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Does My Online Business Need a Phone Number?

By Bailey Renee

If you run an online business do you really need to have a designated phone number? These days, most business owners have moved their communication channels online and use their mobile phones when it seems absolutely necessary to make calls. This is not necessarily the smartest strategy.  

People seek, heck, they crave human interaction. And, there is no better way to make a human connection through technology today than through the use of the telephone. Sending your callers through communication platforms built around AI removes the human-centric experience out of their interactions with your business. This often leaves your potential consumers frustrated or detached.

Using a mobile phone that (and this is often the case) doubles as your personal cell doesn't put the most professional foot forward either. Having a phone line strictly dedicated to your business tells your consumers that your business is to be taken seriously. Your business isn't just some side gig or hobby. So, let the world know that your business is worth having a dedicated channel of human communication built around a strong foundation of quality customer service. 

There are also marketing benefits to using an actual telephone line designated to your business as well. But, the point here is, if you don’t use a business phone number and restrict yourself to strictly online channels and mobile phones, you risk hurting your brand and appear less than professional.

Here are six good reasons why you need a dedicated phone number for your business.

Cellphones Aren't a Substitute for a Business Phone

no cell phone useBusiness owners often list their mobile phones on their websites, believing that their personal information is safe. Unfortunately, exposing cellphone numbers opens your personal information to hackers, scammers, and other serious threats. In addition, you won't be able to respond to every consumer call. Your communication capabilities will be restrained due to your work and appointments that will interrupt the time that you would need managing your phone calls. Fewer callers can get through to you this way and that means fewer sales. More importantly, not drawing boundaries between your professional and personal phone calls disrupts your work-life balance, often resulting in stress. 

A business phone line makes you look professional and protects you from becoming vulnerable to threats such as hackers and identity theft. And, when you aren't able to answer those important calls, a live receptionist service can take and ensure a 24/7 business availability. Fixed business phones also come with several promotional and technological features that you most likely won't find on a cellphone or through a wireless carrier unless you invest in rather expensive applications.  

Digital Self-Service Can't Replace Human Interaction 

Does My Online Business Need a Phone Number 1_ Blog Article ContentMany online businesses now offer online self-service features to their consumers. Consumers can effectively fill forms, place orders, and get answers to their queries by interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) enabled chatbots. They can also track packages, make bookings and engage in several client-side operations without ever having to speak to a human. Unfortunately, according to a Forbes article by author Gil Press, 86% of consumers prefer to interact with a human than with a chatbot or online self-service channel. And, 71% say they would be less likely to use a brand if it didn’t have HUMAN customer service representatives available.

According to a CGS survey of 1,000 US consumers, only 30% believe that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier to address customer service issues. The moral of the story here is, even if you offer an online self-service or chatbot facilities, you'll still need a business phone line to provide consumers the option to speak with live customer service agents. Most people want to talk to people. It's just that simple. 

Social Media and Email Communications Can't Replace the Phone

If you think communicating over Twitter or Facebook or responding to emails politely would eliminate the need for having a business phone line, think again. People tend to expect even quicker responses on social media platforms than over the phone. When they do not get that instant satisfaction, they'll often write negative reviews.

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As a business owner, you need to tread very carefully when it comes to communicating with consumers. While social media and email can prove to be very useful, it always makes sense to guide a frustrated or angry consumer towards a conversation over the phone. This way you can address their issues with empathy and care. And, away from prying eyes on social media platforms. The human voice and the power of a person's words make a powerful tool for influencing people. Its easier to feel a person's message over the phone than over a written message sent through your Twitter or Instagram account.

A Business Phone Line is Part of Your Brand

Routing calls to the wrong people and consistent busy signals are huge issues with calling into small businesses. The inability to reach employees by name negatively affects a brand. This means if you aren't accessible over the phone and if you don't have identifiable employees, your brand will suffer. 

headset - blog article content A business phone line solves all of these issues by creating immediate accessibility via direct calls or call forwarding. When you aren't available, identifiable live receptionists with their friendly and familiar voices can handle both incoming and outgoing calls. Live receptionists and a direct business phone line will help enhance your online business’ brand image and elevate brand perception in the eyes of your consumers.  

A Business Phone Number Offers the Best Call Clarity

call clarity - blog article contentIt is easy to forget the need for a fixed landline when we have options like mobile devices, Skype and free online voice calls. While these channels are great to make calls to your friends and family, they aren't all that reliable in the business scheme of things. Calls drop, voices sound muffled, lines go static and mobile signals can simply cease to exist. In fact, you may not even get a cellphone network in certain areas at all. These areas are commonly known as no service areas. 

When you have an important conference call to make or you need to close a deal, it's important to have a dedicated phone line that is free from distractions, disruptions, and disconnections. Only a fixed landline network provides the kind of security and calls clarity that your business requires to look like a legitimate one.   

Click-To-Call to Increase Conversions

Most consumers use their mobile devices to search for information. When they see a click-to-call (also known as a touch-to-call) button, they're more likely to make a connection with you. According to a study by Agendize, this method can increase sales by 23%. You might be shocked to learn that if you provide a click-to-call button on your website, 88% of visitors are more likely to contact your business. Wow, that's a HUGE percentage of consumers who want to connect to your business! And, all it took was the click of a button. What's even more shocking is that a click-to-call CTA can increase your call-to-conversion rate by 200%. I don't know about you, but with that data in mind, my head is swimming.

CLICK TO CALL - BLOG ARTICLE CONTENT-1 

Click-to-call is the most effective call-to-action (CTA) button you can ever place on your website. It provides immediate access, no matter from which device a customer is browsing your website. Make sure though that your click-to-call CTA buttons point towards your fixed business phone number and not to your mobile. 

Take Your Online Business to the Top with a Business Phone Line

online business - blog article contentRunning an online business is not an easy task and relying on automation and online channels may seem like a blessing. However, automation and text-based responses don't appeal to a large percentage of consumers. Real people provide real results. Live human interaction still trumps any recorded voice or digital self-service. A business phone number helps humanize your organization. When combined with a live receptionist service, a business phone line becomes a powerful tool for brand building and conversion optimization. Last but not the least, dedicated fixed lines will always offer better call quality than using online voice call services.  

In short, your business needs a business phone number. It promotes a professional image of your online business and helps your consumers make connections. And, in turn, makes your business more sales.

Tags: Customer Service, Small Business & Entrepreneurs

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