This article is made possible by Sara Stringer, site supporter.
Who here spends a lot of time on her phone? I know I do. Between my home-office business calls, and the additional calls I place on my mobile while I'm waiting to pick up one of my kids from ballet or science club, I feel like I'm on the phone all day long. Forget about those studies that say people are texting, not talking -- I'm talking all the time!
That's why I really appreciated Alli's recent article about being a cold caller. I'm a cold caller too. I'll dial everyone--I'll even make international calls if it looks like I've got a good American or Canadian prospect.
So here comes the question: how many phone numbers does one business need? I'll start with the ones I have right now, although I'm thinking about getting a few more.
1. Home office number
This is the "main" phone number, the one that dials the landline in my home office. It's the first phone number listed on my contact page, and the one listed on the bottom of my website. This number is its own separate line, which means it doesn't ring the house phone and my kids know not to answer it.
2. Mobile number
Even though I have a home office, I'm a busy enough mum that I feel like I spend half my day away from home. I don't have my mobile number on my website, but I do include it in the answering message on my home office number (as in "if you can't reach me, try my mobile..."), and I include both numbers in my email signature.
Without my mobile, my business would be nothing. I even have the hands-free cradle set in my car so I can safely talk while driving. These safety cradles have been the law in Australia for the past year, which is a good thing -- I hated feeling like I was going to have to choose between endangering myself and endangering my business when I took calls while driving.
When I'm out and about, I have the earpiece, meaning I am that crazy person you see on the street! It's okay, though -- I'm just talking to clients and vendors.
3. International number(s)
This is where things get extra tricky. After I landed a few international clients, I decided I needed an easy international number for business contacts. I signed up for TollFreeForwarding, which offers free international phone numbers for business calls. I don't put these numbers on the main page of my website, but I do have a link underneath my home office number that reads: "International callers, click here." Then they get taken to a separate page, which lists my international numbers.
I'm not sure I like that setup, though. I don't like having to make my international customers take an extra click to find the phone numbers. On the other hand, I'm worried that listing five or six phone numbers on the same page will be confusing to everyone.
4. Skype number
This is the one I'm considering getting, the one that will add yet one more phone number to my ever-increasing list. Previously, I used my ordinary Skype profile to video chat with clients -- the same profile that my own mum uses when she wants to talk to her grandkids, or that my husband uses when he's on business trips. That means that when I'm on a business video call, I'll get a Skype message from mum that reads "Saw you're online! Are the kids around?"
So I'm thinking about getting a Skype number for business and using it to keep the two profiles separate. That would add one more more phone number to my roster, but it would be worth it.
What about you? How many phone numbers do you think one business needs -- and how many do you have?
Sara is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about lifestyle, relationships, and life as a woman. In her spare time, she enjoys soaking up the sunshine with her husband and two kids.
Image of phone courtesy of www.freedigitalimages.net