Communication is a key building block to developing a lasting relationship with your customers.
Ever hear a client ask: “What’s the best way for me to get in touch with you?”
The answer to that question can vary. It could be email, text, phone call, social media, etc.
Most customers these days expect the convenience of the text message experience as a way to communicate with anyone – even businesses. But for business owners, there can be some initial hesitancy in giving away their personal number to customers as the core communication channel. Reason being, by giving your clients the same number on which your friends and family contact you, issues around privacy, organization and overall professionalism in the eyes of your clients can arise.
Getting a dedicated phone number for your business can not only mitigate any aforementioned issues, but can go a long way in actually developing better relationships with your clients. Here are 4 key ways why getting a unique number for your business can help you thrive.
1. Privacy & protection
Giving friends and family members your personal phone number is one thing, but having your personal number listed across the web and social media can create a dangerous cycle.
The issue with using your personal number as the primary contact number for your business is that it will be publicly available for the world to see. Spam and scam calling is something that is increasing more and more these days – and this increases the risk of your number being stored on spam list not only in the U.S. and but international as well. So your personal contact details will be shared and passed around list after list without any control. That that become a lifetime nuisance.
The other issue is from time to time, every business can attract certain demanding clients. There is even a podcast dedicated to these types of customers… the “crazy” ones. This can cause the growing number of people who you do not want contacting you, to be able to reach you day and night. The realities of running a business is you’re going to come in contact with customers and potential customers who either do not respect business ethics, or do not treat you like a real person, or can become harassing.
Having a dedicated business number will protect you from all the above wanted callers and interactions. Instead of making your personal number go viral, put your business line on business cards, the top of your business website, social media profiles, etc. Make it easy for clients to reach you at the right place (i.e., your business) while protecting your personal life from the many unwanted callers across the U.S. and globe.
2. Keeping you organized
The added benefit to having a dedicated business number is it adds much needed structure to your life, especially if your business is growing fast.
For the same reasons why entrepreneurs and business owners set up a personal email address and a work email address, you should do this with a phone number as well. You will be able to maintain all your client communication threads completely separate from those of friends and family. Any history of client notes, messages and even phone call logs can be accessed at any time in seconds.
Not only can a dedicated business line keep you organized as you keep tabs on client records, but it can also help you stay organized in real-time as well. If a new client decides to call you out of the blue, when the phone is ringing you should be able to tell if this incoming phone call is someone calling your personal line or your business line. Depending on which phone number is being dialed, that can determine how you answer the phone, how you prep for the caller, and the immediate tone of the phone call.
Keeping business and pleasure separate can save you tons of time and headache when needing immediate access and information to your customer base.
3. Accessibility: The key to great customer service
There are many different reports about how important customer response time is to clients when interacting with a business or professional.
Having a separate business line increases your ability to respond faster, plain and simple. If all your client messages and reach-outs are organized in a central location (separate of texts from friends and family), then that’s less information and contacts you need to sift through. You will be able to access your customer’s request more quickly, drowning out any noise, and respond at the drop of a hat.
In addition, having a dedicated business number will make you feel more comfortable to push your business line to go viral (you won’t be worried about your personal number getting in the hands of spammers). Thus, making your business number front and center across the web – wherever your business is listed – will make it dead simple for any customer (young or old) to know HOW to reach you.
Overnight you will become more accessible to new and recurring clients, which will delight each and every inquiring customer. The more you delight your clients, the more they will stick with you, and the more they will tell their friends.
4. Act like a professional
Portraying yourself as a true professional goes a long way with your clients – especially the new ones.
You do not have to invest in expensive website development or fancy design on your business presence online to seem professional. It can be very simple to act like a real pro – and a lot of this starts with your phone number.
If a client is calling your business, and they get a voicemail that is tied to your personal number for friends and family, they might have second thoughts. Clients might jump to a conclusion that your business is not large, or might not be structured to handle a lot of customers (thus you don’t have experience), or might not even be a real business! A simple automated voicemail by you with your business name and indication as to when you typically return phone calls can nip this potential in the bud.
The added benefit to a dedicated business line is consistency. That means whether a client is the one texting / calling you, or the if you are the one texting / calling your client, that same business number is always at the forefront. The client is never getting a notifications or messages from numbers (or short codes) they do not recognize. And if you make sure text message is your core line of communication, then you can remove the need for clients to regularly check their Gmail or Outlook for appointment invites or even physical mailbox for mailed invoices.
Having a simple and consistent line of communication can go a long way in making the communication lines with clients incredibly convenient.