Running a business is rarely an easy feat, and it can be made harder by seemingly small challenges, such as how to set up office phone extensions so they work correctly.
Make no mistake, every minute your team spends trying to connect to the right extension, the more likely it is they’ll lose a sale.
With the right knowledge, it can take as little as 30 minutes to set up your business phone system and list of extensions, meaning you can get down to business in no time.
This step-by-step guide covers the basics you need to know to get set up quickly and seamlessly.
How to Set Up Office Phone Extensions in 6 Easy Steps
Step 1: Select a Phone System That Allows Extensions
The first step is to choose the phone system that will provide the level of flexibility, scalability, reliability, and affordability that your small business needs.
Without doing your research or consulting with a business communications specialist, you might get saddled with something that is unnecessarily expensive, drops calls, or has limited functionality as a desk phone.
Multi-line virtual phone systems can be very reliable and affordable, and they cater to extensions and online phone management. They are also much cheaper and easier to deploy because there is no dedicated hardware to install – all that’s needed is an internet connection.
Step 2: Access Your Phone System’s Admin Dashboard
If you go for a virtual phone system, it will most likely include an administrator dashboard, where you can access its features (such as call recording and vanity numbers) and configure the system. A business telecoms expert can help you navigate this dashboard and make sure everything is set up correctly.
Modern phone systems bring the added benefit of allowing your receptionist to monitor team member availability, which can be especially useful for remote teams.
Customers will have a better experience if they are transferred to someone who actually answers or responds by text message, rather than be put through to a voicemail or an endlessly ringing phone line.
Step 3: Setup Your Business Number and Record Your Main Menu
Before you can have extensions, you need a place where callers will first arrive. With virtual phone systems, signing up for a customized business phone number is straightforward.
The next step is to record the main menu of options that sends customers where they need to go.
Step 4: How to Set Up Office Phone Extensions and Adding Extensions
Now you can begin adding extensions that connect customers to toll-free numbers, specific employees, or departments.
You can allow customers to call specific extension numbers or search for the person or department they are looking for by name.
Try to keep your extension numbers organized and logical, perhaps with a simple numbering system (e.g., 100, 101, 102, etc.) that makes sense to your staff and customers.
Something else you’ll need to set up is business hours. If your phone system’s extensions are linked to your employee’s cell phones, they don’t want it ringing at 3 am.
Step 5: Design the Call Flow for a Smooth Customer Experience
You should take care to create smooth call flows that don’t frustrate customers. Ask yourself:
- Does your office phone system cater to all types of customer requests that will come in?
- Does it minimize the number of call transfers?
- Will it allow us to close a sale in one call?
Pay close attention to setting staff business hours and holidays, especially for those in different time zones and regions. If a customer tries to contact a person outside of business hours, they can be redirected with a polite message to another extension or a voicemail inbox.
Step 6: Start Taking and Transferring Calls
All that’s left is to make sure that your staff knows how to use the phone system to take calls, check caller ID, access their voicemail, and redirect customers to other extensions.
Most virtual phone systems these days come with apps, making it easy for staff to access and use them from their own devices.
Make sure all your team members have the app installed, know how to use it, and have it set up to properly receive incoming calls.
Simplifying How to Set Up Office Phone Extensions
With a little tech-savvy, anyone can set up a phone system nowadays. However, it is still possible to make costly mistakes, and many business owners and managers also find their time is better spent on things other than searching “how to setup phone extensions” on Google.
They often find that working with a telecom consultant is the way to go, and it can make sure businesses get the most bang for their buck.
Find out how we save you money on your phone contract and make getting started easier.