Virtual Numbers for Startups and Small Businesses

After all, some callers won’t think twice about calling you at all hours. By giving callers your virtual number, they can call you 24/7 yet you won’t necessarily have to hear the phone ring while you’re trying to sleep or spend quality time with your family.

Virtual Numbers for Startups and Small BusinessesStartups and small businesses need to be accessible, yet they often run on a tight budget. Virtual numbers allow entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners to receive phone calls professionally without the expense of a PBX system. Not only that, virtual numbers are highly portable.

Whether you need to work out of a temporary location at first before moving into your office, your virtual numbers can follow you wherever you may go – and your callers will never be aware of your movements.

How Virtual Numbers Work

Virtual phone numbers are essentially call forwarding numbers that are not associated with any given phone line or device. You can order virtual numbers with specific country and area codes so that they are “local” to a given region. For instance, you could order a virtual phone number for Los Angeles and another for Ireland and then set both of those numbers to ring to your New York apartment.

People in LA would see a familiar area code and think that they’re calling your Los Angeles office. At the same time, your contacts in Ireland would see a familiar local number and feel confident dialing your Ireland office without any concerns about paying international long distance charges.

As the account holder of those numbers, you would pay your virtual call forwarding service provider for each minute of service. Depending on the plan, you’d likely pay different rates based on the country of origin. Virtual numbers are quite similar to toll free numbers both in terms of how they work and how they are billed.

With a virtual number, you have complete control over the destination phone number. You can change this number at any time online. If you plan on working at the local coffee house for a few hours, you could change the ring-to number to your cell phone.

When you return to your home office, you could then change the ring-to number to your home office phone. Similarly, if you need to leave the country, you could change the ring-to number to your hotel room or temporary office space.  Meanwhile, your callers will not notice any disruptions because they can reach you as they normally do.

Virtual numbers are available for locations around the world. In addition to domestic and international virtual phone numbers, you can also get toll free virtual phone numbers if desired.

Benefits of Using Virtual Numbers for Your Startup or Small Business

Using virtual numbers can deliver several important benefits for startups and small businesses. Below are just a few to spark your imagination:

  • They can help you compete with “local” bidders. If you’re bidding on a project in another city or country, decision makers may have a preference for doing business with local companies. Getting a local call forwarding number, even if it’s just for short-term use as part of the bidding process, can give your business a local credibility boost.
  • Easy split testing. Use different virtual numbers to split test your advertisements and landing pages. Which phone number receives the most calls? Which phone number generates the most sales?
  • Look bigger. While your startup may be excelling despite the fact that you’re running it out of your garage, you may not want to appear as though you’re working out of your garage. By establishing a toll free number and a few virtual numbers in major cities, you can instantly appear to be a larger company. Many virtual number service plans include auto attendant, music on hold, and multiple mailbox features that can also help your company to look bigger than it currently is.
  • Protect your privacy. As an entrepreneur, you need to be readily accessible, but you may not want to give out your personal mobile phone number or home phone number. After all, some callers won’t think twice about calling you at all hours. By giving callers your virtual number, they can call you 24/7 yet you won’t necessarily have to hear the phone ring while you’re trying to sleep or spend quality time with your family. You decide when to accept calls from your virtual number and when to send them to voicemail or to an assistant.

Virtual numbers are ideal for startups and small businesses alike. With one or more virtual numbers, you can immediately establish your business in a given community as well as appear bigger than you are.

You can also move from one location to another, control where those calls go, compete with local bidders, test your ads, and maintain your privacy. Best of all, you can get virtual numbers on a pay-as-you-go basis with no contract or minimum usage requirements.

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Virtual Call Forwarding Numbers and Enhancing Customer Service

For example, your callers in Italy would dial an Italian toll free number which would then be forwarded to your designated ring-to number in the US.

Virtual Call Forwarding Numbers and Enhancing Customer ServiceDo you serve an international customer base?

Global call forwarding can play an important role in your customer service strategy as well as deliver several important cost advantages. Whether you run an international call center or a small business that serves a couple of different countries, using call forwarding smartly can improve service levels.

