What Is A Virtual Phone Number?
A virtual phone number is a telephone number that is not dependent on a physical phone line or device, or specific location. Virtual numbers are Internet-based and can make and receive calls from any communication device with an IP address, including personal cell phones, computers, and softphones in business offices. Virtual numbers are typically used to route calls between traditional phone lines (PSTN) and VoIP using direct inward dialing (DID) technology.
What Does a Virtual Phone Number Mean?
A virtual number is a phone number that allows you to make and receive calls over the internet. Virtual telephone numbers are not bound to a fixed location or device, making them a perfect choice for people who work from home and other remote locations.
You can choose the devices that ring when someone calls your virtual number and even change them when required. This gives you the much-needed flexibility while offering seamless lines of communication to customers.
Virtual Number vs. Regular Number
The primary difference between virtual and regular numbers is that the latter is linked to a device or desk. For example, a SIM card is linked to a mobile phone, without which you cannot make or receive calls. Similarly, a landline is fixed to a desk and requires users to be available on the desk to make and receive calls.
On the other hand, virtual numbers are not linked to any device. So as long as you have an internet connection, you can make and receive calls using a virtual phone number using any device (smartphone, laptop, or desktop).
Another difference between virtual numbers and regular numbers is how they route calls.
Here is how calls from regular mobile numbers are routed:
When cell A makes a call to cell B:
- The call goes from cell A to cell phone mast A
- It is then passed to its base station
- The base station then routes the call to cell phone mast B
- It is then passed to its base station
- The base station then redirects the call to the cell B
On the other hand, legacy PBX phone systems (landlines in office desks) use copper phone lines that run throughout your office (and then to the nearest phone network) to make and receive calls. Unfortunately, this means traditional PBX phone systems do not support most modern phone features, such as voicemail to email, analytics, or remote working capabilities.
VoIP numbers, however, use the internet to route calls. This gives you the ability to make and receive calls from anywhere as long as you have an active internet connection.
Are VoIP Numbers the Same As Virtual Numbers?
Yes, VoIP numbers and virtual numbers are the same. They are assigned to a user and not to a specific phone line. They give users access to advanced call management features and integration options, allowing them to optimize their operations and reduce bottlenecks.
What Does Virtual Landline Mean?
A virtual landline is a cloud-based telephone number that lets you redirect incoming calls to a number of your choice. Anyone calling thinks they are dialing another landline number, but in reality, the call gets diverted to the phone number you’ve chosen during registration.
With a virtual landline, you can pick up calls on your mobile phone or any other device, for that matter.
When it comes to making outbound calls from your virtual landline, you will need either of these three options:
- An app (Android, iOS, Windows, or Mac)
- Business quality VoIP handset
- Buzz Box
Just like a virtual phone number, a virtual landline also makes it easier and cheaper to reach out to your customers.
How Does Virtual Numbers Work?
- Virtual numbers use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to place telephone calls between real people. It is the same technology that WhatsApp, iMessage, and Google Voice use to make calls and text messages.
- When you call your virtual phone number, your analog voice signals are converted to digital packets using VoIP codecs. The digital packets are then transmitted to the recipient’s device using the internet. The recipient’s device then converts the packets into analog voice signals, making communication possible.
- Additionally, VoIP systems use the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for setting up the call. SIP is an application protocol that makes it possible to run your phone system using the internet instead of traditional phone lines.
- It works similar to web technology (HTTP) and is an intermediary between your business phone system and the Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP).
- Short for Direct Inward Dialing, DID is yet another critical component of VoIP systems that allows you to assign a phone number to multiple people. This makes it easier for your customers to reach specific people in your organization.
- Let’s suppose you want to purchase VoIP numbers for your small business. Instead of buying multiple numbers, you can invest in a single phone number and leverage DID to give all your team members a unique ID (also known as extensions).
- Say an employee wants to reach out to the representative to clear a query. They can use the Direct Inward Dialing (DID) number to reach the sales agent directly, bypassing the IVR menu.
