A Guide to Acquiring and Utilising Virtual Phone Numbers for Small Businesses

Last Updated: 

June 10, 2024

Technology is ever-changing, so enterprises and small businesses have to adapt, follow trends, and utilise innovative solutions to enhance competitiveness. One such solution is virtual phone numbers. They make business operations easier, faster, and more secure, especially when dealing with daily calls.

But how do you choose virtual phone numbers for businesses and use them to achieve the desired results? This article will explore how virtual phone numbers work, explain how they differ from regular numbers, and delve into the aspects of acquiring and utilising them.

Key Takeaways on Using Virtual Phone Numbers for Your Small Business

  1. Versatile Communication: Virtual phone numbers offer flexible communication solutions, enabling businesses to adapt to diverse operational needs and customer preferences.
  2. Global Reach: With virtual numbers, businesses can establish a global presence without physical office locations, enhancing accessibility and fostering international expansion.
  3. Cost-Effective Communication: Enjoy cost savings with virtual phone numbers through free call forwarding and the ability to disconnect services without contractual obligations.
  4. Streamlined Operations: Implement virtual numbers to streamline internal communication, particularly beneficial for remote teams and distributed workforces.
  5. Enhanced Customer Interaction: Improve customer service by utilising virtual numbers for call routing, ensuring calls reach the appropriate departments or personnel efficiently.
  6. Geographical Flexibility: Overcome geographic limitations with virtual numbers, enabling businesses to maintain consistent contact information regardless of physical location changes.
  7. Simple Acquisition Process: Acquiring virtual phone numbers involves straightforward steps, including identifying needs, selecting providers, and configuring call handling, ensuring a seamless setup process.
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Virtual Phone Number for Business: Brief Overview

A virtual phone number is a service offered by software providers and telecommunication operators that does not require equipment installation. Virtual phone numbers typically operate over the Internet. The main difference between virtual and traditional numbers is that they’re linked to cloud-based PBX systems and are not strictly tied to a specific phone or region.

When calls are connected, data transmission occurs over the Internet. However, it is possible to set up call forwarding from a virtual phone number to a landline or mobile phone without using the Internet.

There are various types of virtual phone numbers – local, international, and toll-free numbers. They can be used on mobile devices, web browsers, and computers.

at-a-glance reference for comparing different types of phone numbers

The call logic is as follows:

  1. Incoming calls are routed to the provider for processing.
  2. The provider ensures call forwarding and directs calls to the cloud-based PBX server.
  3. From the virtual station, the call is sent to the device specified in the settings.
Call logic infographic

A virtual SIM card is not tied to a physical device or VoIP service, providing several advantages:

  • Free call forwarding and no contracts: There is no need to pay the operator to call a landline or mobile phone. Virtual phone services can be quickly connected and disconnected at any time without contractual obligations.
  • Convenience for business: The number can be used for both business communication and customer service. In the latter case, call forwarding can be set up to distribute calls among a group of managers, with the call being answered by whoever is available at the moment.
  • Number retention: If your business moves to another city, most providers do not allow you to keep your previous number, which can be inconvenient. Virtual numbers are not geographically tied, and modern technologies such as cloud-based systems, business VoIP service, and IVR software allow you to work from anywhere with an internet connection.

Registration for virtual phone numbers is done online. You need to visit the internet service provider's website, select an available number from the database, and receive an SMS on your existing mobile number. After receiving the message, calls can be forwarded from the cloud server to your mobile or landline device, enabling you to enjoy all the benefits of communication.

When Does a Business Need Virtual Phone Numbers?

Virtual numbers are indispensable communication tools that can optimise business operations and improve customer interaction. They are particularly useful in the following cases:

  • You operate in different cities/countries without local offices. You can make business calls from different cities using local numbers. With a virtual receptionist, you can set up incoming calls so that calls from a specific region go directly to the manager or department that handles that region.
  • You have branches in different cities/countries with a single contact number. Virtual numbers can be the same for different cities and countries—they are not tied to geographic locations. You can hire employees from different regions without changing familiar numbers.
  • There is a lot of internal communication among employees. This is relevant for logistics and courier companies, taxi services, or food delivery services. With virtual numbers, you can easily set up an internal telephone network and ensure comfortable communication between employees and customers.
  • You have employees outside the office. This applies to remote work. Your managers or operators are not tied to the office and telephone equipment; they can work anywhere with an internet connection.

If your company is close to any of the situations listed above, you can use the advantages of virtual telephony without hesitation.

How To Get a Virtual Phone Number

Undoubtedly, virtual phone numbers for businesses are more advantageous than traditional ones. They are suitable for both small companies with remote employees and large corporations with huge call centre staff.

Acquiring a virtual phone number is a straightforward process. The main thing is to follow the basic steps and consider key criteria when choosing a provider and setting up the number.

Step 1: Identify Your Needs

Before obtaining a virtual phone number, it's essential to understand what your business specifically requires—whether it's call tracking, call routing, or branding opportunities. Be sure to consider geographical location, call volume, and any additional features you may need.

Step 2: Choose a Service Provider

Research information about service providers. Compare their offerings, considering pricing, available features, and customer reviews. Look for providers offering excellent call quality, reliable customer support, and user-friendly interfaces.

Step 3: Select a Location

If your goal is to establish a local presence in a particular state, choose a virtual phone number with the corresponding area code. This will enhance trust among local customers and increase the likelihood of long-term interaction.

map of area codes in the us
Source: USA.com

Step 4: Register and Activate Numbers

After selecting a service provider and determining the desired virtual phone number, proceed with the registration process to activate it. You will need to provide information about yourself and undergo verification.

Step 5: Configure Call Handling

Adjust the settings of your virtual phone number according to your preferences. Set up call routing and redirection to direct calls to the desired device and explore additional features offered by the service provider: IVR, voicemail transcription, and call analytics.

Key Takeaways

Virtual phone numbers offer unique communication opportunities, providing flexibility, availability, and business growth. Whether you're a company seeking global expansion or an individual prioritising privacy and cost-effectiveness, virtual telephony is the right solution.

By understanding how they work, their advantages, and practical applications, you can efficiently answer business calls, expanding your communication capabilities.

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