By the end of this year BT will have hiked their monthly line rental for the third time in eighteen months. Calling costs have also been creeping up over the past few years, even among the telephony providers we usually think of as cheap alternatives to the biggest brands. 

Taken as a whole, the price increases are significant and have hit businesses just as much as many households. For many it’ll be even more galling given that, in the age of phone line-free cable broadband, mobiles and VoIP, clunky landline phones seem increasingly out-dated.

Ditching the landline altogether is one option but that could prove to be more costly than paying the inflated prices for many SMEs. That’s because multiple studies have shown that having a landline phone number available, rather than a mobile, significantly increases the chance that consumers will contact you in the first place.

According to research by Orange, 43% only advertise a landline so there’s plenty of competition out there.

The more you think about it the more it makes sense: it makes the business seem grounded and suggests that you have a fully staffed office. Even unconsciously, a consumer may be more likely to make contact with a business with a landline than one without.

Which leaves SMEs, and those in charge of their IT, with a conundrum: how to cut costs and keep flexibility?

‘Pocket landline’, call forwarding by any other name, could be the solution. According to the same research above, 80% of businesses say they miss one to five calls a day by being out of the office when the phone rings.

For a fixed monthly fee that’s less than line rental, the service allows businesses to either take a new landline number or use an existing one and make it accessible to a number of company mobiles.

Some services even include monitoring software: storing numbers and recording the busiest times of the day so that businesses can ensure they have enough staff on hand to cope.

There’s a whole internet industry, or perhaps more of a mindset, built around making global services seem personal and local.

Think of this service as part of that, one that could get you a lot more business than starting your newsletters: ‘hello there you’