Why and How to Use Extensions for Your Small Business
If you work from home, the idea of phone extensions for your small business phone line may not have crossed your mind. Maybe you're a solopreneur, or perhaps you have a few other colleagues dispersed across the country working from their own home offices or coffee shops.
So, why would you need extensions if you don't have a traditional business phone system, or even a traditional business office?
While this may be the case, cloud phone technology has made it easy for businesses of all kinds to set up two or three digit extensions that route business calls directly to mobile phones of your team members through a virtual business phone system.
There are so many ways to use phone extensions to provide your clients with stellar customer service — no matter how big, small or distributed you are. Extensions can help you be better at delegating, so you can stay focused on the necessary tasks to grow your business.
3 Scenarios that Make Better Sense with Extensions
Whether you’re a team of 1 or 20, extensions can give you the freedom to run your business with ease. Consider the following scenarios as examples:
1. One Person Business
You're running the show. You have no one to answer to. So, why would you possibly need multiple phone extensions? Because even though you're a business of one, you still have different "departments"—e.g.: billing, customer service, scheduling, etc. By setting up phone extensions for these different aspects of your business, you'll create a big business feel, and give your clients the security they get when working with an established company.
Here's a scenario: You own a jewelry store that is open by appointment only, but you also have an online retail site. To manage both all on your own, you have a virtual phone number with separate extensions for store hours and information, online purchases, appointment scheduling and customer support.
By sharing general info like "store hours", you can let your clients know they'll need to schedule an appointment (which they can also do via phone), or you can direct them to your retail site — all without ever having to pick up the phone. When you're a one person business, you'll need all the time you can get to focus on other aspects of your company.
2. Small Dispersed Team
Phone extensions are a great option for virtual small businesses with team members who live in different areas. Rather than providing a slew of phone numbers to clients and making them track down the right person, extensions can do the hard work for them. Whether you choose to have the extension route directly to a person or department, your callers will thank you.
Here's a scenario: You and your friends from your last agency job all got together and started your own consultancy. But since coming together, you've found yourself living in different cities.
By setting up phone extensions, your clients are able to call your central business phone number and be directed to the correct person, all with the touch of a button. Your clients will never be the wiser that Jon, your tech guy, is working from his beach chair in Florida, or that your social media pro Sam is phoning in from Alaska.
3. Unlimited Extensions
With only a few departments and a handful of employees, the idea of having access to an unlimited number of extensions might seem unnecessary. But if you get creative, extensions can allow you to give your customers top notch service. Think VIP extensions, hidden extensions, experimental marketing and product line extensions.
Here's a scenario: You're a web development firm with some high-end clients. You know they want VIP treatment, so why not give them a hidden VIP extension? By creating their own private extension, you'll always know who is calling and they'll feel like Top Dog. This same idea also works for marketing.
By creating custom extensions and placing them on different marketing materials - your website, flyers, Facebook, etc. — you'll know where your referrals are coming from. Ultimately helping you to better generate leads and improve your bottom line.
How to Set Up Extensions
Here is a step by step process of how to set up your extensions in the Cloudphone.com desktop portal (instructions for mobile setup are further down below).
Keep in mind – with the standard pricing plan, your account includes 2 extensions. However, you can easily add on more extensions by upgrading your account. Extensions will need to be created for more than one user to log into the system.
On Desktop Version:
- Open up your Cloudphone.com portal.
- Find “Extensions” in the menu on the left side of your screen.
- Select “Add New”
This will take you to a new page on which you can create an extension.
- Choose between Personal or Department.
- Create a Personal extension for each person you would like to use the Mobile app and web portal.
- Create a Department extension to connect groups of people in your company. Whoever picks up first gets the call.
- Choose the role and admin privileges.
- Select Admin to give a user full access to your entire Cloudphone.com portal.
- Select Non-admin to limit their access. A user without admin privileges is only able to manage their own information.
- If you elect to create a Personal extension, enter the user’s information including their name, phone number, and the 3-digit extension number.
- If you elect to create a Department extension, enter the department name, 3-digit extension code and the email address to which you would like to receive notifications.
- Once you’ve created the Department extension, you’ll be redirected to another page that enables you to add your team members’ phone numbers to that extension.
- Select the Extension you would like to add to from the list. (Please note - you will not be able to view this list or the “View Extensions” menu option in your left side navigation until you’ve created your first extension.)
- Next, select “Add Number or Device” and follow the prompts in the pop-up window to add each users’ information to the group. You’ll have the option of choosing from an existing extension or a new phone number.
- Next, label the extension line with the users’ name or whatever works for you.
- You can choose additional options, such as how long the call rings for before going to voicemail or transferring to another line, as well as the number you would like for Caller ID to show when the line rings.
- Once you have multiple lines set up in your Department extension group, you can select whether you would like for the calls to ring in order or all at once.
- Additional call settings include what happens after all extensions ring, but nobody answers. You can elect to have the call connect to a custom voicemail or choose from your list of voicemail greetings that you’ve already created.
- You can also set up Text and Email Notifications, so you or another user are alerted when a call comes in to your Department Extension.
On Mobile Version:
- Open Cloudphone.com application.
- Go to “Settings” in the bottom right corner.
- Select “Extensions” from the menu.
- Select “Add New Extension” from the menu.
- Follow steps 4 through 7 above.
Delegate, Collaborate, Accelerate!
Phone extensions are an easy way to improve your phone communications, and with unlimited extensions offered from Cloudphone.com, there’s no limit on how creative you can get.
To get started, you’ll need a virtual business number — if you don’t already have one—but set-up is simple and you can try it for 30-days risk free with our money-back guarantee. Are you already using phone extensions for your small business? We’d love to hear about your experience!
Looking to upgrade your communications for your small business with a virtual business phone system? Cloudphone.com is one of the most affordable, practical and effective cloud phone systems on the market. Get started today with your very own business phone and starting saving time, staying focused, and making more progress towards your goals!