The world is rapidly changing and becoming extremely tech-savvy with each passing day. Getting the latest technology on your side is probably the only way to stay ahead of the competition. A virtual phone number is another such powerful tool.
The communication sector is at the forefront of change and transformation. It is incorrect to say that traditional phone communication is dying and that texting has become the new normal. However, the focus has shifted from the bulky and expensive traditional phone systems to cost-efficient virtual ones.
What is a Virtual Phone Number?
Virtual phone numbers are also phone numbers that you can use to make and receive calls. However, they are not connected with a sim card or any physical network. They are a part of cloud computing systems and operate based on connections made over the internet.
As researched by Microsoft, 82% of businesses confirmed that they saved a lot of money by moving to the cloud.
Features of a Virtual Phone System and why they are useful
Now that we have a basic idea of what a virtual phone number is, let us look at some of the features that give it an edge over traditional phone systems.
1. Automatic call queuing and forwarding
When a receptionist manually attends and forwards calls, it may so happen that several calls are queued up on one employee’s line while another employee is sitting idle. Using traditional phone systems, it is difficult to even distribute incoming calls among employees.
A virtual phone system has the perfect solution for this! Incoming calls are automatically forwarded to the next employee if one is busy. Moreover, if there are a large number of incoming calls, then they are systematically queued and distributed among the employees.
2. Call recording
A virtual phone system enables you to record all calls. These recordings can be used to train new employees on how to handle difficult conversations with customers. These recordings also come in handy in case any misunderstanding arises or a customer files a complaint.
3. IVR – Interactive Voice Response
Imagine your receptionist calls in sick on a busy workday? Or if he/she becomes frazzled by the huge incoming call volume and forwards the wrong call to the wrong department? Not only does this form a poor impression on a potential or existing customer, but it also disrupts the workflow and creates chaos.
This is where an IVR comes in. It acts as a virtual receptionist and handles the entire virtual phone system. It receives incoming calls, interacts with clients to find out their requirements, and then forwards the call to the correct department. This entire process is fast, efficient, smooth, and error-free.
4. Call barging
Call barging is like a spy feature that allows you to drop in on live calls and listen. The caller and agent will not be informed of your presence. Moreover, if you feel like you need to intervene in the conversation, you can speak to only the agent without the caller getting to know, or both of them together.
5. Call conference
Another significant feature that you can use with a virtual phone number is call conference. This means that more than one person can talk together at the same time on one call. This comes in handy when the opinion of more than one person is required.
Post the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of businesses have gone virtual. In such cases, physical meetings have been replaced with video or call conferencing. Using this feature, one doesn’t need to consult with various people one by one. Everyone can join in on a single call and put forth their views.
Sometimes, you may miss out on an important call. The caller can now leave a voicemail for you. You can access the voicemail from your email or any other sources which are convenient for you. This ensures that you always get important messages and voicemails and never miss out on an opportunity.
There are several other features that you can use with a virtual phone number. These were just a few of them.
Why should you opt for Virtual Phone Systems?
By now, it must be obvious why getting a virtual phone number could prove to be a huge advantage for your business. However, it still has some more benefits to offer you apart from the features it provides.
1. No hardware or infrastructure
The biggest advantage of a virtual phone system is that it does not require any physical components. It does not need any hardware or infrastructure. No more dealing with bulky phone systems, entangled with wires!
A virtual phone number can be used from any device with a working internet connection. Since it is completely virtual, it does not demand periodic maintenance. You do not need any physical space to store and operate it.
2. Easily scalable
Scaling a virtual phone system up or down is extremely simple. You do not need to purchase expensive hardware or set up any infrastructure. You can simply add users to your existing system. Thus, a virtual phone system grows with your business.
If for any reason, you want to scale down your system, then you don’t need to worry about storing any hardware. You can simply remove some users from your system and adjust it according to your requirements.
