Online businesses make use of many channels for customer support online – social media, website contact forms, email, live chat – but due to the nature of these businesses, many don’t set up a business phone number and instead use cell phones for any business calls that need to be made.
Is this the right move for businesses because they primarily connect with and do business with their customers online? Does an online business need a phone number? That depends. Oracle recently conducted a consumer research study that found “live telephone support is the overwhelming preference for nearly all consumers in North America.” A full 71% of consumers reported they prefer using a business number and 19% said they enjoy Click-to-Call services.
Even if the purchase is being made online, consumers (for the most part) still want to be able to connect with a company via live telephone support. If an online business doesn’t offer that option, it’s failing to accommodate a preference that a majority of North Americans have.
Does an online business need a phone number?
An online business that doesn’t have a dedicated business phone number probably won’t suffer immediate consequences, but it will begin to affect the reputation being built with customers. Companies that operate entirely online may be under increased scrutiny by some consumers, who may take a lack of a business phone number as a sign of illegitimacy.
The phone offers one of the quickest ways to get support – provided that the customer gets to speak with a live representative and not an IVR system – and is still favored by a majority of customers to other channels of support- 71% prefer phone support.
Check out the infographic below which contains some of the statistics we’ve mentioned above.
How can an online business set up a business phone number?
It’s clear that phone support is wanted by customers, but the hard part for many online businesses is figuring out how to set up a business phone number. Many of us don’t have a landline anymore, so the prospect of setting up a phone number for a business that has been running comfortably online up to this point can feel stressful.
Thankfully, there are some options that make it easy to set up a business phone number. One of the best is to work with a full-service call answering service provider who can be a “one-stop shop”: They’ll get your number set up for you and then manage the calls that come in once you’re up and running.
Conversational is a great example of a full-service call answering provider and offers the following when you sign up for a monthly plan:
- A free local business phone number
- Voicemail boxes
- Message taking and delivery via text or email
- Call transferring and routing
- Call screening
- Basic customer service
- Promote specials, deals, etc. to callers
- Manage and schedule appointments
There’s a free 30 day trial for all new clients, so you can give the service a try before deciding if the phone is an important channel for your business. Does an online business need a phone number? We believe they do. See if your customers respond positively when you open up their preferred channel of communication for them! Click below to start your free trial.