With so many options of mobile phone, traditional land lines and new Voice over IP (VoIP) services available for small businesses, making the right choices can be difficult. But for a growing business, being easy to contact and presenting the right image are vital.
While mobile phones have revolutionised business communications for people on the move, calling a mobile can be more expensive and an 07 number may give the impression that there is no substance behind the business and no indication of location.
You can divert a local BT number to your mobile but the line rental and divert charges are expensive and return calls always display a mobile number.
But now an existing 3G SIM card can be replaced with a new generation of SIM with a landline number directly assigned to it. This way, callers are charged only for calling a landline, voice quality is enhanced and the local number is displayed as the caller ID.
It is also possible to have more local area numbers pointed to the same SIM to reach a wider geographical audience, generate more inbound calls and enhance the image of the company. All of the local numbers can be answered on the same mobile.
Another way for small businesses to present a more professional image and capture calls is to use an intelligent call management service.
With a local number ported to the service, an auto attendant - press 1 for sales, 2 for service etc - will answer in-coming calls and route them to the right mobile or fixed handset.
It is possible to set up rules based on the day and time, while a ‘hunt group’ can be set up so each number is tried until the call is answered.
A further optional feature of the new generation of mobile services is call recording.
Set to be always-on or on-demand, this will capture a call where a customer places an order, gives detailed directions or instructions or asks a list of questions that may be difficult to write down while you are out and about.
The full recording can be emailed automatically to a preset address as an attachment to action or forward to a colleague.
While mobile technology opens up exciting new opportunities for small businesses, it also makes it more confusing - so it’s well worth doing your homework first.
Ian Philip is CEO for Anvil Mobile