Connecting with Customers with a Global Call Forwarding Virtual Number

When properly configured, global call forwarding can ensure that your customers from around the world can reach a customer service representative with minimal hassles. Did you know that a toll free number issued in one country doesn’t necessarily work for callers in another country? While you may have a US or Canada toll free number, callers from other countries such as Italy, Egypt, or China will not get through if they attempt to dial that number.

If you want callers from other countries to be able to reach your business without incurring toll charges, you will need to establish toll free global call forwarding numbers specific to each country. For example, your callers in Italy would dial an Italian toll free number which would then be forwarded to your designated ring-to number in the US.

Setting up a global call forwarding number is not difficult. In fact, the process is similar to setting up a traditional toll free business number. Like a traditional toll free number, toll charges for an international toll free call forwarding number are paid by the account holder and not the caller.

By setting up a toll free global call forwarding number for each country that you serve, your international customers will not need to incur any long distance charges to call your customer service center.

In addition, seeing a local number overcomes potential concerns about calling outside of the country as well as gives callers the impression that they are dialing a company located within their country.

While global toll free numbers work in much the same way as domestic toll free numbers, time zone and language differences add complexity to the equation. If you are serious about serving a global audience, consider staffing your call center with native speakers during hours that coincide with business hours in the callers’ countries. Depending on where your call center is located, you may need to schedule native speaking CSRs to answer calls in the middle of the night.

To ensure the best service possible, you can set up calls to ring to specific extensions based on their country codes as well as route calls based on the time of day they are made. For example, if a call originates in Spain, you could route that call to one of your Spanish-speaking CSRs.

Similarly, if a call from Spain originates after-hours, you could send that call to voicemail as callers are not expecting to be served after-hours.

Global call forwarding isn’t just for large businesses who can afford to staff international call centers. Small businesses often use call forwarding on a smaller scale. For example, if you’re a business consultant with clients in the Philippines, you could establish a phone number in the Philippines and then route those calls to your home office.

Your clients will appreciate being able to call you without incurring high costs, and you can become more accessible. In fact, you’d likely have an advantage over a business consultant who has not bothered to establish a local presence.

Because time differences are a major concern, consider adjusting your work schedule to accommodate clients in your target country. You may have just a small window of time each day that works for both you and your clients. However, by letting them know the best time to reach you, you’ll be better able to connect.

Another option is to use an answering service to prescreen calls that arrive in the middle of the night. Provide your answering service with guidelines as to when to notify you of an urgent call. This can ensure that you’re available to handle emergencies yet not constantly bothered at all hours with non-urgent matters. At the same time, your international callers will reach a live person regardless of when they call you.

Cutting Costs with Global Call Forwarding

Many businesses use global call forwarding as an alternative to physical locations. The cost savings can become significant. It is far more efficient to have a central office than it is to lease office space and staff offices around the world. By keeping operations central, you can also reduce your travel costs as you will no longer need to travel from one office to the next.

Whether you run a large business with international call centers or a one-person consultancy that caters to international clients, global call forwarding is a great way to deliver customer service.

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Become More Flexible with Global Call Forwarding

At the same time, you could establish several international forwarding numbers in countries around the world and have them ring to your call center.

Become More Flexible with Global Call Forwarding
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Whether you run a small business or an enterprise organization, global call forwarding can help you become more flexible and agile.

With global call forwarding, you have several options. For example, you could establish a virtual number that follows you no matter where in the world you may happen to be.

At the same time, you could establish several international forwarding numbers in countries around the world and have them ring to your call center.

Imagine the possibilities! Below are just a few examples of how your company can take advantage of global call forwarding.

Using Global Call Forwarding to Stay in Touch Globally

As an individual who travels frequently, you may want to check into using global call forwarding as a means of staying in touch with employees, clients, and family members back home when you travel overseas. As you know, your cell phone doesn’t always work in  other countries, and when it does, international roaming rates make accepting calls from people back home an expensive proposition.

Many business travels find it cheaper to buy a disposable mobile phone once they arrive in a country but that brings problems of its own. For example, you need to inform everyone that you have a new number for them to call if they need to reach you when you’re in that country. Since the phone number is local to the country you’re in, your contacts will face international long distance charges should they need to call you. Plus, once you dispose of that phone, you’ll need to tell your contacts that that phone number is no longer valid.

