There are a lot of things you need to take into consideration when starting up a new business and communication between you and your customers is vital. You also have to remember that as a small business you will constantly face learning new things, which means you don’t want to complicate your life by setting up your virtual phone system
Luckily, Grasshopper is incredibly simple and installation should take less than 30 minutes.
Your first step is to sign up on the Grasshopper website choosing between the four possible packages including Solo, Partner, Small Business and Individual. After that, you will be asked whether or not you wish to have a toll-free number or a local and then your area code.
You can also always keep your old number if you don’t want to change it. When it comes to the number-porting process, you should know that is will normally take around seven to ten business days as well as three to five days for the toll-free number.
As soon as you sign up, you will be sent an email that will include your username and PIN. You will be asked to create a password and, as soon as you’ve logged in, the system will take you through the setup showing you how to forward your calls to any cell phone or landline.
After you choose your plan and receive your phone number you’re able to record your greeting. This is the message that customers will first hear as they make contact with your business. You need to remember that it has to come off as professional as possible, so make it well-versed and inviting.
You can choose to record your message via phone, upload an audio file, record via your computer or make use of the voice studio.
There are individual extensions for your employees as well as departments. Whenever a person calls, they will be able to dial a specific extension in order to reach a particular individual.
As soon as you have chosen your number, create a new custom message as well as assign extensions, then you are ready to start making and receiving calls, faxes, and voicemails. Managing your calls and voicemails is simple and can be done online.
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that this is a virtual service, there is no added equipment or desk phones that you need to install. Instead, Grasshopper works with both your mobile or home phone. Whenever a customer calls, the system’s automated attendant will answer your call and then the call will be forwarded to the department or employee in question.
Employees have complete control as to how the calls are routed to them. This means you can choose to receive calls twenty-four hours a day, only during business hours or even just during the weekend.
The entire system is controlled online so each user will have access to the online portal. Here they can set the call-forwarding tree as well as designate the numbers where they want the numbers forwarded to and the order in which they will ring.
To make life even easier you have apps available for both iOS and Android devices where employees are able to receive calls from business lines, see their fax history, check voicemail messages as well as set up notifications for any missed calls and messages as well as change the call-forwarding options.
Grasshopper isn’t a traditional phone system and only focuses on small business, so if it outgrows this service you will have to look for a new provider which will offer both types of service, traditional and virtual.
There are some great features that will help improve communications which Grasshopper grants its users. For starters, check out the list of features that each Grasshopper plan will afford you:
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Read your voicemail
- Simultaneous call handling
- Custom greetings
- Business texting
- VoIP and WiFi calling
- Virtual fax
- Incoming call control
- Business phone number
- Call forwarding
- Call transfers
Call handling, which although is limited allows for clear voice clarity for incoming and outgoing calls. There is also seamless call forwarding and intelligent call screening which will allow you to see who is calling and gives you the option of answering or sending it straight through to voicemail.
You also have a conference call feature which is great for connecting as many as 10 people in one call. It should be noted, however, that participants are only able to join the conference call if they are called by the original caller.
Individual calls are great as you can put people on hold, route them through as many times as you like to other extensions as you wish or put them through to informational extensions. Here you can provide your customers with information like product descriptions, store directions, sales opportunities as well as your business operating hours.
The Phone System Management has a very simple interface and features tabs such as Messages and Calls where you can see all your call logs, messages as well as voicemails that are automatically converted to either .MP3 or .WAV. Additionally, there is the option to have these voicemails transcribed into a readable format which will cost you an extra $10.
The Reports section is the location that you will find various usage reports, Settings will give you more options including the ability to change hold music and alter any recorded messages. The Extensions tab can be managed either by an administrator or any particular employee that receives the right to do so.
There are added features that Grasshopper offers in order to make your company look like a Fortune 500 empire.
The first feature is available for free within your chosen package and is the Instant Response feature. This allows for first-time callers to receive a customized message when you miss their call. It can include anything such as a message letting them know you will be in contact with them at the next available opportunity.
