You could be selling the best products in the world, and customers wouldn’t want to come back to you if they had a bad experience with your service.
If you don’t believe me, try looking up customer service for huge companies. You’ll find tons of people canceling services or boycotting businesses because of a single bad experience.
That means good customer service will seriously provide you a leg up on your competition. While emails and chats are nice, many customers still prefer calling and getting help on the phone.
One of my favorite ways to provide customers the ability to call us is by using Grasshopper. In this post, I’m going to give you a Grasshopper review, and explain why I like it and why I think it’s the best virtual phone system for small businesses.
We’re currently using it on all of our e-commerce stores where we’re doing millions of dollars in sales every year. It’s easy to get started with their free trial.
Don’t want to read? Click the thumbnail below to watch my review instead.
What is Grasshopper and Why is It a Great Virtual Phone System for Small Businesses?
Before I get in to the review, I’m going to spend a little time explaining to you what exactly Grasshopper is. You’ll understand my commentary a lot more once you know how it applies.
For starters, Grasshopper is the only tool we use to handle phone calls for our high-ticket dropshipping sites (the types of e-commerce stores we run). Grasshopper lets you pick a toll-free or local number to use so your customers can call you without having your personal phone number.
I’ll explain the benefits and differences of local and toll-free phone numbers later.
Anyway, once you buy a phone number, you can list that number on your website. When a customer calls that number, it’s forwarded over to another phone, such as your personal cell phone or an employee’s phone.
Based on the number the customer called, you or your employee will be able to look at your phone and see what store the call is from. From there on, it’s business as usual, where you answer your customer’s inquiries.
What Happens When You Sign Up?
I want to dive into how Grasshopper works once you sign up for it. I’ll walk you through what happens after you get started.
There are three main steps you’ll have to follow and one additional optional service:
- Choose your number
- Set your extensions
- Text your customers (optional)
- Record a voicemail greetin
Choosing your number.
Once you sign up, the very first thing you’ll do is choose the number that your customers will be calling. You can either choose a toll-free number or a local number.
We’ve used both options previously. I’ll tell you what the benefits of either a local or toll-free number are, based on our own personal findings.
Think about how you respond when a number calls you. If it’s a number from another state or from a city you’ve never heard of, you might be less likely to pick up.
But when it’s a number from your city, you’ll think to yourself that it’s a small business nearby or someone you know. You’re much more likely to answer the phone.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to be better than a toll-free 800 number. There are plenty of reasons to go with a toll-free number, too.
An 800 number gives you more credibility. You’ll seem like you’re running an established business.
I should mention that your 800 number doesn’t have to specifically start with 8-0-0, either. You can use other combinations that start with an 8, like 844.
Whether you should choose a local number or an 800 number is really up to you. I can say that we tend to use 800 numbers for our larger stores because I’ve noticed that using local numbers doesn’t have an impact on the number of sales.
Now what if you’re looking to reduce the costs of running your business wherever possible?
We’ve used Google Voice in the past, which gives you a free local number. That’s an option if you’re trying not to spend any money right now.
But Grasshopper really isn’t that expensive.
Currently, Grasshopper is about $24 per month for the basic service, although you can get a free trial here. We use Grasshopper on all our big sites.
Setting up your extensions.
Once you’ve got your number, you set up your call extensions.
In call centers, they describe this as a phone tree, because the structure is literally like a tree. The trunk, or main part, is the number you’ve picked.
When your customer calls, they get brought into a welcome recording that offers them options. For example, the recording will say something like, “Press this number for questions regarding an existing order.”
Each type of inquiry will have its own number and extension from this point, like branches coming off a tree.
These extensions may not seem crucial if your business is small, but trust me when I say they’re so useful.
You can use the extensions to decide what kind of calls you’re going to take, or assign employees to different extensions. Based on which extension the call comes in, you’ll have an idea of what the customer wants before you even answer.
You can choose right from your phone which extensions you want to be able to come in on your phone. You can toggle numbers associated with your phone off, and even assign them to employees. That way, if you can’t get to the phone for a while, you can shut the calls off and defer them to someone else for the time being.
Extensions are also important because when you hire your first virtual assistants, you can assign specific extensions for them to handle while they familiarize themselves with your stores. As they get more experienced, you can add new numbers to their skillset.
Like I mentioned before, though, you’ll need to record your greetings so your customers know what options to pick. You can write your own script and read it yourself, or you could hire someone to read it for you. (We’ve used Fiverr in the past to hire people for purposes like this.)
If you’re comfortable with doing it, you can record your own voice reading what the customers will hear right away when they call you. Then you can read off the extensions that your customer can select.
Next, you set up the hold music that customers will hear while they wait. It can be nothing, although Grasshopper also has different sounds you can choose, too.
Now, this isn’t really a “step” for setting up Grasshopper, per se, because it’s not required. It’s entirely optional.
Recently, Grasshopper rolled out texting. As you might have guessed, it allows you to use your phone to communicate with customers by text as opposed to on a call.
Overall, customers are pretty used to calling or live chatting with support teams, but texting is a whole new thing we’re trying. I think it will be pretty big in the future.
People are on their phones constantly, and most don’t like having to call customer service. Think about all the times you’ve dreaded having to call a business for assistance.
With Grasshopper, you can just text people from your business number, which is more convenient for your customer. Instead of having to call you, they can respond to you at their leisure.
Plus, some people just prefer texting.
Recording your voicemail greeting.
You’re not always going to be able to answer your phone. Whether it’s because you’re away from the phone, you’re getting slammed with other calls, or it’s after hours, you’ll need a voicemail that customers reach after waiting too long.
Fortunately, with Grasshopper, you can record a voicemail greeting. This is actually really important.
We use a very specific greeting for our voicemail. It says something like, “Hi, sorry our phone lines are busy (or it’s after hours). If you want to get an answer quicker, just email us at this email address.”
This has a few benefits. The first one is that it prevents your phone lines from blowing up. The second benefit is that it still allows the customer to get through to you, and you can handle their email once you see it.
A good voicemail recording can save you time and frustration.
In the past, without this kind of voicemail message, we’d get customers calling us over and over again, trying to get through. Without knowing why we weren’t answering, they would just keep trying. (This is why it’s important to have set business hours that your customers can find!)
Of course, you can set it so that after-hours calls can still go to you. It’s really up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
That’s my review. If you were on the fence about Grasshopper, I hope it helped you make your decision.
Honestly, we’ve only tried a few different virtual forwarding services, but thus far, Grasshopper is our favorite. We feel very strongly about it.
Not only are their services amazing, but their customer support has always been helpful, too. Once, someone hacked our number and was spoofing spam calls with it, so we got thousands of calls.
Grasshopper gave us a free month and new number to make up for it, even if it wasn’t their fault.
Furthermore, with the Grasshopper free trial here, you’re really not losing anything by giving them a try.
Speaking of free things, be sure to sign up for our Online Assets Playbook. It’s free, and you can use it to help you make decisions about your own online businesses.
If you’re looking for something that gets even deeper into dropshipping, take a look at our Instant eCommerce Assets program.