As a designer, having a professional business phone service might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about business communication.
After all, channels like social media platforms and email marketing campaigns provide unparalleled opportunities to visually showcase your work. They’re invaluable tools to expand your audience and boost conversion rates.
However, being able to rely on a dedicated business phone service is a key step in taking your designing business to the next level in professional terms.
Why Professional Designers Need Business Phone Services
First off – business phone services are no longer anchored to desk phones in a dusty office corner. Thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, they have moved to the cloud.
VoIP business phone services are available on any internet-enabled device, including your smartphone, computer, and tablet. That means you don’t need a separate business phone. It also means that you can use your business number anywhere, whether you’re an interior designer with an office, or a graphic designer trotting the globe as a digital nomad.
The main advantage of a business phone number is that you don’t have to list your personal number for anything business-related. You don’t have to put it on your website, your e-commerce store, contracts, or subscriptions.
For one thing, this prevents the flood of unwanted calls resulting from a publicly available number. (Business phone services are incredibly efficient at blocking these.)
For another, keeping your business calls separate from your personal ones helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
If you’re thinking of achieving the same results by not listing any number at all – anywhere – you might be missing out. Customer trust is always crucial, even more so in online business. And listing a phone number is a simple, but very effective way to signal trustworthiness.
Modern business phone services aren’t limited to telephony, either. They come with an arsenal of productivity-boosting tools. From video calling, live chats, and messaging to integrating with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, VoIP services have invaluable features to offer.
With this being said, here are five of the best business phone services for professional designers – and everything you have to know about them.
1 – Nextiva
Heading the list is Nextiva, a VoIP provider that developed into a feature-rich unified communications platform. Voice and video calls, conferencing, and messaging are all part of the package, allowing you to centralize all your business communication.
Nexiva offers a wide array of additional functionalities. Advanced call management lets you determine where calls are routed, which ones are blocked, and how you handle calls on hold. Functionalities like voicemail-to-email and voicemail-to-text automatically transcribe messages left by callers, and send them to your inbox or messaging app.
Nextiva’s NextOS platform gives you detailed insights into customer behavior with AI-driven analytics. And the company’s recently launched team collaboration tool, Cospace, comes in handy if you’re collaborating with other designers and freelancers scattered across the globe. There is also a range of integrations with other platforms.
Finally, two of Nextiva’s biggest plus points are outstanding reliability and customer service. It boasts a ‘five-nines’ uptime, working without glitches 99.999% of the time. And even if you do run into problems, customer service is available 24/7 via phone, live chat, and email, with 95% of calls answered on the second ring.
At $19.95 per user and month, Nextiva’s pricing is at the lower end of the spectrum, and provides excellent value for money.
2 – Vonage
If your designing business is growing considerably, Vonage might be the right business phone service for you. Its Business Cloud provides an all-in-one communications platform and prides itself on flexibility and scalability.
Business Cloud includes voice and video calls, messaging, and some team collaboration tools, as well as advanced features like call transcription.
Vonage earns brownie points with the broad range of integrations that it offers. Its business phone service can easily be connected with HubSpot, Zoho CRM, Office 365, G Suite, and many others.
A slight downside of Vonage is its pricing. The basic Mobile plan starts at $19.99 per month, but many features are limited to the Premium ($29.99) or Advanced ($39.99) tiers. In addition, some features and integrations are billed separately, which can quickly ramp up monthly bills.
3 – 8×8
If your designing business is based outside the US, or frequently operates internationally, 8×8 might be the right choice for you. This provider offers toll-free numbers in 110 countries worldwide, and local ones in 75 of them.
8×8’s plans all include voice and video calling, videoconferencing, screen sharing, and messaging. The platform’s additional features include headache-saving social media integrations and omnichannel routing.
In terms of integrations, 8×8 connects natively with platforms like Salesforce or Zendesk.
Pricing-wise, 8×8’s Express plan is the cheapest option on this list, at $12 per month. However, it’s limited to one number and bare-bones features. If you want more numbers or features, you’ll need the X2 ($25 per user and month) or X4 plan ($45).
4 – Ooma
As seasoned designers know, business revenue can fluctuate considerably.
If you’re working on a tight budget, or need financial flexibility, Ooma Office could be the right solution for you. This provider prides itself on flexibility, and offers solid VoIP business phone services in the low-price range – and without a binding contract.
Ooma Office includes voice calling, messaging, online faxing, and some additional functionalities like call recording and advanced call blocking. Another plus: If you already have a number that you would like to use for your business, Ooma can port it.
Ooma’s pricing starts at $19.95 per user and month, which already includes a solid set of features. The platform’s full capabilities unlock with the Pro tier, which starts at $24.95.
5 – OnSIP
Finally, OnSIP makes the list as a reliable, low-cost VoIP solution for designers.
It offers voice and video calling, as well as messaging, and integrates natively with HubSpot, Zendesk, Slack, among others.
One of this provider’s biggest advantages is its sayso click-to-call service. This lets you integrate a button on your website which customers can click to voice and video call you. What’s more, this service is available for free as a standalone.
OnSIP’s paid subscription plans start at $18.95 per user and month. If you want more flexibility, consider the pay-as-you-go Basic plan. It has a more expensive $49.95 base fee, but beyond that only bills external calls.