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Choose the Right Phone Setup for a Virtual Office

A Beach Office!

It’s possible to look and sound professional while working from a home office or a carefully designed virtual office.  It’s also necessary that you pay attention to the details to take care of business in a way that gives you credibility and leaves your clients with a feeling of confidence in you, your products and services, and your company.

Your phone setup is a key component to your home office success.  You cannot afford to ignore this important advice:

  1. You must not depend on your home phone number OR your cell phone as a main point of contact.  It should be clear why your home phone is not a good idea – even with caller ID, someone in your house may forget and answer it in a less-than-professional manner and if Murphy’s Law has any merit, it will happen when your potentially largest new client calls you.
  1. You might think that using your cell phone is the next best idea, but it’s not.

The reason?  Well, for one thing, you don’t want to be married to your cell phone, becoming a literal slave to it every time it rings.  If you choose to use your cell phone as a main point of contact with the outside world as a business owner, you’ll soon want to throw it in the nearest deep body of water.  Another point about cell phones is that the voicemail is clumsy and annoying on most large carriers.  At the end, it gives enough options to make the most patient person let out with a big scream of “Enough already! Just let me leave the doggone message.”  Another issue I’ve run into here is that some cell phone carriers are notoriously late delivering messages, some arriving as long as 24-48 hours after having been left.  That’s bad for business.

So, what’s the answer?  For starters, I don’t recommend having another land-line from the local phone company installed.  It’s a waste of money and it’s a dead-end form of communication.  Even with phone company voicemail, your options are extremely limited.

Here’s Your Answer:

What you really need is a local phone number from a third-party company specializing in virtual office setups.  If you want a toll-free number, you can add this and point the toll-free to your new local number that is assigned by your voicemail/virtual office company.  That’s what I do – I have a local Myrtle Beach phone number, and I have a toll-free number directed to the number.  I don’t give out the toll-free number unless I’m in the sales cycle for folks out of town.  Local people can call the local number, and people needing customer service can dial long distance.  After all, long distance is free on so many packages now these days that toll-free is becoming a thing of the past.  But, it still has a nice professional look to it, so it’s probably still a good idea.

With this virtual office phone number, you can then do anything you want.  You can set up a menu that will make your company look larger.  For instance, Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Customer Service and 3 for Accounting.  Each of these selections can then route the call to a cell phone or your home phone (as long as you answer accordingly) and when those numbers aren’t answered, the system can bring the call back and take a message before it rolls into cell phone or home phone voicemail.  Or, you can send all calls into voicemail, and have the messages transcribed and emailed to you.

You can even give people a choice:  “If you would simply like to leave a message, press 1…if you would like to be connected to Joe’s current location, press 2 and hold.”  Then, music would play while the system tries to find you and patch the call through.

Without overloading you with details, let me just end by saying that the possibilities are endless and the service can also include eFax services.

I invite you to visit my website http://www.callintouch.com In Touch Solutions has all the services that I have described in this article.  If we don’t have what you need, we’ll help you find it.  For quicker information, just email me at jeanne@callintouch.com and ask me to call you.

We can provide local phone numbers anywhere in the continental United States.

What are you using now for your phone setup?