When you are just starting a business, or even if you have been a sole trader for some time, it is easy to fall into the habit of using your personal phone number to handle your business calls. After all, it seems more convenient at first to have all your calls coming through on one number. It is also more affordable, and switching can be a hassle.
But as your business grows and you gain more customers, you will start to realize the problem: late-night phone calls interrupting your free time, unknown callers, and difficultly keeping track of messages and requests.
You can solve this problem by carrying two separate devices – but that is hardly convenient. Why not consider getting a separate, custom phone number for your business? Here are our top five reasons why you should stop using your personal number.
Your Security Is at Risk
It seems like almost every week that news comes out of a big tech company like Facebook or Twitter being hacked. And when this happens, millions of personal phone numbers are exposed. For example, in the top two data breaches in this century, the personal data of more than 3.5 billion people was stolen and exposed to fraudsters and criminals.
While there is little you can do about these data breaches, one of the easiest ways to boost your personal security is to avoid advertising your personal number as your business number online. It will enable malicious third parties to obtain your data and possibly even your location, compromising your security. With a business number, however, your personal information stays private, and you can happily advertise your custom number without worrying about data breaches.
You Cannot Distinguish Personal from Business Calls
This is mostly a quality-of-life issue. If you use your personal number for your business communications, it becomes difficult to tell if the person calling you is someone you know personally or a potential client. For example, a call from your doctor might look similar to a business number, and so you will be unsure how to answer.
If you have a dedicated business number, however, you always know that a call coming through to it will not be from a friend, relative, or personal aspect of your life. So, you can confidently answer with the name of your company and ask how you can help – which is much more professional than a simple “Hello?”
You Cannot Share Your Line
If you have a personal number as your business number, you cannot share it with colleagues to help spread the burden of manning the lines. As your business grows, the number of business calls you receive will increase dramatically, and switching clients over to a new number can be a real hassle.
However, if you set yourself up with a proper toll-free business number from the beginning, then you can easily forward calls to colleagues or enable them to man the phone line for you while you are not in the office. This helps keep you sane, and might allow you to take a holiday once in a while!
Importantly, a business number will also allow you to set custom business voicemails providing information to clients. You can also set up call recording – something you probably would not want on your personal line.
Capped Call Capacity
If your business is successful, you will start to build more clients. That means you will receive more calls from wider geographical areas, something that most personal line rentals will cap or charge extra for.
However, if you have a dedicated business number, you can set up a business plan for the second number that gives you much more flexibility. Most companies offer a cheap business plan with basic features that you can easily expand later down the line – much easier than trying to port out your customers to a business number at a later stage.
Your Customers Cannot Call Free of Charge
Using a personal number for business also means your customers have to pay to call you. They may not pay directly if the call is included in their plan, but if they are on pay-as-you-go or are calling from a different locality, then the chances are they will need to pay to get in touch.
Why would you want to add this roadblock between you and your customers? The customer journey should be fast, efficient, and free, with the emphasis on free! You do not want them having to shell out cash just to get in contact with you.
Why You Should Make the Switch Today
No matter what stage of the business lifecycle your company is in, it will always be more difficult to switch over to a business number the longer you leave it. At the end of the day, personal numbers just will not cut it for a company that wants to be successful.
Getting a business number protects you from scammers, it offers you tailored business functionality, it is more convenient, and it makes you sound more professional to anyone calling in. With a vanity phone number, you can also choose what number you would like – meaning you can create something memorable, which will help your marketing.