A while back, I wrote about alternatives to publishing your cell number as your business line. It is tempting to give out your cell number as your business phone number; after all, you want to be accessible to your clients and potential clients! But what if you grow and hire additional employees? You won’t be able to transfer their calls to them. What if your phone starts ringing off the hook? No one will be able to help you answer calls. There are a number of reasons using your cell may not be a scalable solution. Have you printed your cell number on your business cards and your customers already know your number by heart? Don’t panic! Here are five ways you can get around it without anyone being the wiser:
- Get a second cell phone: Forward your original cell/business number to another number; you could get a landline where your on-site staff can help ease the phone answering burden or you could forward your calls to Ruby where your calls will be answered by a friendly virtual receptionist. Then, only give your new cell phone number to your friends, family, and anyone you’d like to call you directly. The catch: Your mobile provider may count the time involved in your forwarded calls against your minutes.
- Convert your cell number to a remote call forwarding line: Sometimes called a “market expansion line,” this is a number that “lives” at the phone company and forwards to wherever you point it. Then, you could get a new number for your cell that friends and family (and Ruby, if you’d like us to transfer calls to you) may call you on.
- Transfer your number to Google Voice: If your current provider agrees to release your phone number to a third party, you can port your number to Google Voice for a one-time fee of $20 — there’s no cost for the service itself. However, keep in mind that since it is a free service without a contract, there’s no dedicated support if there’s a service disruption, and in the future, Google could decide to close Google Voice and potentially keep your number.
- Add delayed call forwarding (also known as Ring Busy/No Answer call forwarding) to your plan: Your calls will ring on your cell a couple times, so you can grab it if it’s a family member or VIP client; your calls will only forward to another number if you don’t answer or are on another call. Verizon has a nice overview of what this looks like. Delayed call forwarding is usually an additional feature, and just like with traditional call forwarding, the call may continue to use your cell phone plan’s minutes even after Ruby picks up.
- Use one of the above and phase out your cell number: Get a new number and change it on your marketing where you can (i.e., your website, social profiles, etc.). Send out an email to your clients letting them know about the new number and ask them to call it instead. Even if you don’t combine this with one of the above, the volume of calls to your cell should be more manageable. And if you’re a Ruby client, feel free to use your Ruby toll-free number as your new number — it’s yours to keep!
Did you publish your cell phone number as your business line? What happened? How did you get around it — or did it work for you?