With global call forwarding, you establish a local phone number within your own country (or a toll free one depending on your preferences). You can keep this virtual number indefinitely. The beauty of global call forwarding is that you can change the “ring to” number on the fly. When you purchase a disposable mobile phone in a new country, you simply switch the global call forwarding number’s ring to number to your new mobile phone. You do not need to inform your contacts. They simply dial the same number they always dial. Since the virtual number is local to your own country, your in-country employees, clients, and family members do not need to worry about international dialing costs.

Meanwhile, if you use a reliable, low-cost global call forwarding service, the rates that you are charged will be far more affordable than international roaming rates. In fact, you can view per minute rates for each country you frequently visit before you sign up for a plan.

Using Global Call Forwarding to Establish an International Presence

Another way to use global call forwarding for your business is to establish local phone numbers in the countries that you serve and then have those calls diverted to your call center or main office. To customers in various countries, the phone numbers are completely local. They may even feel as though they’re dialing a business across town thanks to the way the number appears and even the sound of the ringtone. However, the phone will ring to your designated number whether it’s in the same country or not. This provides your business with a flexible alternative to setting up physical locations around the world.

Using Global Call Forwarding to Route Calls by Time of Day

Using Global Call Forwarding to Route Calls by Time of DayHaving a global call forwarding number in a different country does bring with it one challenge: global time differences. However, those differences can be dealt with using time of day routing. For example, if a caller calls you during local business hours, how do you want the call handled if it’s the middle of the night your time?

With time of day routing, you can send calls to a live answering service, call center, or voicemail based on the time of day calls take place. Since callers don’t expect to be helped after business hours, you could send those after hours calls to voicemail as expected or, if those calls occur during your normal business hours, you could exceed expectations by handling those calls in real time.

Time of day routing is a flexible feature that allows you greater control over how incoming calls are routed based on the time of day they occur.

Global call forwarding is a convenient, low-cost choice for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a globetrotting executive who needs to stay in touch at all times, a mid-sized business owner who wants to make it easy for international customers to reach your office without investing in a physical location, or a call center manager who needs to staff a call center to handle incoming calls around the clock, global call forwarding can help you become more flexible.

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Time to Get a Virtual Number

This virtual number is not tied to a given phone jack or device; it is completely virtual.

Is it Time to Get a Virtual Number?Whether you run a small business or perhaps operate out of your home, your customers, suppliers, partners, and others need to be able to reach you.

While you may have an office phone number and a mobile phone, you may want to add a virtual number.

Some customers add or several virtual phone numbers to the mix to create a phone presence in other countries where they do business now or would like to do business.

Virtual numbers are the most portable numbers you can get, and you can change where they ring on the fly. This allows you greater control over when and where you can be reached. Not only can a virtual number make you more accessible, it can also pay for itself. Here’s a quick look at what a virtual number is and how it can pay for itself.

How a Virtual Number Works

If you’re familiar with how a toll free phone number works, you’re already familiar with how a virtual number works. After all, a toll free number rings to whichever local phone number you assign it to.

When your business moves to a new location, your toll free number moves with you. You simply change the “ring to” number to your new office’s phone number. There’s no need to change your marketing materials and business cards when you move your office. The same is true of a virtual number. However, virtual numbers may or may not be toll free, and you can get international virtual numbers.

With a virtual number, you are assigned a local, toll free, or international phone number (depending on your preferences). This number is not tied to a given phone jack or device; it is completely virtual. When you first order your virtual number, you are prompted to designate a ring to number which can be any number you want such as your main office number, your mobile phone number, or your home phone number.

You can change this ring to number at any time and as often as you want. For example, if you want your virtual number to ring to your hotel room when you’re on vacation, you could do temporarily switch the ring to number to your hotel room’s phone.

