I get it. You’re busy. You’re working round the clock to get your business off the ground with limited funding and nowhere near a large enough team. Your focus is on perfecting your product and persuading people to buy it. And a phone number is a phone number, right? What difference could that make to your success?
Actually, a surprisingly significant one. Much bigger than you probably think.
Read on to find out why.
1. You Make Yourself Seem Less “Regional”
Something funny happens in people’s brains when they see that the phone number they’re about to call is actually for a totally different part of the country.
Even though the UK is small and you’re not even a “local” business, the minute someone in Edinburgh spots that your company is in Cornwall (or anywhere with an unfamiliar-looking area code), they start to wonder why they’re calling someone so far away to fix their problem. Surely there’s a company nearby that does the same thing? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
Having a regional number means that you’re much more likely to be approached primarily by people in, well, that region. If you want to cast your net wide, your best bet is to choose a “non-geographic” number, such as a freephone 0800 number, so you don’t tie yourself to your immediate location.
2. You Give the Impression That You’re a Much Bigger Operation
Okay, so behind your shiny website, your business actually might consist of two people working out of their respective living rooms. But do you want your clients to know that? Of course you don’t.
A little professional gloss can do wonders for winning clients’ confidence in what you do. And, of course, having an 0800 number set up, as opposed to your mobile or a local number, is a great way to do just that. No one can tell how big or established your company is, allowing you to focus on delivering great products and services, without worrying so much about constantly proving your credibility first.
3. You Make It Easier to Expand or Relocate
Your top clients might have your direct line on speed dial, but what happens if you move location?
Presumably, growing your business is a top priority and this means that, at some point, you are going to need to shift to a bigger office. Or open up new branches in other cities, or even countries.
Or perhaps, at the other end of the spectrum, you need to downsize unexpectedly to save on cash, and you don’t exactly want to make a song and dance of it, attracting awkward questions from clients about why you chose to move.
With a “normal” landline, these problems are hard to wriggle out of. Not so with an 0800 number, which is essentially a virtual number that you take with you wherever you need to be.
4. You Can Pick Something Memorable
No more straining to turn a completely un-jingleworthy string of numbers into something resembling a memorable jingle. Instead, you can choose your very own number, typically from thousands of possible combinations, to make sure it’s something that you, and your audience, will remember easily.
After all, you want to make getting in touch with you as easy for customers as you possibly can!
5. You Save on a Receptionist…
As a brand new startup, you’re no doubt bootstrapping in every area you can get away with. Employing a whole extra member of staff to handle incoming queries and make sure they get to the right person can be a serious commitment of limited resources.
Instead, implementing an 0800 number with a virtual call receiving system means that you have an easy, automated and professional way to receive and allocate calls as they come in, at a much lower cost.
6. …While Serving Customers More Efficiently
Even better, a virtual system like this means that you get many of the same benefits that come with hiring a dedicated receptionist.
There’s a clear system for receiving and funneling calls, which usually allows people to enter an extension or say the name or department they want to talk to. You don’t waste time answering calls that then have to be transferred over to other people in the office or building. Callers get through to who they need faster, without repeating their query multiple times.
All of which makes for a smoother and more efficient system, both for you, your clients and potential customers. Everyone’s a winner!
7. You Can Analyse Your Calls
Here’s another smart way that 0800 numbers help to boost efficiency in your workplace: you have access to all kinds of extra data about incoming calls.
With freephone numbers, your company covers the cost of customers’ calls, which means that you also get a breakdown of call times and the amount of time you actually spent on the phone handling a query.
With this sort of information, you can begin to build up a picture of how long it really takes you to fix a problem, pitch a solution, conclude a deal, etc. – and, of course, you can use this to develop more effective approaches for reducing this time and maximizing productivity.
What’s more, you can start to look out for patterns in the call information. Which days of the week and at what time are your customers most likely to call you? Are you best equipped to handle this? For example, if you realize that enquiries peak at 4.30pm on a Thursday but rarely come in on a Tuesday morning, you might decide to reshuffle things like team meetings or even working hours to best handle the demand.
8. You Can Measure the Success of Marketing Campaigns
Planning to do some A/B testing to figure out which of your advertising and marketing campaigns are having the most impact? This is another way that 0800 numbers really come into their own.
As we’ve said, an 0800 number is a virtual number. This means you could easily have several different ones, all feeding into the same phone. By setting up two or more 0800 numbers, one for each strand of your marketing campaign, and tracking which ones get the most calls, you can build a very accurate picture of which messaging works the best for you.
9. You Can Work Remotely
Virtual, freephone numbers are typically really easy to set up for call forwarding to other landlines and mobiles without your customers having any idea (or incurring any costs).
This is great news if you’re working from home or are travelling frequently for work, as it frees you up to accept calls from anywhere, without having to let your customers or colleagues know in advance.
10. You Encourage Customers to Call
Ultimately, 0800 numbers cost your customers nothing if they’re calling from a landline, no matter where they are in the country. Many mobile phone providers have now also scrapped the fees and, for those that haven’t, there are a bunch of apps out there that allow you to make freephone calls that are, in fact, free.
This means that there is no financial reason for a person to opt to email you rather than just picking up the phone. And that means more opportunities to build a rapport with customers, having a two-way conversation that involves plenty of questions, getting to the main issues, questions and solutions faster, and generally progressing the sales journey at a faster rate.
With so many great business-boosting perks for an enterprising and ambitious startup that wants to grow fast, opting for a freephone number over a conventional one is kind of a no brainer.