everreach is a virtual phone service that helps startups and small businesses look and sound like big businesses. We give small business owners a virtual local or national landline number which they use to forward and manage their business calls according to how their business works. This means they can appear and behave professionally from day one without the unnecessary set up costs that you get from using a traditional landline.
The service has been designed with simplicity in mind and is ideal for those small businesses that need flexibility, particularly those which are operating on a tight budget or working without a fixed office location.
Instead of using a mobile number as a main contact which many small businesses do in their early days, the virtual landline number gives a business a geographic presence which is a clear indicator to customers that it serves a specific area. The call forwarding and management aspect of the service means if you’re on the move, on a job or simply too busy to pick up, calls can be redirected and handled effectively, ensuring they are answered professionally and you don’t miss any new business opportunities.
We recently ran an experiment with an independent beauty salon based in Essex, Extensionique, to test the impact of using a mobile number versus a landline phone number on a business’ incoming call volume.
Extensionique took out two identical adverts online, one listing an everreach virtual landline number and the other a mobile number. Over the test period the experiment revealed that customers were six times more likely to call the landline number, which received four times as many calls as the mobile number, despite actually having less page views of the advert.
We took these findings to Professor Vince Mitchell of the Cass Business School at City University London to help make a little more sense of the numbers. He told us that consumers look for “signals to have confidence in the service provider” and that a landline number is one such signal “that acts both consciously and subconsciously on the mind to subtly alter our beliefs and attitudes”. The landline provides a sense of “trust because it implies a fixed presence, that the business is doing well enough to afford a separate business landline and therefore is more likely to have existing happy customers”.
It gives entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses the trust that comes with a landline number but the convenience of using your mobile to manage and answer calls.
Our insight and experiment shows that using a landline number can help increase calls to a business, which is particularly important when you are trying to grow. The call forwarding and management system is designed to ensure that these calls are properly handled, even if you can’t get to the phone.
There is a good mix of customers using the service from technology startups, independent shops, salons and marketing agencies who want to appear bigger and more established than they necessarily are, to tradespeople who are regularly on the move and need a way of staying on top of their calls.
Before setting up we consulted over 300 startups and small businesses to find out what would help them run more smoothly and grow and built the service on their feedback.
Smarta readers can get an exclusive 2 month free trial of the everreach service. Offer valid until 31/10/14. Just visit www.everreach.co.uk/offers/smarta2014 to get started.