The Benefits of Getting a Virtual Number

Having a virtual number is beneficial in many ways including, but not limited to, the following:

  • You can control when and where you can be reached – While you could give callers your mobile phone number, do you really want to be accessible 24/7? With a virtual number, you can be as accessible as you want without having to give up your personal phone numbers. For example, if you need to be accessible while at a conference, you could have your virtual number ring to your mobile phone. Those callers will never know your mobile phone number. Thus, when you’re at your son’s soccer game over the weekend, you won’t necessarily be bombarded with business calls on your cell phone.
  • You can create a business presence virtually anywhere – Whether you serve several cities within your own country or have customers located around the world, you can get a virtual number that’s local to each of your markets and have all of those calls routed to your main office or call center. Your callers will dial a local number, yet the phone will ring wherever you designate the ring to number.
  • Your number is portable – There’s no need to change phone numbers when you move your office.
  • You can use your virtual number to create a virtual PBX system – Several advanced features common with virtual numbers combine to form a virtual PBX system with features that rival costly systems. Start by creating a custom greeting and configuring the auto attendant to route calls in a manner that makes the most sense for your business.

How a Virtual Number Can Pay for Itself

When you order a virtual number on a no-contract, pay-as-you-go basis, you will incur charges based on usage on a per minute basis. If you have a domestic virtual number, your rates will be flat whereas they will be variable for international virtual numbers. In both cases, you’ll pay for your calls by the minute according to your service provider’s rates. While adding another bill to your business might give you reason to pause, many business owners find that a virtual number quickly pays for itself.

For example, if you travel internationally, receiving phone calls on your mobile phone can result in international roaming rates as high as $1.99 per minute. With a virtual number, you can route your incoming calls to a disposable cell phone purchased at your destination country. Instead of paying nearly $2 a minute, you’ll pay your plan’s rates for the countries involved.

You can also use your virtual number to receive faxes, allowing you to save the cost of a fax machine, separate phone line, and fax supplies such as toner or thermal paper.

Finally, you can use your virtual number to bypass your local long distance carrier and make cheap international phone calls. Simply change the ring to number to whatever number you need to call and dial your virtual number. This allows you to take advantage of your international call forwarding service provider’s low per minute rates for the countries you need to call.

Getting a virtual number can make sense on many levels, and it can pay for itself by slashing your costs in other areas. Is it time to get a virtual number?

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International Call Forwarding for Non-Profits

Using call divert, calls can be routed virtually anywhere the organization needs them to ring at any given time. For example, if a small non-profit organization usually operates in the United States, it could have its international forwarding number ring to its main office in the United States most of the time.

International Call Forwarding for Non-ProfitsNon-profit organizations, like their for profit counterparts, must increasingly do more with less. Pressure from stakeholders and donors often prompt non-profit organizations to take a harder look at how to shave administrative costs so that more of their resources can go toward providing much-needed services or emergency help.

Non-profits can both cut costs and become more accessible internationally by using international call forwarding.

International call forwarding involves establishing an international forwarding number and routing calls to that number to a different phone number known as the “ring to” number.

Using call divert, calls can be routed virtually anywhere the organization needs them to ring at any given time. For example, if a small non-profit organization usually operates in the United States, it could have its international forwarding number ring to its main office in the United States most of the time.

However, when the entire team is mobilized to provide aid in another nation after a catastrophe, it could use call divert to route those calls to its temporary office in the affected nation, a mobile or satellite phone, or to an alternate call center located elsewhere in the world.

Non-profits can use international call forwarding in a variety of ways to cut costs or become more agile – or both. Below are a few ideas for using an international forwarding number.

Create an International Presence with International Call Forwarding

Imagine that you run a small non-profit based in the United States that provides food, clothing, and financial assistance to people in Haiti. While most of your donors are likely located in the United States, some may also be located in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, France, Canada, and the Bahamas.

In fact, each of these countries have a large population of Haitians, many of whom may share your commitment to helping the impoverished nation.

As you develop marketing materials targeted to these nations, you realize that your US toll free number won’t work internationally with the exception of Canada. With international call forwarding, you could create local toll free numbers for Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, France, and the Bahamas and use your main number as the “ring to” number.

To your international donors, your international call forwarding number looks as if it rings to a local office when in reality it rings to a phone in another country. The localization effect can inspire confidence, add a local feel to your non-profit, and overcome potential concerns about making an international long distance phone call.

