Are you looking for how to register a business phone number with 411?
While a small business doesn’t necessarily have to be listed with directory assistance in order to be Fundable, it can still be a valuable use of your time to get a listing. For one thing, customers may be looking for local businesses that way. A local phone number on 411 can be priceless.
But even if your small business isn’t local (or is virtual, perhaps), you can still benefit from having your business phone numbers on 411.
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Step 1 – Get a Separate Business Phone Number
You may be wondering why you can’t use your home number or your cell phone number. Consider the bane of all our existences — telemarketers. Do YOU still pick up when you see unknown phone numbers on Caller ID?
If those phone numbers turn out to belong to your clientele, then you’ve got a problem.
How is a caller going to feel if they get your toddler on the phone? Is your voicemail professional enough sounding, or is it more casual?
But you will not worry about any of this happening with your calls if you have a separate company number and phone system.
Step 2 – Make Sure Your Business Number Can Ring to Your Cell Phone
Virtually everyone in the United States has a mobile phone. But anyone using a smartphone as their business phone, or who is using Voice Over Internet Protocol (through, perhaps, a VoIP provider), can often find that their service providers don’t make the numbers available to directory assistance.
So, you will need to proactively get your company’s number listed. Fortunately, that’s step #3.
Being able to pick up your business calls from anywhere means you don’t need to miss a lead or a sale.
If you have employees, then make sure they can get your business number to ring on their cell phones, too. Many customers prefer human operators to machines—and will be thrilled when your employees can do more than just standard operator jobs.
And if your customers have complaints, they’ll be glad they go through to a person.
Step 3 – Contact a Listing Service Directly
Your personal phone number or your business phone service is being provided by all sorts of companies these days. With the advent of companies like Verizon Wireless, gone are the days of Ma Bell had a monopoly.
If the Federal Communications Commission allows it, then we’ll likely see even more places where a corporate can get a phone number.
As a result, getting on 411 isn’t a “one-and-done” affair. You’d have to do it several times. Therefore, it will save you time and frustration to work directly with a company that only does this.
The telephone company most likely will not add your company phone number to 411. In fact, most of the businesses on 411 are there because they are clients of the particular phone company which provides directory assistance. So, you will need to act.
Fortunately, companies such as ListYourself will get your local number (with a local area code) or really any company phone number where you can get calls onto 411. You can even get your number on the wireless 411 directories. And it’s free!
Step 4 – Seriously Consider Working With a Virtual Phone Number Company
Working with a virtual phone company often means that one of their features is that they have their own phone operators and services.
An independent company that can handle your company phone system will always be finding new and improved ways to help you, their customer.
Three of our favorites are Phone.com, Call Hippo, and RingCentral. Shop around as each operator is different. Make sure that you can afford any plan that you buy, and that the plan and the provider can grow with your small business.
When considering a phone system, we recommend adding the ability to get messages (to assist with unified communications) and to screen incoming phone calls. We also recommend not adding features until you’re certain that you need them.
For example, do not add international calling until you start dealing with international customers or distributors. But unlimited calls and Google Voice are likely to feature useful from Day One.
Benefits Of Getting Your Number Registered
Benefit 1 – Enhanced Credibility
There is cachet and there is credibility with being listed. If a credit card issuer or lender doesn’t find your business, they may see you as being a higher risk than they are willing to tolerate.
Investor relations will improve, too, if they feel your business is lower risk.
In fact, there are vendor credit providers that will insist on your small business being on 411. If you want to build business credit, the easiest way is through them. So, why make things harder on yourself? It doesn’t have to be that way.
This feeling of credibility is vital to your clients and prospective customers as well. And if your prime clients tend to be older, then they may still like to use a phone book. If so, then having your business phone number on 411 will impress them the most.
Benefit 2 – A 411 Listing With a Separate Phone Number is a Sign of Commitment to Your Business
In particular, a toll-free number can help a small business seem a lot bigger than it truly is. If you keep your home telephone number, does the outgoing message feature your voice, or someone else’s?
You’re most likely not to have operator services with your home number, either. It would seem like overkill for your family, but for your business, it can help you make sales. Having live chat available means customer service issues can be resolved more quickly, too.
A separate number also means any incoming call is routed directly to you, and not your family or babysitter or anyone else.
Benefit 3 – Having a Separate Company Phone Number Means There’s Nothing Stopping You From Getting a Special Number for Your Business
Have you ever seen a corporate phone number that looked something like 1-800-BUSINESS-NAME? That’s a vanity phone number. The beauty of this kind of phone number is how easy it is for anyone to remember.
Everyone from telephone operators to your family to even the press and the Chamber of Commerce will be able to remember a phone number like that. Customers and prospects will barely need directory assistance with such a phone number.
All anyone will need to know is your business name when they want to make a phone call to you.
A special number will also help your family and friends call you directly and not your business. Unless, of course, they want to contact your business.
You can even get multiple numbers if you like.
Benefit 4 – Your Customers Will Get YOUR Business
That is, there are plenty of similarly named businesses out there. While your state will most likely require that any registered corporate name be unique, that doesn’t cover businesses that aren’t incorporated. Or the name might just be close.
Take two business owners named Mary, for example. Customers may have a little trouble distinguishing, say, Mary’s Pretty Boutique from Mary’s Precious Boutique. Get your small business listed on 411 because your competitor might not take the time to do so.
Then, when clients look up a local boutique, they’ll get yours and not hers. As a result, a listing on 411 can confer a small competitive advantage this way.
Registering your business phone number with 411 is easy and can even be free. It works perfectly, hand in hand with a separate number and a virtual service for your business telephone needs.
And it can help make your customers’ and prospects’ first impression of your business a good one.