- When someone calls your number with the extension, they’ll be able to reach your team member without going through the menu or IVR.
Who Needs a Virtual Phone Number?
Freelancers, SMBs, and large enterprises that regularly engage with customers over the phone should be using a virtual phone number. It can also be used by individuals who travel a lot as it allows them to purchase local numbers and use them from any country in the world and pay per local rate.
- Provides your business a professional appearance and boosts credibility.
- Allows you to set up advanced call forwarding and has multiple routing options.
- Comes with features like call recording, voicemail to email, and analytics to help you understand your customers better.
- More cost-effective than regular phone numbers.
What Are the Use-Cases for Virtual Number?
Virtual numbers have multiple use-cases that make them perfect for businesses of all sizes. Here are some of the major use cases of virtual phone number:
1. Get local phone numbers
You can get a virtual number for any city globally, irrespective of where you are located. So, for instance, if you’re in the US and want to reach your customers in London, you can get a phone number with the London area code (020). This will help you build trust with your customers faster and significantly reduce your phone bills (as you’ll be charged per local rate).
2. Better flexibility
Since VoIP numbers are not linked to any device, you can use them anywhere. So, whether you’re in the office, at home, or traveling, you can attend to your customers. If, for any reason, you’re unable to pick up the calls, you can set up call forwarding to route the call to someone else on your team.
3. Doesn’t need any special phone
Most virtual number providers have a mobile app that allows you to make and receive calls. Thus, you don’t need any special phone (PBX phone) to manage business communications. Instead, you can download the mobile app to convert your smartphone into a business phone while maintaining your privacy.
4. Best for travelers
If you’re someone who travels a lot (for business or leisure purposes), a virtual number can be your best friend. With a virtual phone number, you can reach out to your friends and family members in your hometown without paying international calling charges.
5. Tracking marketing campaigns
You can assign unique virtual numbers to all your marketing campaigns to measure their effectiveness. This will help identify the campaigns generating the maximum and minimum number of leads.
What Are the Business Uses for Virtual Phone Number?
Apart from the use cases mentioned above, here are some areas where virtual phone numbers can be effectively used.
1. Call Centers
Call centers and businesses with dedicated phone support teams can use virtual numbers to give their customers a seamless calling experience. Powered by features like IVR, call recording, and analytics, virtual numbers enable call centers to significantly improve their performance and customer experience.
2. Sales Teams
Your sales reps probably make hundreds of calls, if not thousands, to potential customers. The best way to measure their productivity while keeping their phone bills low is by using a virtual phone number. And as mentioned above, you can leverage call recordings to understand how effective their calls are (and how you can improve).
3. Website chat and voice widgets
Virtual numbers are great for companies that provide live chat support on their website and phone support. Amazon, for instance, gives you the option to receive a callback instantly. Since users don’t have to dial the number, choose from the huge menu (IVR) to reach agents, this significantly improves the customer experience.
Benefits of a Virtual Phone Number?
A virtual phone number keeps you connected and reachable irrespective of whether you’re in the office, working from home, or traveling across the globe. Here are some more reasons to switch to a virtual number.
Virtual phone numbers don’t require installing telephone lines throughout your office or investing in special hardware. Instead, you can use your existing phone or desktop systems to manage your business phone system.
Moreover, cloud-based virtual phone systems don’t require you to spend your resources on maintenance or upgrades. Instead, the vendor does that regularly, thereby further reducing your expenses.
2. Enhance Local Presence
You can get a virtual number of any city in the world. This allows you to establish a robust local presence in new markets and increases the chances of conversions. Furthermore, local virtual numbers enable you to call your customers per local rate, reducing phone bills.
Also, by opting for local virtual numbers, your sales reps will be able to provide customized services and information catering to a particular region. Besides, you will be able to analyze region-specific call data better.
3. IVR Integration
Virtual numbers are integrated with IVR technology, allowing you to share a pre-recorded message to give callers a faster and more personalized experience. IVR also enables you to optimize the call language based on the caller’s location. It further allows callers to reach the correct department as per their requirements, improving the first call resolution time.
