Is one telephone number enough for a small business?

In business, your telephone number is a crucial part of your identity. It's the initial statement of intent and should be taken very seriously.

Published on: 14 April 2015

The digits that you display on your website, in a phone book or on advertisements are the keys used to unlock your customer-facing agents - allowing you to sell, fix and help customers solve their problems.

A question that often crops up during our conversations with customers is "what is the quantity of telephone numbers required for a business?". Our answer is always the same - it really depends on you, but one number can be enough.

You may think this answer is a cop-out, but as with any good business decisions, the answer should be tailored to the individual, rather than individual tailoring themselves to the answer.


The power of one

The beauty of cloud communications means that businesses can get along just fine with one telephone number. A small business can have one main number, usually non-geographic, that then links to all employees through a virtual receptionist or "IVR" as it is known in the telephony world.

What happens is that a customer will call the number and is given several options to choose from: “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for support…”. The customer will make a selection and be put through to the chosen department. A common misconception here is that each individual agent needs their own telephone number, which is incorrect. Business telephone systems, like VoIPOffice, assign an internal 4-digit extension number (or extension) to each agent. This means that the IVR can route to any extension without the need or added expense of a telephone number per individual.

The other good thing about IVRs is that not only do they save you time and money by routing calls without the need to hire a receptionist, they also make your company appear bigger than it is. Think about it, you can run a business by yourself, and by having an IVR, you can instantly give the impression that you have sales, support and even customer service departments, when in reality all calls lead back to you.


Gold numbers

If you do opt for just one number, you’ll want to make it as attractive, or as memorable, as possible. A strong number can make a great first impression, whilst also making it easy for your customers to dial and remember.

To put this into perspective, the most expensive telephone number of all time, 666-6666, sold for around £1.7m a couple of years back. The only downside was that due to it being so obvious, it ended up receiving many prank and spam calls per day!


Select an option

As usual, you do have options. If you only need one number, then it can address your needs, no problem. However, you could choose to give important members of staff an individual telephone number, so they can be reached instantly by customers.

You might also want to add some geographic numbers. This can give your customers a chance to call you without incurring the usual fees associated with non-geographic numbers, whilst making you like you are a local business as well.


Whether you require one or one hundred numbers, we can help. If you'd like to talk about business telephone numbers in more detail, please contact us using one of the buttons below.


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