The telephone is considered one of humanity’s greatest inventions and has had a massive impact on our civilization. Phones today have become the lifeline for many businesses, corporations, and governments, helping them communicate, receive and share information, and bring order into their affairs.

Imagining a world without phones today is impossible as they connect most of the modern world. Moreover, with the internet becoming more mainstream over the past two decades, smartphones are all the rage now. The average worldwide data traffic from smartphones is projected to be a staggering 221 exabytes by 2026, making them the most preferred communication tool in our times. More than half of the global internet traffic comes from smartphones today.

With more accessible access to phone and internet services for billions of users worldwide, it was only a matter of time before the two technologies merged. Moreover, there were several shortcomings of traditional phone systems that can be resolved with internet connectivity. The launch of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) or internet phone numbers is therefore considered to be a new chapter in telephony, which has further simplified connectivity on a global scale.

An online phone number allows users to make calls online to regular (mobile/landline) and virtual phone numbers. Initially designed to be an alternative to traditional calling facilities, online numbers quickly became accepted globally as a cost-effective and flexible calling option, replacing conventional phone services in many offices. Additionally, it offers some unique advantages to users, reducing their efforts and expenses considerably. But what exactly are these, and how do such phone numbers work? Let’s discover more about them in our next section.

What are Online Phone Numbers?

what are online phone numbers

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) or online phone numbers are numbers rooted on the web that allow you to receive and make calls from any data-driven device using the internet. It does not require any specific hardware/handset and can be used through any digital device.

Online phone numbers can easily be purchased and accessed over the web from any VoIP provider. Unlike traditional phone numbers, these numbers are not attached to a particular phone or SIM card and are connected to your online telephony account. This allows you to switch between VoIP providers readily as per your needs/convenience without changing your number.

Virtual numbers come with many useful features. The most common ones are:

  • Call Distribution
  • Call Recording
  • Voicemail
  • Analytics
  • Call Forwarding
  • Call Queueing
  • Call Barging
  • IVR

How do online telephone numbers work?

Virtual phone numbers can easily be purchased through a VoIP or telecom company. There are multiple plans and packages available from each service provider, which you can avail of based on your calling needs. An online phone number works by connecting two (or more) numbers via the internet instead of telephone lines or switchboards.

The only apparatus that you need for making calls is a stable Wi-Fi or LAN connection and a digital device. Once an internet connection is set up, you can log in to the interface of your internet number’s service provider for making calls and sending out messages or voicemails from your virtual number.

Benefits of using online phone numbers for SMEs

Benefits of online phone number

Small and medium-sized businesses can reap several benefits from using an online phone number. Perhaps the most significant advantage of virtual numbers is the flexibility they offer. With conventional phone systems, the only way you can receive a call is to present in the same room as the phone handset/device. However, with virtual numbers, you can receive calls from anywhere in the world, using any digital device near you.

Online phone numbers allow you to be always reachable to your customers and prospects without being attached to a cord all the time. They empower you to make and receive calls on the go and help you offer round-the-clock assistance to clients while working remotely. Using just the account details, you can interact with others via the internet without any physical phone setup.

Virtual numbers are hardware-agnostic and can help you reduce business expenses considerably, adding more agility, promptness, and visibility into your actions. For instance, if you own a contact center and purchase ten online phone numbers, you can use them for different shifts and keep track of each call made from each device. This allows you to monitor calls in real-time and track the efforts that each of your agents made. 

Tracking your team’s performance from anywhere frees you from bearing the additional burden of paying for office rent and adopting a remote work model. Traditional phone systems require a central communication hub, from where all phone handsets need to be plugged. With internet phone systems, such constraints never arise, allowing you to set up your office anywhere you please. Moreover, you save on the additional fees you had to shell out for frequent repair and maintenance.

Thus, virtual phone systems help you save money, time, and effort while offering greater convenience, oversight, and agility to your business operations. Additionally, with virtual numbers, you don’t need to change your phone numbers frequently. Even if your contact details change, you can choose to forward your calls to the new number in an instant.

Conclusion

Online phone numbers are the future of business communications and are being used by more and more firms today. As a result, they can play a pivotal role in taking your business to greater heights and improve its efficiency, productivity and longevity. 

Virtual phone numbers are far more cost-effective, feature-rich, and user-friendly than traditional phones, and would likely replace their bulkier counterparts only in a matter of decades. However, in case you are still sentimentally attached to your old business phone, worry not, because online phone numbers could be set up to work with them too.

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