4. Seamless Number Portability
A well-marketed number quickly becomes your brand’s identity. Changing your number might hurt your brand’s image and hamper your sales.
Virtual numbers allow easy portability, ensuring it stays yours forever. If you’re moving your business to a new city or want to try a new cloud telephony service provider, you can still keep the number by paying a nominal number transfer fee.
5. Advanced Features
VoIP number comes with advanced features, such as call recording, call transfer, call forwarding, and integration with existing business tools. In addition, some business phone systems go beyond calling features to offer video conferencing.
These features are designed to help you offer the best possible experience to your customers while giving you in-depth insights into your business’s performance.
6. Higher Scalability
You’d probably hire more employees as your business grows for your sales and support teams. And when you do, you can add them to your existing virtual phone number or purchase new ones for them at a nominal cost.
Even when opening a new office, you can toggle your preferences without purchasing dedicated hardware or installing phone lines.
How To Get a Virtual Phone Number?
The first step to getting a virtual number is picking a reliable VoIP provider like CallHippo. It ensures your phone bills are significantly lower while still giving you access to advanced features.
And when it comes to getting a virtual phone number from CallHippo, you can do that in five easy steps.
1. Step 1
Sign up with CallHippo
2. Step 2
Select a country/area code
3. Step 3
Choose a number of your choice from the large pool of virtual numbers
4. Step 4
Pick a plan that suits your requirement
5. Step 5
Assign numbers to your team and start making calls.
Drawbacks of Virtual Number
As with any other technology, virtual phone numbers also have some drawbacks. It is essential to be aware of potential drawbacks to avoid them and take proactive steps to overcome these challenges.
1. Requires Reliable Internet Connection
Virtual numbers are as good as your internet connection. As soon as your bandwidth decreases, your call quality will start suffering.
Thus, investing in an internet connection that offers less than 70ms ping and jitter is recommended to ensure seamless communication via virtual number.
Note: Your internet connection’s bandwidth depends on the number of concurrent calls you plan to make. Therefore, we recommend running a bandwidth test when choosing an internet connection.
2. Limited Location Tracking During Emergencies
You can purchase a VoIP number even without a local physical address. While this helps you establish a virtual presence anywhere, it could be challenging for first responders to track your location during emergencies.
Can Virtual Numbers Send and Receive Text Messages?
Yes, depending on your virtual phone system provider and the package you choose, you can send and receive text messages using VoIP numbers. However, it is worth mentioning that SMS might cost you an additional fee (again, depending on your business phone system provider).
Virtual Phone Number FAQs
Are virtual phone numbers “real” telephone numbers?
Yes, virtual numbers are real telephone numbers that can be used to make and receive phone calls. However, the major difference between a virtual number and regular numbers is that the former is not linked to any specific device or location.
Can I have multiple virtual phone numbers?
Yes, you can have as many virtual phone numbers as you want. However, you should choose a reliable VoIP provider to purchase multiple phone numbers to ensure privacy and security.
How can I get a virtual number in a different country?
Follow these steps to get a virtual number in a different country:
- Sign up with CallHippo
- Choose the country you want to get a virtual number of
- Pick a number from the large pool of numbers
- Select a plan as per your requirements
- You’re ready to make and receive calls
Do I need any hardware to use a virtual phone number?
You do not need any dedicated hardware to use a virtual number. Instead, you can use your existing desktop, laptop, and smartphone to make and receive calls using virtual numbers.
Who owns the virtual phone number I purchased?
Just like in regular numbers, you become the official owner of the virtual phone number you purchase.
How do I use a virtual phone number?
You can use your virtual number via the app provided by your vendor. Most virtual phone number providers offer a web, desktop, and mobile app for ease of access on multiple devices.
Are virtual phone numbers legal?
Yes, virtual phone numbers are completely legal across the globe.
Do you need a Simcard for a virtual number?
No, you do not need a Simcard for a virtual phone number. Instead, you can use the virtual number via the vendor’s app.