No one who’s just launched a business wants to look like they just launched a business. But how do you seem like you’ve been around a while? And that you’re successful? And that it’s not just, you know, you and two other employees? (Or, uh, just you?)
The answer may surprise you, as it revolves around your business phone, which probably isn’t something you stop to think about often.
Just the term “business phone” may feel a bit dated—especially since it’s likely the cell phone you’re holding in your hand right now—but hear us out. That little device yields a whole lot of big-company power if you choose the right business phone service provider.
Be small, look big.
So what’s the secret to making you seem like less of a struggling startup and more like a fully established business?
It’s VoIP, voice over internet protocol, or, in layman’s terms, phone service over the internet. Unlike old-school business phone service, it’s jam-packed with tons of great features that will make your business seem like it’s big and booming instead of, well, fledgling and growing.
Here are a few that will make you feel like—and hopefully earn!—a million bucks.
When you call a big business, what’s the first thing you’ll probably hear? A menu! Something like “Press 1 for sales…2 for customer service,” etc. VoIP lets you create custom menus to direct calls to different extensions, voicemails, recordings (such as business hours), and so on. Even if every extension goes to you, it’ll make you seem large and legit.
Established companies also have dial-by-name directories. And no matter how many people you have working for or with you, VoIP lets you set up directories callers can use to look people up by first or last name. You can opt for a computer-generated auto attendant to announce each name or record one yourself.
This is a great feature, especially if you have multiple departments that forward to the same number. (VoIP also lets you forward calls, to any kind of phone—including cell phones—anywhere in the world.) Here’s how voice tagging works: Your phone rings and you get an audio alert— “sales,” for example,”—so you can answer with the appropriate greeting. (“Good morning, sales department! How can I help you?”) It feels like magic, but it’s VoIP!
Text to greeting
You’re in the big time now! That voicemail greeting you recorded a year ago when you were eating a bagel…with cream cheese…while driving? It’s just not gonna cut it anymore. But you also dread re-recording it because it takes you way longer than you’d like to admit. Enter text to greeting! This handy VoIP feature lets you text what you’d like to say, then choose from over 40 automated voice talent options to say it for you. You can even use it for menus.
When a business puts you on hold, it must be really busy and successful, right? You, too, can be a bustling business and put callers (because you will have many of them, and soon) on hold with VoIP’s phone queues. Record a custom message while callers stand by or use—wait for it!—hold music.
Your friends don’t get it but you absolutely salivate over hold music. Because only big, fancy companies get to use it, right? Wrong! VoIP lets you have it, too. And it doesn’t have to be groan-inducing, either! You can even upgrade to the premium, dance-worthy stuff for just a little bit more each month.
Few things say you’ve made it like an 800 number. Or better yet a vanity number. (1-800-HECK-YES) Seriously, not only do you gain instant credibility, but since they’re toll-free, your callers won’t get charged a cent for calling you. And a memorable number makes it that much easier for customers—and potential customers—to get in touch.
Click to call
If you haven’t heard of click to call before, you’ve probably experienced it. You’re on a company website, you hit a contact button, and, magically, your phone’s ringing. It’s the business. Not only that, it’s the exact right person you need to talk to. VoIP can give you the awesomeness that is click to call, which, yes, makes your business look super high-tech, but also makes your customers’ lives—and yours—a whole lot easier.
Nothing says this business has it going on like a polished receptionist. You may not always be available to answer all the calls your business will inevitably get, but, thanks to an army of highly trained, VoIP-provided receptionists, your customers will always feel like they’re in good hands.
Like menus, queues, and hold music, the ability to transfer a call is one of those elusive big-company capabilities that’s been out of reach for small businesses. But VoIP can get you rockin’ the perfect call transfer immediately. Just say, “I’m transferring you now,” press *2, and then do a tiny, quiet “yessssss” because you’ve finally made it.