Permit me a small backstory here. Like most people, I tend to be contacted most on my mobile where work matters are concerned. Now I work from home a lot more though, I’ve found that the reception here is, in short, appalling. I could change network, but my deal is an awesome one that makes that a pretty unappealing prospect. Similarly, I don’t want to give people my home number, and fitting a second line could prove expensive – a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.
Enter Twilio. For a while now I’ve been curious about this service, which interfaces telephony with the web. My mate Syd Lawrence has done some very clever stuff there, which in turn had me interested in what was possible from a marketing perspective. However what tipped me over the edge into using it was this post, explaining how you could use Twilio to dodge roaming costs when travelling. From that, I learned a few things. Firstly, you could buy a number for a tiny amount ($1 per month). Secondly, you could then do a LOT with that number. In some respects, Twilio is like a more powerful version of Google Voice – a service unavailable to anyone outside the US.
Twilio has solved my problem. How? By giving my business a flexible landline number (and a local London one too!) that my clients can call. How the number behaves it entirely up to me – and believe me, it can do some funky stuff if I so desire. In the simplest terms though, I can have the number forward on to either my home landline, or my mobile. Alternatively, I can just have it dial me on my computer, allowing me to use it in the same manner as a Skype phone number. As the above blog post demonstrates too, I can also use it to handle my being abroad, by having Twilio forward to a local SIM that I’ve bought in whatever country I am in. Similarly, whilst I am there I can use my laptop to call clients via the web and it won’t cost me the earth. Usefully, they also just see the same number calling them, so they always know it is me. It allows a reliability that my clients will appreciate (only one number to call, anytime, to get hold of me) and with that brings a touch more professionalism to my business.
So – how do you go about doing all this? Well, its pretty simple really: