This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
To start using the Grasshopper phone service, you only need to select a plan and a phone number. Once these are ready, download the app and create a unique greeting. Finally, add your required extensions and start calling from your virtual phone system. Learn how to use the Grasshopper phone system in our step-by-step guide, including tips for getting the most out of your new voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) calling platform.
1. Select Your Plan & Choose a Phone Number
Decide if you want to keep your current phone number or choose a new one before signing up for Grasshopper phone service. Grasshopper provides a free porting service, so you can keep your existing business phone number. Alternatively, select a new, free local, vanity, or 800 number.
Next, go to the Grasshopper pricing page to select your subscription plan. Unlike other small business VoIP services, you won’t have to pay more for features like virtual fax or call reporting, nor will you pay a per-user fee required by companies, such as RingCentral and 8×8.
Instead, all three Grasshopper service packages have the same features, and you pay a flat monthly fee, regardless of how many people use your phone service. The plans differ in the number of phone numbers and extensions. Subscription prices range from $31 to $89 per month. Packages have one to five phone numbers and three to an unlimited number of extensions.
You can choose from the following subscriptions:
- Solo Plan: $31 per month for one phone number and three extensions
- Partner Plan: $51 per month for three phone numbers and six extensions
- Small Business Plan: $89 per month for five phone numbers and unlimited extensions
Grasshopper offers monthly or annual billing. Paying yearly saves you over 10%. Once you pick a plan, click “Buy Now.” From there, choose from several business phone number options. Tap the button to get a toll-free or local phone number or select “Use Your Current Number.”
If you decide to port your number, enter your existing number, and after checking out, Grasshopper sends an email starting the porting process. You receive a temporary telephone number to use while your request is processed. Randomly generated or toll-free vanity or local numbers are also available.
After choosing a number, the “Order Summary” page pops up. It shows your subscription plan, and you can pick your billing cycle (annual or monthly). This is where you’ll enter your payment information and click “Create My Account.” Once you’ve subscribed, Grasshopper provides an on-screen guide to walk you through the setup process.
2. Download the App
Grasshopper’s softphone apps let you use your preferred devices to make or receive calls. Ultimately, Grasshopper routes calls through your Wi-Fi, internet connection, or cellular service. The mobile and desktop apps ensure your business number comes up on the recipient’s caller identification (ID) and keep personal and professional communications separate.
You need to download a softphone application to make phone calls with your business number on your cell phone, tablet, or computer. Grasshopper provides desktop apps for Mac or Windows computers on its website. Head to Google Play or Apple App Store to download iOS and Android applications.
Once downloaded, enter your Grasshopper username (or email address used to sign up) and password. Android or iOS apps also require you to enter your mobile phone number to register your cell phone for making outbound calls. At this point, Grasshopper will ask if you want app notifications. Say “yes” to receive alerts about missed calls, texts, and voicemails.
Lastly, pick an extension for your device. This only shows up in your call logs, so people on the other line won’t know if you’re on your cell phone or computer.
Grasshopper’s mobile and desktop apps allow you to:
- Send individual and group short message service (SMS) and multimedia messaging (MMS) texts
- Check your call history, voicemail messages, and voicemail transcriptions
- Receive notifications for missed calls and adjust your call forwarding settings
- Call your business account extensions or third parties from your device
3. Select or Create a Unique Greeting
Grasshopper phone service plans include a virtual receptionist called an auto-attendant. It comes preconfigured with a general greeting that says, “Thank you for calling. To speak to a representative, please press zero.”
Although this standard message gets the job done, a personalized greeting can deliver a better first impression. Before starting, create a script for your message. Next, log into your Grasshopper portal, click “Settings,” then “Greetings.” Here you can pick “Change Greeting” and select a recording method.
Choose from three recording options through Grasshopper, including the following:
- Upload an MP3 audio file: Keep the recording under two minutes and use a file name with 24 or fewer characters.
- Use your cell phone or computer: Record a greeting on your mobile or desktop device to upload to Grasshopper.
- Order a Voice Studio recording: Choose a Grasshopper Voice Studio artist to record your greeting for $75 per order.
