Offering customers multiple points of contact on your ecommerce website is essential to building solid relationships and ensuring maximum ROI. A phone number is really most important, as even if customers prefer online chat or email, they can easily get turned off prior to purchase if they check for a phone number and don’t find one. After all, if you don’t have a phone number for them to call, you could just take their money and run, right?
A virtual phone number offers a ton of benefits to your ecommerce store:
Adds immediate trust factor to website
Not providing a phone number in the contact section of your website is just as bad as having something like [email protected] as your email address! The jig is up in online sales – the acai days are over and customers are wary of online stores that ask them to make a purchase, yet limit their ability to get in touch.
Consider a customer who wants to buy a new and exciting product you’ve brought to market, or who wants to save money by going with you over more reputable online stores: they want to feel like you stand behind your offering. A generic email address or flimsy contact form alone tells customers “Hey, give us your money, but we don’t have the time to talk.” In a customer’s mind, you’re either going to rip them off outright, or won’t be there if they have issues they need help with down the line.
The bottom line, you need to provide a phone number on your ecommerce store – not only in the contact section, but also prominently on your website, above the fold. This study shows that doing so boost sales.
Save loads of money over local carriers on long distance and international calling fees
Imagine how much Verizon or MetroPCS is going to charge you when long distance calls start rolling in from everywhere? Business or not – and writing off long distance expenses at the end of the year be damned – these charges add up quick when you’re running a bustling ecommerce store.
Since only a percentage of calls are going to result in a lead or sale, that means you could end up spending untold thousands of dollars just to talk to potential consumers – when that money could go toward advertising your business to drive even more calls. A virtual number allows you to pick a plan that best meets your needs, to save the most money possible, and scale with your business as it grows to save even more money.
Keeps online and offline business and personal matters separate
When first starting out, entrepreneurs will often direct customers to call their personal number. This is a big no-no! You don’t want your customers calling to inquire about a fancy tableware set and getting a “Hey, this is Steve – you know what to do” when a call goes to voicemail.
At the same time, you don’t want an old friend or lost love calling your phone and getting a “You have reached StoneHaven Tableware – please leave a message at the tone,” when those personal calls go to voicemail. A virtual number for your ecommerce business keeps business and personal calls separate.
Toll free equals more sales calls and inquiries
There’s nothing worse than being an ecommerce consumer with a burning question about a product or service, wanting to call and talk to a live representative, and seeing a local number halfway across the country (or globe) as the point of contact.
This not only makes your business look cheap – and thus less reputable – it’s discouraging to anyone who doesn’t have an unlimited calling plan on their phone. Toll free is easy and inexpensive, making for more calls and more sales.
Adds call management features not available on regular phones
The majority of reputable virtual service providers offer value-added features on top of the virtual phone number itself, to help you better manage incoming calls. Features such as: virtual receptionist, call routing (IVR), individual extensions (for you and employees), customizable hold music, integration with CRM, voicemail to email, voicemail transcription, bulk number porting, and much more.
Some features come with basic services, others can be selected for additional fees as your needs grow. It all varies by the provider you choose, so it’s important to shop around to find one that meets your unique phone service needs.
You and your team can stay on the move
Setting up call routing in the office is a real pain with routers, wires, software and the like cluttering up your business space and hard drives. When you want to stay on the move, you want to answer calls and listen to voicemails easily and on whatever device you’re using at the time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person show, or a dozen-strong; a virtual phone system just works as everything’s done on the service provider’s end. Calls are answered, routed, etc., and when a call comes in that you or one of your staff needs to answer personally, it gets send straight to their device. You can listen to your voicemails via smartphone, email, or have them transcribed to text to deal with later.
No missed calls
Considering virtual calls are logged and even recorded (if you choose), there’s just no more room for excuses when an office routing system crashes, or you drop your phone and destroy it. This is one of the ultimate best benefits of adopting a virtual number – particularly for expanding ecommerce startups and busy small businesses with limited staff handling numerous calls.
A virtual phone number offers options that let the system hunt you down on different devices such as tablets, laptops, and PCs if you don’t pick up a customer call immediately. You can also add backup numbers such as your employees and partners to ensure calls never get missed again.
You rely on your customers to make purchases, and they need to be able to trust that you’re a legitimate business. Trust is earned by delivering what you say you will, and being available to support customers throughout the sales and after-sales process via all forms of communication, including phone. Quite simply, a virtual phone number helps to bridge the gap between you and customers in other states and provinces around the world.