At Housecall Pro, we help home service businesses manage jobs, from scheduling to invoicing to post-job follow-ups. And nearly seventy percent of homeowners prefer to connect with businesses via the phone. This post explains the importance of having a separate business number and how you can get the most out of your phone line to grow your business.
Why Do Home Services Need a Separate Business Line?
Reason #1: Hand Over Phone Responsibilities As Your Company Grows
It’s common for the owners to start their home service business simply using their personal cell phones. Maybe right now, all jobs start and end with you, but, as you grow, this won’t always be the case. You’ll eventually need to hire dispatch and customer service representatives, service managers, etc. And you won’t be as hands-on for every request that comes in.
In fact, a common question we see from owners with growing businesses is: How do I wean customers off my personal number? (We address this question below!) This common problem is one of the reasons we recommend that you start using a separate line ASAP. Having a business line now will help save headaches later on. It’s also part of what will allow you to, as the saying goes, work on your business, instead of in it.
But there’s another good reason to have a business line you might not have thought of: statistics.
Reason #2: Track Data Related to Phone Calls
Having a business line that includes call tracking capabilities allows you to track all sorts of data related to your business, such as how your marketing spend is working, where your calls are coming from, and the number of calls that turn into paid jobs.
You’ll also want the ability to record all calls coming into your business, for a variety of reasons like customer service training and double-checking specifics about a call, such as what price you quoted a customer.
How to Set up a Business Line
1. Why Go wIth a VoIP Number
We don’t recommend investing in a landline or a number that’s attached to a specific device like a cell phone. This can severely limit what you can do with the number. Remember, you’ll want a business line (or multiple lines) that can grow with your business.
A much more flexible and affordable alternative is a virtual (or VoIP) number. VoIP enables you to use an app on your current phone (or any phone) to answer business calls. You can also easily use VoIP to forward calls to different numbers.
It’s important to have one central number you use across all of your social media profiles, your website, and any directory you’re found in. This consistency can help maintain your rankings in organic searches online. As a local business, you’ll want your main line to be a local number. In addition to your online presence, this is the number to use on the side of your truck or van, your business cards, etc.
2. Collect Data Around Your Phone Number
As we explained above, there’s so much information about your customers and your business that you can collect from your business line.
If you already have a business line, you can port your existing number into a call tracking system, like the one offered by CallRail. And you own any phone numbers that you create using CallRail.
3. Connect it to Your Customer Database
One of the benefits of a VoIP number is the ability to connect your phone line to your customer database. When a call comes in, you can know if they’re an existing customer or someone new; if you’ve done work for them recently; among other info that can help you continue to build this customer relationship.
CallRail and Housecall Pro created an integrated solution that helps you do just this.
4. Transitioning Your Customers to a New Line
Back to that question we often get about how to help customers transition from calling the business owner’s personal number to a new business line — pros often handle this in one of two ways.
The first option is to turn your current personal number into the official business number. Port your number into the call tracking system and use it as the main office line, then get a new number for personal use.
The second option is to stop responding to customers who call your cell. When customers call and get your voicemail, instruct them to call the office line for assistance and let them know you’re no longer checking voicemail messages for this number. For the next few months, don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number of if you know it’s a customer calling. You can also create an automated text with the same information.
We also recommend reaching out to all of your existing customers via email. Explain that you’re growing, adding office staff to ensure you’re handling business as quickly and efficiently as possible, and encourage them to call to set up their next visit. If you’ve hired new office staff, this is a great time to introduce them along with any specials you’re running for existing customers. This communication can create a connection between you and your customers. Knowing that you’re growing can help them feel secure that your business will be around to serve them in the future.