Setting up a phone system can be daunting for a small business owner, especially on a tight budget. Fortunately, virtual phone number providers offer a solution for businesses to manage customer calls without breaking the bank.
In this article, we’ll explore the top free business phone number providers in the UK, what to look for in virtual phone service providers, and tips for setting up and using your new business phone number. Here we go!
These business phone numbers are virtual. They allow businesses to manage customer calls without needing a physical phone line. Virtual phone number providers use the internet to route incoming calls to your local phone number, allowing you to manage your business calls from anywhere. Combine your free phone number with a phone answering service for your small business and you’re ready to get started!
Virtual phone numbers are essential for small businesses as they offer a professional image to customers by providing a dedicated free phone number for business calls. They also allow you to manage phone calls efficiently and cost-effectively without expensive hardware or equipment (for example, a business telephone system or a VoIP telephone system for your company).
1. Google Voice
Google Voice is a popular virtual phone system offering a free phone number with unlimited calls internationally or otherwise. Their services cater to more than just phone calls. You can text using iOS, Android, Tables, or any device connected to the internet.
It also offers international calling at affordable rates. Google Voice only offers free local area code numbers. Unfortunately, their free subscription does not include vanity and toll-free numbers in their free subscription. Some Google Voice features include:
- Voicemail transcription
- Call screening
- Spam filter and number blocker
- Call recording
- Conference calls
- Voicemail greeting recording
- Unlimited calls
- Integration with other Google apps
Grasshopper is a virtual phone system and service provider offering a free trial of its services before you commit to a paid plan. It has a user-friendly interface. In addition, all phone system features are available across all plans.
Additionally, it offers a superb incoming call control that allows users to screen calls and block unknown numbers. You can create custom toll-free numbers and tailor inbound business calls schedules to align with your business hours.
Some Grasshopper features include:
- Virtual business phone numbers
- Virtual fax
- Instant and automated text response for missed calls
- Place and receive incoming and outgoing calls
- Auto attendant
- Basic voice-over-Internet protocol
- Conference calls
Phone.com is a virtual service provider offering free phone numbers with paid plans. Also, its audio conferencing feature can host approximately 300 participants in a conference call. The virtual meeting uses password protection and a dedicated number to ensure security.
You will also enjoy Phone.com pooled minutes. It’s an exciting feature available for each user in the Basic account. Phone.com starter plan carries 500 pooled minutes. Furthermore, you can share 1,500 minutes for outbound and inbound calls if you have three basic users.
Some of the key management features of Phone.com include:
- International unlimited calling
- Hold music
- Auto attendant
- Call transfer to personal cell phone
- Conference calls
- Business SMS
- Custom phone numbers
RingCentral is a cloud-based virtual business phone numbers provider offering free business phone numbers with paid plans. You can transfer calls to a different number or extension if they so desire.
The platform’s incoming call control enables users to screen callers and get more information before taking the call. Furthermore, you can accept multiple calls simultaneously.
Here are some essential features:
- Call forwarding
- Automated greetings
- Call recording
- Detailed call reports
- Business SMS
There are numerous benefits to using a virtual phone service provider to receive business phone calls. These include:
Cost Savings: Virtual phone numbers are cheaper than traditional phone lines and offer unlimited calling at a fraction of the cost.
Increased Efficiency: Virtual phone systems offer features like call forwarding, auto attendant, and caller ID that streamline your business’s communication processes.
Professional Image: Virtual phone numbers provide a professional image to customers, which can help build trust and credibility for your business.
Flexibility: Virtual phone systems allow you to manage your business phone support from anywhere, making it easier to work remotely and keep your calls separate.
Here are several key features to look for:
Call Forwarding and Routing Incoming Calls
Call forwarding allows you to route incoming calls to your mobile or landline phone, ensuring you never miss an important call. It’s also essential to look for a provider that offers call routing, which allows you to route calls to different departments or team members based on the caller’s needs.
Call Recording and Call Transfers
Call recording is an essential feature that allows you to record business calls for future reference or training purposes. Call transfers are also crucial for seamless communication between team members or departments.
Auto-attendant and Interactive Voice Response
Auto-attendant and interactive voice response (IVR) provide a professional image to customers by routing their calls to the appropriate department or team member. These features reduce wait times and ensure customers reach the right person quickly.
Unlimited Calling and Inbound/Outbound Calls
When choosing a provider, consider one that offers unlimited calling within your country or region. You should also look for a provider that allows both inbound and outbound calls.
Toll-free Numbers and Local Phone Numbers
Toll-free numbers are numbers that customers can call for free, making it easier for them to reach your business. Local phone numbers are also crucial. They allow you to establish a local presence in different regions or cities.
Video Conferencing and International Calling
Video conferencing and international calling are essential features for businesses with a global presence or work with international clients. These features allow you to communicate with clients or team members worldwide.
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best free phone number service provider for your business. These include:
Evaluate Your Business Needs and Budget
Before choosing a provider, evaluate your business needs and budget. Consider factors like the number of employees, call volume, and the features you require.
Compare Pricing, Plans, and Features
Compare pricing, plans, and features from different providers to find the best fit for your business. Look for a provider that offers the primary options you need at an affordable price.
Check Customer Support and Service Reliability
Customer support and service reliability are essential factors when choosing a provider. Look for a provider that offers reliable service and excellent customer support.
Consider Scalability and Growth Potential
Finally, consider the scalability and growth potential of the provider you choose. Choose a provider that will grow with your business and offer additional features as you expand.
Once you’ve chosen a provider, set up and use your new business phone number effectively. Here are some tips:
Set up a Dedicated Phone Number for Business Calls
Separate your personal phone number and business calls by setting up a dedicated phone number for business calls. You maintain a professional image and will not miss any important calls.
Use Business Hours and Call Scheduling
Set up business hours and call schedules to ensure you don’t receive calls outside your working hours. You will maintain a work-life balance and be available to your customers when needed.
Use Business Texting for Phone Calls
Business texting is an excellent way to communicate with customers who prefer texting over calling. Look for a provider that offers business SMS as part of their service.
Set up a Virtual Business Phone Numbers System for Remote Work
Consider setting up a virtual business phone system if you have remote workers or work from home. You will manage your business calls from anywhere and ensure your team members can communicate seamlessly.
Virtual business phone service providers offer an affordable and efficient solution for small businesses looking to manage phone calls. When choosing a provider, you must consider factors like phone support, caller id, pricing, features, international calls support, and toll-free phone numbers to find the best fit for your small business.
Set up your new business phone number effectively by setting your business hours, using call scheduling, and business texting to screen customer calls.
By taking advantage of the basic features offered by free business phone number providers, you can ensure that your business communication processes are streamlined, cost-effective, and professional.