This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Grasshopper is a virtual phone number provider that requires an existing connected smartphone or computer to use the system. The great thing about this phone service is that it’s simple to set up and use. To start using the service, you need to choose a plan and a phone number, download the app, select a main greeting, and add extensions.
Follow these five steps to get started, then use our tips to learn how to use Grasshopper phone system for your small business communications.
1. Select Your Phone Number & Choose Your Plan
Before signing up for the Grasshopper phone service, decide if you want to keep your existing phone number or create a new one. If you’re replacing your landline-based business phone system, keep your current number using Grasshopper’s free porting service.
During the signup process, choose “use your current number.” Enter the business phone number you’d like to transfer. Grasshopper will then provide a temporary number until the paperwork is complete. How fast this transfer happens will depend on your carrier, which could take several days.
However, if you want to simply add an additional virtual business line, you can pick from a toll-free, vanity, or local number. The phone number tool lets you input your digits and see if your desired number is available. Click “get a randomly generated number,” and Grasshopper will give a list of possible options.
Grasshopper’s three plans include all of the same features. The only difference is how many phone numbers and extensions are supported. This means that unlike other voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) services, such as RingCentral or 8×8, you won’t be asked to pay more for voicemail transcription or instant response features. Grasshopper also doesn’t charge per user. Instead, plans come with one to five phone numbers and three to an unlimited number of extensions.
The virtual phone plans consist of:
- Solo Plan: $29 per month, one phone number, and three extensions
- Partner Plan: $49 per month, three phone numbers, and six extensions
- Small Business Plan: $89 per month, five phone numbers, and unlimited extensions
Once you select your plan, enter your account and payment information. Under the “Order Summary,” you can toggle between monthly or annual billing. If you pick yearly billing, you can save more than 10%. After signing up, Grasshopper walks you through the setup process.
2. Download the Grasshopper App
To use your virtual phone system, you’ll need to download Grasshopper’s softphone app. It works as a desktop app on Mac or Windows computers and iOS and Android mobile devices. Add the Grasshopper application to any devices that you want to use for receiving or making calls.
Although calls are routed through your current cellular connection or via Wi-Fi, softphone apps keep your personal calls and texts separate from your business communications.
Once installed, you can access the following functionalities:
- Create, send, and receive text messages using your business number
- Use any app-enabled devices to view your call history
- Listen to voicemail or look over transcriptions on your device
- View and manage basic account settings
3. Select Your Main Greeting
All Grasshopper phone services come with an auto attendant, also called a virtual receptionist. The settings are preconfigured with a standard greeting. If someone calls your business phone number before you personalize your message, they’ll hear, “Thank you for calling. To speak to a representative, please press zero.”
Set up your main or extension greetings to deliver personalized messages to your callers. Under the Settings tab, you can record your greeting, upload an MP3 file, or order a professional greeting created by Grasshopper’s Voice Studio artists.
MP3 files should be 2 minutes or less in length with a file name of 24 characters or fewer. For Voice Studio greetings, write the script and choose from various voice actors. It costs $75 per order, but your order can include several scripts.
4. Add Grasshopper Phone Extensions
Whether you’re a solopreneur or have multiple team members, extensions give your company a professional appearance. When customers call, they’ll have the option to select from various extensions directing their call to a department or employee.
Add Grasshopper phone extensions by clicking the Extension tab and picking Add Extension. Your extensions can forward calls to on-site employees or work-from-home staff. Any staff members with the installed Grasshopper app can receive transferred calls.
Common extensions include a number for existing customers, one for sales, and another for customer support. Your plan dictates the number of extensions available, with the top-tier plan offering unlimited extensions.
5. Start Using the Service
Although certain numbers may take up to 24 hours to activate, you can send and receive calls immediately in most cases. You can make a call using any internet-connected device with the Grasshopper app installed. Click on the application to open it, and you’ll see a keypad, similar to today’s smartphones.
Additionally, your virtual phone number provider allows you to do the following:
- Set up an instant response, so missed calls receive a text with your custom message, image, or hyperlinks automatically
- Direct incoming calls to a live answering service, such as Ruby Live Virtual Receptionists, available through Grasshopper
- View and save transcribed emails in your app or through integrated software programs, like HubSpot or Salesforce
- Receive faxes through your app using Grasshopper’s cloud-based fax delivery service, a free feature with all plans
- Personalize your voicemail, main greeting, or extension messages by uploading professional recordings
How to Make the Most of Grasshopper’s Features
Put your small business phone system to work by checking out the features that come with all plans or by reading our full Grasshopper review.
