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Jennifer Chen

December 22, 2015

How to Set Up a Hotline Number in 3 Steps

Hotlines are used to provide information for marketing campaigns or emergency assistance in crisis situations. Telzio powers 24/7 hotlines for nonprofits and corporations around the world. Set up toll free numbers and call routing online.

Hotlines provide a direct phone number for callers to get information or assistance. In this article, you'll learn how to set up a hotline number in a few simple steps.

Hotlines can serve a variety of purposes. A few examples of how Telzio's hotline services are being used include:

Telzio is used by organizations around the world for hotlines in critical situations, in addition to the typical business phone system needs. Large-scale non-profits and for-profits rely on Telzio’s exceptional uptime and audio quality for permanent and promotional hotlines.

It's easy to set up a 24-hour recorded message hotline, and route calls to mobile phones. In this post, you'll learn how to set up a hotline that’s ready to go in a few simple steps, without any hardware or technical requirements. Everything with Telzio is managed on the website, making it easy and instant to go live with your hotline. While there are dozens of features to choose from, the interface is simple and easy-to-use, so you have the flexibility to set your hotline up the way you need it.

Here is one way to set up a hotline number.

1. Choose a Phone Number

The whole point is to attract more callers to raise awareness for the brand or cause. To do that, choose a toll free number that’s easy to remember. Toll free numbers eliminate long distance charges for callers in the US and Canada, making it easier for people out of the area to call in and increasing your reach exponentially. Toll free numbers have a slightly higher cost than local numbers, so choosing between the two depends on your budget and audience.

From the Telzio Dashboard, you can browse phone numbers from 65+ countries, and choose between a local or toll free number.

There’s a different perception with toll free numbers. They appeal to a broader geographic audience. Vanity numbers work well but the good ones are usually taken or have a high premium. I would opt for repetitive digits. IMO phone numbers with repeating digits are the best phone numbers because they’re easy to remember and easy to dial quickly.

Since vanity numbers can be hard to find, hotlines with repeating digits are ideal because they’re easy to remember and dial quickly.

Browse for a number and when you find the right one, register it and you’ll find it instantly in your numbers list. Now we have to make that number go somewhere when people call it. There are several different ways you can set up a hotline, but let’s say you want to start with a greeting.

2. Record a Message

Here’s the important part. What message do you want to convey? Get your script written out. Read it out loud. Read it out loud to your team. Then submit it for a professional recording, or enlist someone in your office to record it in-house. You can record the greeting directly through your computer, but if you prefer, you can also type in your message using our text-to-speech feature.

Three ways to record your phone greeting:

  1. Create a professional recording and upload the audio file to the Telzio Dashboard.
  2. Record the greeting directly into the Dashboard using your computer mic.
  3. Type in your greeting and use the text-to-speech feature.

Once you have the audio file, you can upload it directly on the website and set it as the first thing callers hear when they connect to your hotline number. From there, you can do different things. You can simply deliver the message to your callers and end the call there. You could give the caller options. Do they want to speak to a live person? Do they want other information?

Here’s the fun part. You can add as many layers as you want. Depending on the objective of your hotline, you may want to keep it simple, but you can customize your “Call Flow” to your specific needs.

3. Route Calls

Let’s say you want to connect callers to a live agent. You could route incoming calls directly to a live person instantly when they connect, and skip the whole greeting part. As mentioned, this is just one way to set up a hotline. All the features can be re-arranged and configured in a way that fits your purpose.

Here is an example of a very simple call flow, where we first present callers with a greeting containing two options. The first option (press 1) routes the caller to a Queue where they can wait to speak to the next available agent. The second option (press 2) routes the caller to a search-by-name directory. Call Flows can contain a number of other “instructions” for how you want to route calls. For example, you can add a conference, open/close hours filter, a pay-by-phone option, or just a simple forwarding to your mobile app. How you design your call flow is all up to you.

A Telzio Call Flow diagram with instructions for routing an incoming call first through a phone menu, then with option 1 routing to a call queue, and option 2 routing to a search-by-name directory.

Try setting up your own call flow.

Calls can be routed to groups of as many people as needed, ringing them all at the same time or in a specific order if the previous person doesn’t pick up. Telzio can send calls to IP phones, softphones, smartphones, and any other phone number in the world.

Three options for making/receiving calls from a Telzio hotline:

  1. Use IP phones, which are desk phones and can be shipped to your preconfigured and office ready-for-calling.
  2. Use the Telzio Webphone, which is located on the website when you sign into the Dashboard and does not require installation or configuration.
  3. Use the Telzio mobile app, which can be downloaded from the app store.

Contrary to traditional phone service, a single phone number with Telzio can support an infinite number of simultaneous calls, so callers will never get a busy signal.


Telzio supports nonprofits and crisis hotlines all over the world. Email to see how we can help.

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