SHOULD SMES KEEP THEIR LANDLINE TELEPHONES?
One of the UK’s leading accountancy firms, PwC, announced recently that it was getting rid of landline telephones on all office desks, with all staff being expected to use mobiles by the end of the summer. Is this an option for SMEs, however?
Basepoint Business Centres, one of the leading providers of virtual offices in the UK, take a keen interest in all matters which affect the small business community. Here we look at the extent to which the use of landline phones has declined – and why dispensing with your company landlines may not be a good idea.
The Decline in Traditional Telephone Calls
In 2010, UK businesses racked up almost 38 million minutes of calls. Last year, this figure had more than halved to 18.8 million minutes.
Eight years ago, there were more than 10 million business landline numbers. By the end of 2017, this number had fallen to 6.4 million. The number of residential phone line numbers has increased, but this is mainly because most homes need a landline for their broadband services. The amount of domestic phone calls has also fallen, by more than 50%.
This shows the extent to which we rely on our mobile phones and other internet-based forms of communication such as emails. PwC already supplies all its staff with mobiles, and it believes that dispensing with landlines is “a more efficient way of working.”
Although it can seem tempting to dispense with landlines, there are several excellent reasons for keeping them, especially for businesses which are smaller than the accountancy giant.
Permanence – A landline gives the suggestion of a physical presence in the community. Most numbers have a code which confirm the business’s locality which can be important to some customers. It also suggests you employ staff rather than being just a ‘one-man band’ which can put some prospective customers off.
In a recent experiment by one virtual phone service provider, two otherwise identical advertisements were placed online, differing only in the phone number to respond to – one advert had a mobile number, the other a landline. The latter received four times as many enquiries from prospective customers.
Technical Reasons – Landlines won’t be as badly affected by a poor signal. You won’t want to miss out on an important order because you can’t hear the other person clearly, or because you have been cut off.
Many of the newer alternatives to landlines, such as VoIP (voice-over internet protocol), also rely on a high-quality internet connection. This can be a problem in many parts of the UK, particularly rural areas.
Cost – You may feel that if you are facing expensive rental charges, this may not be a price worth paying if you don’t use your landlines much. The reality is that customers and business owners prefer to call landlines as they are usually less expensive than a mobile. In many cases, telecoms companies need a landline to supply their customers with an internet connection.
‘On Call’ – Although mobiles allow you to carry on your business wherever you are, the flipside is that you never get a chance to relax, unless you have one mobile for business calls and another for domestic calls.
With landlines, you can limit the times you are accessible to your clients, with out-of-hours calls from customers going to voicemail.
At Basepoint Business Centres, both our flexi offices and office space rentals come with digital phones and broadband services all configured for the needs of your business. This means you can have call forwarding, programmed diverts, conference calls and voicemail, and all at highly competitive rates. Our broadband services are delivered through a dedicated 100mb line, and all our centres benefit from full technical and IT support.
Virtual Offices from UK Provider Basepoint
We are also one of the leading suppliers of virtual offices in the UK, with three levels of service, which can help you keep your home and business life separate. With our mailbox service, we provide you with an address, mail collection and invites to all our networking events.
The next option up is our virtual office, which gives you a phone and fax number, a telephone answering service, and access to our network of business lounges.
Our top-of-the-range service is our virtual office plus package, which gives you all the above plus five days’ access to a centre of your choice.
Basepoint Business Centres have more than 30 affordable office centres across southern England and into Wales, including bases in Chichester, Swindon, Bournemouth, Ipswich and Havant. If you would like to know more about our range of services and products, including our virtual office packages, follow the link above to find our nearest centre. For more general enquiries, ring our head office on 0208 0689158.