What Are The Advantages Of Virtual Numbers?

IP telephony is rising in popularity and an important element of IP telephony is virtual numbers. Of course, virtual numbers have been around for a long time, but they’re more useful than ever because of IP telephony.

What are the advantages of virtual numbers?

  • Answer calls no matter where you are
  • Improve your business image
  • Plenty of metrics to improve your promotional campaigns
  • Easily managed in a web portal
  • Quickly up and running if you need a number sorted ASAP

Some of these benefits are quite self-explanatory, but I’ll explain them all in more detail. Beforehand, I’ll quickly explain what virtual numbers are and how they work.

What Are Virtual Numbers And How Do They Work?

A virtual number, which is also known as a direct inward dialing number, is a telephone number without an associated phone line. It really is as simple as that. It’s a telephone number that you can point to any number attached to a fixed line, whether that’s a mobile number or your main office number.

In times gone by, a phone number was associated with a single physical line. It would go into an office and that’s where all the calls would go. There wasn’t even the option to divert calls elsewhere! Now most businesses use virtual numbers, because they’re much more flexible and often much cheaper.

The restraints of fixed phone numbers are gone with virtual numbers. You can point them wherever and whenever you like, no matter where you are. You can modify the number you’re forwarding calls to easily through a portal within a matter of minutes. With a bit of training, you won’t even need the assistance of your telecommunications company to modify where all your calls are forwarding to.

How Do Virtual Numbers Work?

Virtual numbers are just like any other phone number; the only difference is a virtual number isn’t attached to a fixed phone line. So in terms of the caller experience, they work exactly the same. Someone rings the number and one of your team picks up; that’s no different. However, virtual numbers are different to fixed and mobile numbers because you can point all your calls to a number of your choice.

You can point your virtual number to one or multiple numbers, depending on the requirements of your business. For example, you can point it to multiple offices or multiple mobile phones if your team is working outside of the office. It’s really down to you and what suits your business best, which links into the flexibility benefit of using virtual numbers.

To give you a good idea of how virtual numbers work, I thought it was a good idea to have a look at this screenshot from a virtual number manager.

As you can see in the screenshot, it couldn’t be much simpler to forward your calls to the appropriate destination. It’s as simple as:

  • Typing in the destination number
  • Deciding how long the phone will ring before prior to going to voicemail OR going through to the next number
  • Whether you want all the numbers to ring at the same time or in list order

There are also extra features, such as the Availability feature shown above. Availability lets you create a schedule for when calls will go through to the numbers you’ve chosen. Outside of that schedule, you can decide whether calls go straight to voicemail. Alternatively, you could have a message to any callers that tells them the best ways to get in touch out-of-hours.

What Are The Advantages Of Virtual Numbers?

Now we’ve covered the basics of what virtual numbers are and how they work, I’m going to explain the benefits of virtual numbers.

Here are the 6 main benefits of using virtual numbers:

  • Answer calls no matter where you are
  • Improve your business image
  • Plenty of metrics to improve your promotional campaigns
  • Easily managed in a web portal
  • Quickly up and running if you need a number sorted ASAP

Answer Calls No Matter Where You Are

Virtual numbers are very flexible, giving you the ability to answer calls no matter where you are. Because you can forward all calls to any number, you can forward all calls to your mobile phone and answer calls no matter where you are.

A virtual number ensures that you aren’t tied to your desk. If you’re in charge of a small company and you want to be out on the road selling or working, a virtual number is very handy. The last thing any small business owner wants is to miss out on potential custom.

A concern for some people is whether or not your customers can tell you’re not sat in the office. To soothe that concern, you should know that there’s no noticeable sign that a virtual number is pointing to a mobile phone. Your customer is going to have no idea that you’re not in the office, so that’s certainly not something you need to worry about.

Improve Your Business Image

This is a particularly notable point for small businesses. If you’re using a mobile number as your main number, it doesn’t look very professional to potential customers looking for the service that you are offering. In fact, it gives off the impression that your business is small, which might put off leads with demanding requirements.

If you use a virtual number, potential customers cannot assume the size of your business based upon the number you’re using. In fact, some businesses use multiple geographic numbers to give the impression that they have numerous offices across the country/continent/world. Virtual numbers are a very effective way to make your business seem bigger than it actually is.

You can have as many virtual numbers as you want pointing to the same number. So you could, in theory, have 5 geographic numbers all pointing to your main office number. This would make it appear that your business has 5 offices while you only have the one. It’s easy to see how you can enhance your business image with effective use of virtual numbers.

Plenty Of Metrics To Improve Your Promotional Campaigns

A lot of businesses use virtual numbers for marketing campaigns, because it makes tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns much easier. You can see how many calls a number gets, so you can easily keep an eye on what campaigns and channels are generating calls for your business.

To ensure that your marketing is working, it’s essential to track important metrics such as the number of calls you’re getting. If you have your main office number on all of your promotional campaigns, how can you accurately gauge the effectiveness of the content you’re putting out?

Some argue that you can put a tracking system in place to accurately determine how many calls you’re getting as a result of your campaign. This can work well to a point, but human error inevitably leads to calls not being tracked properly and so on. By using a virtual number for each of your marketing campaigns, you can easily track where leads are coming from without worrying about the human error element.

Easily Managed In A Web Portal

Worried about the hassle of diverting your numbers? Everyone dreads having to phone their telecommunications company up about stuff, because it’s often a hassle. Fortunately, you can easily manage your virtual numbers yourself in a web portal.

Once your number is configured, you will seldom require the help of the company that set it up for you. Virtual numbers are managed in an easy to use web portal, so forwarding your calls to a different number takes a matter of seconds.

As you can see in the screenshot above, it’s very easy to forward your calls to another destination. All you have to do is change the number next to the box that says number and click save at the bottom of the page. Then all calls will be pointed to that number rather than the number that was there previously. It really is as simple as that.

Not all virtual number managers will look like the one above. However, it won’t be too different to the number manager that I’ve taken a screenshot of. The point I’m making is it’s so easy to mange your virtual numbers!

Quickly Up and Running If You Need A Number Sorted ASAP

Setting up virtual numbers can be done very quickly. You can be up and running within a couple of hours with a virtual number, so you can have a solution in place the same day.

Providers usually have numbers stored that can be activated within minutes. So if you’re launching a last-minute marketing campaign and need a number setting up quickly, it should be possible.

I hope this blog post has helped you to learn more about the advantages of using virtual numbers. Feel free to leave a comment below if you think there are some other benefits worth mentioning!

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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