Recently, we talked on the blog about using Skype to call traditional phones.
The typical follow-up question I get to that topic is something like “ok, so I call my client on her landline or cell from Skype and she doesn’t answer. How is she supposed to return my call, if I’m on Skype and she’s on a phone?”
Good question, and there’s a simple answer: Skype numbers (also called Skype Online Numbers).
A Skype number is a number people can call from mobiles and landlines, and you pick up on Skype. When someone calls your Skype number, your Skype rings just as it does when you receive a Skype-to-Skype call. The caller’s phone number is identified on your screen, and you just click to start talking.
Here are a few handy benefits to Skype numbers:
- You can select any Area Code and City Code for your Skype number, regardless of where you live. So, you may be based in London, but your number can have a California area code. This allows business colleagues to dial a number local to them, and reach you anywhere in the world. Once you select an area code, you choose from a list of available numbers. That way you can have a number combination that is right for you and your business.
- Voicemail comes with your Skype number, so people can leave you a message if you’re offline or don’t pick up.
- Call Forwarding is also available with Skype numbers. You can set up your Skype number to forward immediately, or if a call goes unanswered for a certain amount of time. Some people use Call Forwarding as a way to avoid sharing their cell numbers while still being able to pick up calls on their cell phones.
- Multiple numbers can be purchased on any Skype account. You can associate up to ten numbers on your one account, so you can give different people different numbers (and those numbers can all have different area codes or city codes if you want).
A Skype number costs $18 for three months or $60 for one year, and will automatically renew unless you opt out of that process. You get discounts if you currently have a Skype Subscription or Skype Premium. In those cases, the three-month option costs $12, and the year price is $30.
In addition to purchasing Skype numbers through individual accounts, you can also buy them through your Skype Manager (they’re called Online Numbers there), and allocate the numbers to your team. In that case, you own those numbers, so you can reassign them as employees come and go.
One final point: Skype numbers are not available in all countries, and the list of available countries differs slightly between those purchasing the numbers individually versus purchasing through Skype Manager. So check those lists first before you start the purchasing process.
Do you use Skype numbers in your business? How have they benefited you?