Smith.ai’s virtual receptionist service includes many great features, including live call transferring, instant call notifications, and calls answered by a friendly, live human.
One question we frequently get is, “How can I keep my existing phone number?” Maybe you already have business cards printed, your number on a truck, or all your long-term clients already have it saved in their phones — and that number goes directly to your cell phone. In these cases, changing your phone number might seem like an obstacle to signing up with a virtual receptionist service. But don’t worry, there is a solution.
“Number porting”, the process that allows this, allows people to switch cell phone carriers without changing their phone number. It is also very useful for creating the optimal live answering service for your business, and an increasingly-common practice for some of Smith.ai’s busy customers.
A live answering service for any number
Did you start your business with only a cell phone — or even use your personal phone for business calls as well? Many folks do. While that is an excellent way to stay in touch with your customers (hey, they’re all in your phone already, right?), it is easy to see how constant interruptions can keep you from getting things done. The same phone that rings for family and friends is also ringing for existing clients, new leads, and worst of all, spam and sales. Or if you separate your business and personal phones (like a few of our pros did before signing up with Smith.ai), now you have to carry two phones around.
What’s the problem? As your business grows, it will become increasingly harder to change your number. Clients have it, business partners have it, printed materials have it, and so on. Porting your existing number to Smith.ai is the best solution to this problem.
Number porting explained
Number porting is the process of transferring a phone number from one telephone provider to another. It is typically an easy process that only requires documentation that proves you own the number, followed by some coordination between the two telephone providers. We make it easy on our side: number porting is included with every Smith.ai paid plan for those that need it.
There are a bunch of reasons why number porting is different from call forwarding. Here are a few:
- Call forwarding is the use of an existing phone service to redirect to a second number. Number porting eliminates that first service and therefore...
- Number porting could save you money. When you forward a call, you are paying for the service of two telephone providers. With porting you only pay for one.
- Call forwarding is usually a temporary, immediate solution (such as being out of the office, going on vacation or remedying a broken phone), whereas number porting is a permanent solution.
- With number porting, call routing is completed by the telephone provider rather than the person using the phone number. Once initiated, it takes 2 – 4 weeks to port the number. If you ever change your mind, the process can be undone by porting the number back to the telephone provider of your choice.
For many pros, that amount of downtime is unacceptable. We’ve got you covered however. Using Smith.ai ingenuity, we’ll make sure your calls are routed to our agents from day one -with no extra effort on your part.
If you’d prefer to “re-route” calls on a case-by-case basis, try conditional call forwarding instead.
Your Cell Phone Answered by a Live Virtual Receptionist
What good is keeping your cell phone number if you are too busy to answer your phone? Your potential customers do not want to reach your voicemail, and forwarding your calls can become cumbersome after a while. When you port your number to Smith.ai, all callers will be sent to one of our live virtual receptionists even though they called your cell phone. We can even receive text messages (SMS) and instantaneously deliver those to the notification method of your choosing!
Number porting to Smith.ai is avaliable for any US-based cell phone number including, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. You won’t have to worry about remembering to forward your number or turn off your ringer while in meetings with your clients, or on the job.
About Those Personal Calls
At some point in time, your cell phone was probably used to answer calls from friends and family. You can still do this, even when you port your number to Smith.ai. Using our free whitelisting option, we can automatically send those calls through, or alternatively, forward those calls to a separate line of your choice. That way, your mom will never need to learn a new number, and you can still receive her calls.
Whitelisting is done automatically on our end, so once you let us know which numbers you’d like to still receive calls from, no additional work is needed on your part.
Cell Phones Are Not the Only Numbers We Can Port
Although personal cell phones are a popular example of numbers we can port, they are by no means the only ones. Smith.ai can help you keep a variety of numbers including:
Google Voice accounts
We’ll even port numbers from companies such as eVoice, CallRuby and Gabbyville.
Get the Process Started
If you are ready to add Smith.ai to your current number, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll email you the required paperwork. Be prepared by gathering:
The authorized user’s first and last name.
A list of the number(s) you want to port.
The corresponding physical service address (translation: the address where your bills are sent).
A scanned (or electronic) copy of the most recent phone bill (within the last 30 days).