an easy to remember number), or the less expensive option of alternate toll free numbers such as 877 and 866. From there, you simply choose the number you like best!
There are small monthly rates, based on your choice and a cost per minute for incoming calls. As a web based business, we find most potential clients prefer to contact us by email and we follow up via email or phone, which saves on our monthly 800 fees, however, by setting up your account to ring to voicemail, it will also save on the number of minutes you are billed for.
Setting up your number is easy. First, set up your voicemail greeting that callers will hear when they call (we recommend standing up to record your message, you sound peppier and overall better), then choose how you want your calls to be delivered. You can choose between multiple options – calls can ring directly to the number of your choice or they can go directly to voicemail. If you select the latter option, the voicemail will be emailed to you, so you can listen from your desktop or smart phone email. You can start using your new number instantly!
One of our favorite features is the emailed voicemails. We receive an email instantly when a call comes in as well as when a voicemail is left, web-based business awesomeness. In turn, we can forward the email to the appropriate person or simply return the call. Of course our goal is instant connection, so return all calls as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after they are received if at all possible. Our business is not open on the weekends, so we wait until Monday morning to return calls if they happen to be received over the weekend.
There are multiple options to fine-tune your service. One of the great features about having an 800 number is the capability to automate how specific calls are handled. You can choose to forward calls directly to the right person within your business, or have one person within your business forward calls. You set up the hours that the calls are forwarded to an answered line verses going directly to voicemail.
You can also specify the length of time for a call (the maximum time is 6 hours) or the limit the number of minutes for a voicemail (the maximum length is 10 minutes). By setting reasonable limits, you are able keep control of costs.
These are just a few of the possibilities with Kall8 services – they offer analytics on your calls, ability to receive fax transmissions, conferencing, hunt groups and more. This service can grow with your business.
It’s common to find clients that have mixed their professional and private lives into one number, but with simple solutions such as a company 800 number, you can create a healthy balance between your business and your life outside of work!
Learn more about Kall8 and feel free to leave any comments or services you recommend!