3. Global connectivity
Using traditional phone systems to make international calls can prove to be very expensive. Companies rack up huge phone bills every week due to international calling. However, you can connect with people across the globe using a virtual phone number at just a nominal rate.
This is because virtual phone systems route calls over the internet. You don’t need a service provider to establish connections abroad. Thus, you will only need to pay for a high-speed internet connection to make as many seamless international calls as you want.
4. Remote access
Earlier, you needed to be present in the office to take calls made to your office number. However, now you can work on the go using a virtual phone number! It doesn’t matter where you are, you can attend to work calls as long as you have a device with a working internet connection!
This significantly improves the workflow and prevents any backlogs from occurring. It also goes a long way in promoting the work from home culture, which enables companies to hire talented individuals from all across the globe.
In a survey conducted by Owl Labs, it was found that remote workers put in 40 hours/week of work, which is an astonishing 43% more than on-site workers.
How to Make and Receive a Virtual Phone Call?
Using a virtual phone call is similar to using a regular phone number. Here’s how to make a virtual phone call.
- Log in to your virtual phone number provider’s account.
- Enter the number you want to call.
- Make sure to use the right extensions (country and local code).
Here’s how to receive a virtual phone call:
- Keep yourself logged in.
- Keep your internet connection on.
- Pick the phone just like you would pick a regular call.
You can even set up call forwarding to redirect all the incoming calls to your phone number.
Note: Use your provider’s web or mobile app to make and receive calls easily.
How Does a Virtual Phone Number Work?
Virtual phone numbers are based on the cloud. Hence they don’t need a SIM card or a physical address. Instead, it uses the internet to enable telephone calls, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Virtual phone numbers use packet switching as opposed to traditional phone lines that use circuit switching.
This means that virtual phone numbers first convert your analog voice signals into digital packets using VoIP Codecs. These packets are then transmitted to the receiver’s system over the internet. The recipient’s device then decrypts and converts the packets into analog voice signals.
And, all of this happens within seconds, facilitating real-time communications.
While that was the technical explanation of how virtual numbers work. Here’s how it works in non-technical terms:
- Suppose you’re based in the US, and you want to call your friend in Sydney, Australia.
- The phone number area code of Sydney is +61 02.
- You then buy an Australian virtual phone number with the Sydney area code.
- When you dial your friend’s number, the call is forwarded from your Australian number, and you don’t have to pay for long-distance charges.
- The same goes for your friend. When they call your virtual number, the call is forwarded to your VoIP phone line in the US.
This happens because virtual phone number providers usually partner with carriers around the world. When a phone number is called in a particular city, their partners in that region send the call to your provider’s network over the internet. They then forward the call to your phone.
Differences Between Virtual and Regular Phone Numbers
As mentioned above, virtual phone numbers are just like regular phone numbers but with some differences. So what are those differences? How do you decide which one is better?
Let’s begin with traditional phone numbers. Regular phone numbers usually require you to install the telephone lines throughout the building to each desk phone. It is owned and managed by local telephone companies.
A virtual phone number, on the other hand, is not bound to one location or desk. You can use your smartphone or desktop to manage business calls. This means your team can pick calls using the virtual number from their desks, at home, or while traveling.
Other differences include maintenance and reliability. Traditional phone numbers often require you to pay the maintenance charges. Plus, they are prone to disruption, especially during disasters (earthquake, flood, short circuit, etc.).
Virtual numbers eliminate all these issues. Your VoIP system provider maintains them. Moreover, the providers have multiple data centers across the globe. This means even if your primary data center is affected, your calls will be routed from another one, thereby preventing disruptions.
And, virtual phone numbers support remote work! ?
A virtual phone number is slowly becoming the need of the hour for every business, big or small. Its features and advantages far outweigh its cost. Moreover, its hassle-free virtual experience makes its software you cannot say no to. Check the pricing details of the virtual phone number here.
CallHippo is the trusted virtual phone system provider to companies in 50+ countries around the world. Sign up now to revamp your business using this powerful cloud telephony system and drive up your profits!