4. Add Required Extensions
Extensions direct incoming calls to a specific person or department. Many businesses use them for sales, billing, and customer service divisions. Grasshopper phone service plans offer three to unlimited extensions, depending on your subscription.
Use Grasshopper’s online portal to add an extension. Click “Add Extension” by “Employee Extensions” or “Department Extensions.” The new extension now shows up at the bottom of your list. Next, edit the extension by clicking “Edit.”
In the editing section, you can take the following actions:
- Enter an email address for receiving voicemail transcriptions
- Change the extension’s number, description, name, users, or phone personal identification number (PIN)
- Add or change the call forwarding phone numbers for the extension
- View and customize your extension greetings and voicemail
5. Start Making Calls
After signing up, you can immediately start making and receiving voice calls and text messages. It takes a bit longer to activate a ported number, but you can still communicate with customers and co-workers using a temporary one provided by Grasshopper. Click on the mobile or desktop app to make a call. You will see a keypad called a dialer and can access your text messages and voicemail box.
Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the Grasshopper phone system, settings, and apps. Your virtual phone number provider offers online guides to teach you how to use the Grasshopper phone system by customizing your settings.
In addition, your phone system lets you:
- Enable incoming faxes for your account, which comes free with all Grasshopper subscriptions
- Route inbound calls to Ruby Live Receptionist, a live answering service available as an add-on through Grasshopper
- Create custom greetings for your main line, voicemail boxes, and extensions
- Upload business contacts from a file or a program like Salesforce or HubSpot
- Use the softphone applications to sync business contacts between your mobile and desktop devices
Tips for Making the Most Out of Grasshopper Features
Grasshopper has a less robust feature set compared to providers like RingCentral and Nextiva. However, it provides essential calling tools like voicemail as well as an auto-attendant and call reports. This makes it a great option for small teams who don’t want to pay for complicated functionality they don’t need.
Use these tips to ensure callers and co-workers have an excellent experience. You can also check out our comprehensive Grasshopper review to learn about more features.
1. Make Sure All Team Members Are Invited
Unlike other business phone systems, Grasshopper doesn’t charge per-user fees when adding employees to your account. Users with admin access can go to the web portal and select the Users tab under Settings. Tap “Add New User,” enter your team member’s information, and click “Add User.”
Next, type your account password and click confirm. After this, Grasshopper sends an email invitation to your new user. The recipient is prompted to set up a password upon receiving the email. However, your employee won’t have access to a phone number or extension until you configure extension permissions.
This is also a good time to give your team helpful information about Grasshopper’s phone service, such as instructions for recording a voicemail greeting. The platform provides 24/7 customer service and has a knowledge base, so your team likely won’t need extensive training.
However, as your business grows, you may want customer relationship management (CRM) integrations with tools like HubSpot or Salesforce. A voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system like RingCentral or Nextiva provides more integrations than Grasshopper, and you may also want to consider a VoIP training course for administrators or employees.
2. Create Extensions & a Directory
Extensions and an employee directory are great ways to make your business appear larger and get callers to the person best equipped to handle their call. Grasshopper service plans come with three to unlimited extensions and route calls to different individuals or departments.
You can edit and add extensions in your web portal. Choose from Grasshopper’s department extensions (zero to six) and employee extensions (700 to 799). Once extensions are set up, enable Call Announce, which tells you the extension name before answering.
Create custom settings for each extension by:
- Setting up vacation schedules and greetings
- Choosing how incoming calls are displayed
- Configuring extension names, time zones, and user access
- Developing call forwarding rules
Grasshopper provides the default extension number 8 for the employee directory. Edit it in your portal by adding your employees’ first and last names by their assigned extension. The directory is optional. If you don’t want to use it, just leave off the prompt for this extension on your auto-attendant.
3. Configure Call Forwarding
Extensions go to one or multiple phone numbers with different call forwarding rules. For instance, as a solopreneur, you may want calls forwarded to your cell phone and desktop. You may need several employees to answer a department extension. In your online portal, click on the extension you want to edit under the Extensions tab and tap “Add a Forwarding Number.”
Grasshopper gives three options for ringing call forwarding numbers:
- In order: Grasshopper rings your forwarding numbers one at a time, in the order listed.
