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How to share a business phone number with your team

How to share a business phone number with your team

Have you ever wanted to give a colleague access to your phone so they could respond to calls or messages on your behalf? Or set up a phone number that rings multiple people on the team?

Whether it’s for sales, customer service, or internal operations, the ability to have multiple people behind a phone number leads to shorter response times and less time spent on getting caught up with your team. You can collaborate on communications, delegate tasks, and stay up to date on projects more easily.

What is a shared phone number? 

A shared phone number is like a shared email inbox, but for a phone. It allows multiple people to call and text from a single phone number. 

A shared number ensures all inbound calls are managed appropriately and every lead receives a follow-up. That way, no potential customers slip through the cracks or have a poor experience. 

Common ways to use shared phone numbers

A shared phone number can be useful for you and your team in many ways:

  • Use for customer support or inbound sales calls
  • Use as the main phone number for the company (on company registration documents, government services, etc., and shared among the founding team)
  • Provide a central line for priority/VIP customer support
  • Invite your assistant to your phone number to help respond to calls and messages
  • Set up a shared phone number for your office buzzer, delivery services, etc.
  • Utilize mobile apps and laptops instead of traditional desk phones
  • Enable cross-team collaboration to help customers get faster assistance
  • Establish a line for service in another language or international calls
  • Equip on-call teams and customer service representatives who work from home

6 benefits teams take advantage of with shared business phone numbers

In case you need to convince your colleagues that a shared number is a no brainer, here are a few key benefits you can pass along.

1. Be more responsive via a team phone number

Shared phone numbers can help ensure no incoming calls or messages slip through the cracks and that your team responds before your customers look elsewhere. By assigning the ring order as all at once, random or custom, you can ensure your team never misses an important call.

If there’s someone at your organization your customers trust as their point of contact, you can work together behind the scenes to create a seamless customer experience. 

Internal thread OpenPhone

Using internal threads in OpenPhone you can seamlessly loop in teammates to incoming messages and collaborate on responses. 

For example, Guaranteed Rate does this with OpenPhone by having team members work behind the scenes on the Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending’s line. That way, customers feel like they’re working with someone they trust, but the point of contact can delegate their work.

2. Split responsibility for incoming calls

Share the load by setting work schedules in OpenPhone so that your teammates are available during specific shifts.

Direct lines can also temporarily serve as shared numbers when someone on your team needs to take time off. Simply share access, and your teammates can easily cover their business calls and texts.

3. Get clear oversight into your team’s communication

Looking to continually provide a better customer experience? Having more visibility into how your team interacts with customers can unlock coaching opportunities that can even shorten your sales cycle. 

Analytics OpenPhone

For example, Ryna uses OpenPhone to improve its sales processes by reviewing analytics to see where leads fall off. 

4. Create group phone numbers

As your team scales, you may need group numbers for different departments and teams.

Phone menu OpenPhone

With OpenPhone, you can easily have a main number containing a phone menu with options that automatically route calls to specific groups.

5. Keep your personal and professional numbers separate

Business or personal caller ID OpenPhone

With a shared business phone number, you won’t have to guess if a phone call is for a personal or a business reason. You’ll know exactly which number is receiving an incoming call and can answer accordingly. Plus, your personal cell phone number stays private, helping you achieve a better work-life balance. 

6. Create a better customer experience with contact notes

Just like business owners don’t like clients calling their personal numbers, clients dislike repeating themselves. OpenPhone allows you to add internal notes to your contacts so you never miss a detail. For example, if a client prefers morning meetings, your whole team can be in the loop and schedule accordingly. 

3 ways you should avoid sharing access to a phone number with a colleague

Not all solutions to sharing a phone number with your team are built equally. These more outdated solutions can snowball into all sorts of issues:

  1. Forward incoming calls to a colleague: If you’re using your phone number for business and personal, they’ll get both your personal and work calls. Text messages don’t get forwarded.
  2. Buy a virtual phone number and forward calls from it to multiple numbers: That means team members can’t call out of the original phone number. There’s no track record of outbound calls. And as before, texts aren’t forwarded.
  3. Set up a business phone system with an auto-attendant (IVR) and extensions: It could work for a larger team or a company with different departments. For a small team, though, it’s overkill. Plus, how do you text an extension?

Luckily, there’s a better way to share a phone number with a colleague or a team. 