Business text messaging is another extra feature, but this one comes at an additional payment of $10 per month, however, if you choose to opt for the most expensive plan offered by Grasshopper you will not be charged for it. This feature will allow you to separate business and personal messages, which is handy as you don’t want to accidentally reply to a customer sounding completely unprofessional.
The third available extra feature, Voice Studio, also comes at an added cost which will set you back $75 each time you request the service. You can have any custom greeting both read and record your message professionally.
If you’re just starting out your business and need this phone system to get your brand on point and coming across as professional as possible, then you’re in luck because Grasshopper offers you the option of doing so for a very affordable price.
Scaling up will be a breeze as you have plans with one number and three extensions all the way up to having five numbers available and unlimited extensions. As you know, Grasshopper tends to smaller and startup businesses, so as you expand to even a mid-sized business they will have your communication needs met with the ability to keep all employees connected and reachable by customers.
On the other hand, if your company is growing beyond those numbers and you’re finding that you’re needing to branch out beyond this capacity, then you should think about looking for a new VoIP service provider that can take care of your expanding company.
A well-known positive element of the Grasshopper service is that prices come cheap. There are four available plans for their customers including Solo, Partner, Small Business and Individual.
The Solo package will afford you one number and three extensions, setting you back $26 per month if you choose to get billed annually. If you wish to pay on a monthly basis it will cost you $29. As they say on their website this is perfect for the entrepreneur with a side gig.
The second package and most popular is called Partner which will provide you with three numbers as well as six extensions. If you choose to get billed annually, the Partner package will cost you $44 per month, but if you wish to go for the monthly billing system, you will have to fork out $49 per month. This is great for the growing business which has 1-3 employees.
The Small Business option is priced at $80 per month if you wish to get paid annually but grows to $89 if you just want to pay on a monthly basis. As it says on the Grasshopper site this plan is perfect for those in need of more flexibility in call routing options.
The newest addition is the Individual plan which will allow you to stay organized, view all of your texts, calls, and emails in the one place. You get one number as well as email text and phone integration.
Each of the plans comes with unlimited free minutes, a free seven-day trial and do not require your credit card details meaning there is no cancellation necessary. There is also a thirty-day money back guarantee if you change your mind.
Thankfully Grasshopper offers its customers 24-hour assistance. You can contact live support just by calling their toll-free number, but even the queries sent via fax, email or even snail mail will be treated with the same consideration.
Whenever you contact support, your call will be immediately answered and steps will be patiently taken to fix any problems you might have. You will never feel as though you are being rushed and by the end of each conversation you should have a good understanding of how the Grasshopper system works.
There is a chat service on the Grasshopper website, but you can contact customer service through your account also. The website is complete with a detailed knowledge base, but also has a blog with constantly updated content as well as a resource hub for entrepreneurs.
Probably the most unique support feature and the most advanced is the Grasshopper Academy. This is a free tool for present and future business owners who wish to learn more about how to start up, run as well as advertise their business and help it grow. The Grasshopper Academy is hosted by experts from different industries across the field who offer advice and support via webinars and is completely free.
Do you have a dream of expanding your small business or startup and transforming it to become a leader in the industry? If so, communication with your customers is key. Grasshopper is laser-focused on making your small company appear larger than life. One of the best things about this service is that you can achieve a sophisticated and professional phone system without having the associated high cost.
You have all the basic features on hand that will help your business run smoothly, and you even have the possibility to scale from a small sized business to a medium sized one. Also, there are added features, some which come at an extra cost that will make your life and the life of your employees much easier.
There is no point to using this service if you already have a reasonably large company to start with as Grasshopper will not be able to work with that capacity.
With all the features customers might expect of a professional business, Grasshopper will grant you automated responses, clear communication lines as well as call forwarding and messaging services.
If you have a handful of staff that can work remotely, but also need to stay connected Grasshopper is one of the best options out there. With a thirty-day money back guarantee and a no-commitment trial, there really is no reason as to why you shouldn’t take Grasshopper for a test run.