- Simultaneously: Grasshopper rings all numbers at the same time.
- Indefinitely: Grasshopper rings the listed number until someone picks up.
4. Set Business & Vacation Hours
If your business doesn’t answer calls 24/7, then a custom schedule is a great way to inform your callers. You can set a plan for your entire account or one for each extension. Your schedule might differ day to day, or certain employees may only be available during certain days or times.
Once configured, incoming callers will follow different rules after business hours than when your business is open. In addition, you can add vacation schedules for extensions. During this time, Grasshopper plays your away greeting.
5. Customize Your Greetings
You may have recorded the main greeting during your setup process. However, you can create messages for after-hours calls, department or individual extensions, and voicemail boxes. Different greetings improve the caller’s experience, as they’ll know if they reached the correct person right away and are less likely to hang up.
Grasshopper’s phone service provides several options for personalizing your greetings, including:
- Main away greeting: Let callers know your office is closed by recording an after-hours message. They will also have an option to leave a voicemail.
- Call forwarding greeting: Improve call transfers and reduce hang-ups by enabling the call forwarding greeting. Once you initiate a transfer, the auto-attendant announces, “Please hold while we connect your call to Extension 1.”
- Extension greetings: Each department or employee extension can have different greetings, or you can assign the main message to the extension.
- Extension voicemail greeting: Ensure departments and individuals leave the correct details by personalizing the voicemail message for each extension.
- Extension away greeting: This message is similar to your main away greeting. It plays automatically according to your business hours and vacation schedules.
6. Use Grasshopper With Your Landline
Small businesses and homes may keep a landline for power and internet outages. If this is your situation, you will get more out of your Grasshopper phone service by enabling your landline for Grasshopper calling. All Grasshopper extensions can forward incoming calls to your traditional line. Simply add the number when editing your extension.
However, making outbound calls from a landline requires a few additional steps. First, contact the Grasshopper customer care team. Say that you need to enable outbound dialing, referred to as the Calling Card feature. Give the extensions you want to be activated and provide your personal identification number (PIN).
Grasshopper then provides a toll-free number that walks you through an automated session to register each landline phone. You’ll need to know your Grasshopper phone number, extension number, and extension PIN. Once complete, make calls from your landline.
7. Download Call Reports
The best business phone systems provide call logs and reports. These help you understand how employees and customers use your phone lines and extensions. Although Grasshopper falls behind in reporting compared to RingCentral or 8×8, there are three reports that are helpful, and you can download them as comma-separated values (CSV) files.
Grasshopper reports include:
- Usage report: Learn your average call length and look at differences between extensions, time frames, and phone numbers.
- Detail report: Filter your Detail report to get an overview of calls to lines or extensions based on a specific time range.
- Activity report: Break down your data to see how many voicemails, faxes, and hang-ups you get per extension or phone number.
8. Enable the Instant Response Feature
First impressions are essential, and missing a call from a potential client can leave a bad one. Fortunately, Grasshopper phone service includes the instant response feature. This tool sends a text reply to missed callers automatically.
You can send the same message to missed callers on all phone lines or create different ones for each phone number. There is a 160-character limit for messages, and you’ll find the instant reply settings on the web portal and desktop or mobile apps.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I record calls on Grasshopper?
No, Grasshopper doesn’t offer call recording. You may be able to use a third-party call recording tool to capture your phone conversation. However, it’s important to verify that you can use the application to record while still using your desktop or mobile Grasshopper app to make or receive the call.
Does Grasshopper require a contract?
With Grasshopper, you don’t have to sign a long-term contract, as it offers monthly payment plans. However, signing up for an annual subscription and paying upfront will get you a discount of more than 10%.
Who can change business line & extension settings?
To adjust Grasshopper phone settings, you need admin privileges. These are granted to the person who set up the initial business account. Admin privileges are sharable with others by this initial person. Additionally, admins allow users to configure their personal extensions.
Small business owners prefer Grasshopper because it’s easy to use and provides must-have tools, like call forwarding and a virtual receptionist. It’s versatile, working on landlines, smartphones, tablets, and computers. Sign up for Grasshopper’s seven-day free trial and explore the features and settings to determine if it’s a good fit for your business.