How to set up a shared phone number with your small business team

OpenPhone is one of the best ways to share a phone number with your team members, giving you a shared calling and an SMS inbox. Here’s how you can get a shared phone number on OpenPhone:

  1. Create an account with OpenPhone.
  1. During sign up, select your city or area code in the US or Canada to pick your local phone number. You can also get a 1-800 toll-free phone number.
Local numbers OpenPhone
You can pick a local number in virtually any city in the US and Canada, as well as a 1-800 toll-free number.
  1. Choose a plan that works best for your team. OpenPhone’s pricing is transparent, starting at $15 per user per month. The starter plan gives you access to unlimited calling and messaging to the US and Canada, shared phone numbers with up to 10 users, manual call recording, voicemail transcriptions, and more. 

The Business plan, starting at $23 per user per month, unlocks unlimited shared numbers, auto call recording, advanced call handling, and more.

OpenPhone pricing
  1. Invite the team member(s) you’d like to have access to your phone number via the Admin Dashboard. They’ll get an email with the link to the mobile and web apps.
  1. Customize your inbox and call settings. Once you add your team, you can label phone numbers, create a phone menu, set up business hours, set up voicemail with custom greetings, and more. 

How does calling and texting on a shared number work?

  1. Everyone gets calls: When you get a voice call, everyone with access to the phone number will have their mobile phones or computer ring as long as they don’t have Do Not Disturb on. You can set the ring order as all at once, random, or custom. The first person to pick up stops ringing for others. Your team can place concurrent calls so the number is never “busy.” If you’ve been enabling call forwarding to a teammate’s direct number any time you’re away, you can instead share your number so you still have visibility into any conversations that occurred once you return.
  2. Everyone gets messages and voicemails: When the shared number receives a message or voicemail, everyone sees it in their OpenPhone app. All messages, voicemails, and call histories are synced so you know if a conversation was opened.
  1. See who said what: Every outgoing message shows the team member who sent it so you can coach your team as needed. You can also see who made a call or accepted a call.
  1. See who’s typing: You can see who’s drafting a response as they are typing, so you never send multiple replies to a customer again (I’ve been there).
See a teammate typing in OpenPhone when working from a shared phone number
See who’s typing never send multiple replies to a customer again.
  1. Shared contacts: Your business address book is shared with everyone sharing the number. If someone adds the name or details of a customer, all team members will have that contact information on OpenPhone right away.

Get started with OpenPhone as your business’s phone system

OpenPhone desktop app

We built OpenPhone to be the virtual phone system for modern businesses. Here are some of the reasons OpenPhone benefits your business:

  • Use with iOS, Android, desktop, and browser-based apps
  • Manage your business contact lists and keep them separate from your personal connections
  • Integrate with Slack and Gmail to keep you up to date on voicemails with voice to text messages
  • Access unlimited calling and text messaging
  • Schedule texts, auto-replies, and other business texting features
  • Operate in the US and internationally
  • Experience crystal-clear audio quality
  • Set business hours and after-hours routing to an external number for emergencies

Get started with a free trial of OpenPhone.

FAQs

Does the recipient know there’s a team behind a phone number?

This question gets asked a lot. No, the recipient doesn’t know there’s a team behind a number. It looks like a regular conversation to them, as you contact them from OpenPhone’s business phone number app – whether they send a message or call.

Can you have more than one shared number with OpenPhone?

Yes, you can add multiple numbers on OpenPhone, such as a main line and separate department lines like sales and support. You get one free business phone number for each user, and additional VoIP numbers cost $5 per month. If you have existing numbers (landlines, traditional cell numbers, or virtual numbers), you can port them to OpenPhone for free.

Can multiple people share the same phone number?

Yes, you can have up to 10 team members sharing the same phone number on an OpenPhone Starter plan and unlimited team members sharing the same number on our Business plan.

After I invite a teammate, how do they access an OpenPhone shared number? 

Once you invite a teammate to a number, they’ll receive an email invitation from OpenPhone. They need to click “Accept Invitation,” and they’ll be guided through the onboarding process. They’ll then have access to the shared number you invited them to and be able to call and text from that number in the OpenPhone workspace. Make sure to select the appropriate workspace role for them:

– Owner (someone with full access to the organization)
– Admin (can invite other members + manages company billing)
– Member (manages their own account)

What is a group phone number?

A group phone number, also known as a shared phone number, is a single phone number that can be used by multiple team members. This feature allows all team members to make, receive, and manage calls and messages from the same number. It’s a great way to ensure that no calls or messages are missed, and it provides a unified front to customers and clients.

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