For starters, Grasshopper makes it easy to connect your team and personalize call forwarding. Use the web-based admin portal to configure the following settings and features.
Invite New Users
Add employees to your Grasshopper account, so they can start receiving and answering calls. Go to the Users tab and tap Add New User. It prompts you to enter contact information for your employee. Next, Grasshopper emails an invitation to your new user. Your email recipient receives instructions to create a password to join the account.
Adjust user permissions to get calls to the right people. By default, Grasshopper doesn’t provide new users with access to extensions or phone numbers. Instead, administrators set permissions individually using the extension’s drop-down menu.
Add & Customize Extensions
All Grasshopper plans come with three or more extensions. When customers call, they hear a list of extensions for departments or employees. Forwarded calls can all go to the same phone number or multiple numbers, on-site and offsite. Grasshopper sets the default extension to zero. However, users can change or add extensions on the web portal.
Choose from numbers between 700 and 799 for employee extensions or add department extensions using the numbers zero to six. Add any combination of extensions up to the amount allowed by your plan.
Personalize your extensions by following these steps:
- Configure call forwarding rules and phone numbers
- Set user access permissions, including designating a number or time zone
- Create routing schedules to handle after-hours or emergency calls
- Pick display settings for incoming calls to your personal devices
- Customize voicemail settings for each extension
Set Up Your Extension Directory
An employee name directory is an optional feature that helps customers locate a sales rep or customer service agent. Callers can dial an extension if known or pick one by listening to the menu.
The default extension is number 8. Head to your web portal and click Edit next to Extension 8. From there, fill in the text fields with your employees’ first and last names next to their assigned extension. When recording your initial greeting and setting up your main auto attendant menu, remember to add extension 8.
Personalize Your Greetings
When people call your office phone, they’ll hear your main greeting by default. But you can set up custom messages for after-hours calls as well. Plus, Grasshopper supports individual greetings for each of your extensions.
Personalize your callers’ experience by using the following options:
- Main away greeting: Record a message for people who call when your office is closed. Give callers the option of pressing zero to leave a voicemail.
- Call forwarding greeting: Make call transfers seamless by enabling the call forwarding greeting. The auto attendant will announce, “Please hold while we connect your call to Extension 1,” followed by on-hold music until your staff picks up.
- Extension greetings: Record custom messages for each department’s extensions or let employees record their own greetings.
- Extension voicemail greeting: Create voicemail greetings for each extension to give callers department or employee-specific information.
- Recorded extension name: The Call Announce feature states the dialed extension, such as an employee’s name or department.
- Extension away greeting: Like the main away greeting, customers calling after-hours will hear a message that differs from your main business hours greeting.
Add Extra Grasshopper Business Phone Numbers
Grasshopper plans offer one to five business phone numbers. Business users can add a number without upgrading their package. Extra numbers cost $5 to $10 per number, per month.
Go to your admin panel under Settings and click on the Numbers tab. From there, pick the type of phone number—toll-free, vanity, or local. Once adding the number, you’ll see your monthly cost.
After adding a new number, go back to the extensions and greetings tabs to customize your main greeting and set up call forwarding rules.
Connect Your Current Business Phone System
Connect Grasshopper to your business phone line by forwarding calls from your Grasshopper number to your landline. You also have the option to contact your local phone provider and request call forwarding from your landline to your Grasshopper number when the line is busy or isn’t answered after a preset number of rings.
Explore Grasshopper Reports
Three Grasshopper reports give you an idea of usage and activity. The reports provide details about unanswered calls and call length according to specific time ranges or extensions.
Use the following reports to gain insights into your virtual number use:
- Detail report: It offers an overview of all calls. Filter your report by looking at call types, destination phone numbers, caller IDs, extensions, or date ranges.
- Usage report: Find your average call length and view an itemized listing of used inbound and outbound minutes. Filter data according to phone numbers, date ranges, or extensions.
- Activity report: Select a date range and explore the number of calls, faxes, hang-up calls, and voicemails received per phone number or extension.
The reports aren’t automatic. Instead, users click to generate a report, and you’ll receive a notification when it’s ready. The reports are located under My Reports and available for up to 90 days. Download your reports to a comma-separated values (CSV) file by selecting the option under the Download tab.
Grasshopper is well-known for its simple setup and ease of use. It doesn’t require special equipment and works on all internet-connected devices. All plans provide basic features, such as an auto attendant and softphone apps. Plus, it includes advanced features like voicemail transcription.
Improve customer experiences by optimizing your virtual phone system. It’s easy to set up call forwarding rules and create custom greetings. Find out if Grasshopper is right for your business by taking advantage of the free seven-day trial.