Create a Virtual PBX with International Call Forwarding

Many international call forwarding service plans come with auto-attendant and call routing features commonly found in more expensive PBX systems. For non-profits that would like the advanced features of a PBX but can’t justify the expense, international call forwarding may be the answer. You can create a customized greeting and divert calls to the appropriate voicemail box or live attendant based on time of day or country of origin.

Receive Incoming Faxes

Fax machines require separate phone lines, plain or thermal paper, and/or ink and toner cartridges. Instead of maintaining a standalone fax machine and regularly spending money on fax supplies, your international forwarding numbers can double as incoming fax numbers. Rather than receiving a paper printout, your incoming faxes are routed to your email address as an image attachment. Since you can check your email from virtually any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet, you can receive faxes even when away from your office.

Make Low Cost International Phone Calls

Since you can change your international call forwarding number to ring to virtually any number in the world, you can also use it to make cheaper international phone calls. You’ll need to double check your per minute calling rates for the countries involved and compare them to the rates of your carrier. If they’re cheaper, and they very well could be dramatically cheaper, then temporarily change your ring to number to the number that you would like to call. Instead of dialing that international number directly, dial your virtual number which will then ring to your designated phone number. This bypasses your local carrier and gives you access to your international call forwarding service provider’s network and rates.

From ensuring that your team can be reached wherever it happens to be deployed and enabling low cost calls from international donors around the world to creating a local presence, gaining access to advanced PBX features, receiving incoming faxes, and making cheap international calls, international call forwarding is a terrific choice for any non-profit organization with a global mission.

Create a global presence and cut your costs at the same time with international call forwarding.

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5 Ways to Use Virtual Numbers for Business

Many business owners prefer that local callers use their main number instead of their toll free numbers due to costs.

Need to expand access to your business globally or locally?

Virtual numbers are a special type of phone number. Because they are “virtual,” these numbers can ring to any phone that you choose worldwide.5 Ways to Use Virtual Numbers for Business

They do not need to be installed at your office or permanently associated with a local or mobile phone number. In fact, you can change a virtual number’s ring-to number as often as you’d like – in real-time.

This flexibility makes virtual numbers extremely portable and beneficial to businesses. Here are five ways (of many) that you can use virtual numbers in your business.

1. Use virtual numbers to test advertising

As you know, advertising is expensive. It is imperative to find out which ads work and which ones don’t. One way to do this is to use a unique virtual phone number with each advertisement. From there, you can look at each number’s activities to see which advertisements are resulting in actual phone calls.

Advertising Results

In addition to looking at the total number of calls each advertisement generates, consider the duration of the calls. Six-second calls, for example, are likely hang-ups whereas five minute calls may indicate a closed sale.

While your phone records can provide robust insights into the performance of each ad, it’s also smart to have your customer service representatives source each sale. With some services, it’s possible to set up incoming calls from virtual numbers to display the virtual number in the caller ID field.

2. Use virtual numbers to create a local presence in a distant city or country

If your business is physically located in Miami, Florida, it makes sense to have a local number as well as a toll free number for your business. Callers from other cities and states would most likely opt to use your toll free number when calling your main office. However, what if you specifically serve cities outside of Miami such as Orlando, Florida or Los Angeles, California? You could get virtual numbers for those cities and then route the calls to your Miami office. By establishing local phone numbers in the cities that you serve, your business instantly appears to be a local company. This strategy can be applied internationally as well. Simply order international virtual numbers and use global call forwarding to route those calls to your main office.

3. Use virtual numbers to ensure you never lose your “main” number due to an office move

Publishing your main office number allows local callers to call your business directly. Many business owners prefer that local callers use their main number instead of their toll free numbers due to costs. However, if you have to move your office, you could lose your main phone number. When that happens, you will have to either re-do all of your advertising, stationary, business cards, and invoices so that they have your new phone number or pay the phone company the going rate to forward your calls to your new number. By using virtual numbers from the beginning, you can keep your “main” number regardless of where your office is located. In fact, you can switch your main office on the fly if so desired. For example, if you want to work from home one day and then work from the office the next, you could instantly switch the ring-to number to ring to your physical location.

4. Use virtual numbers to receive calls on your mobile phone while keeping your mobile phone number private.

If you need to be accessible occasionally but hesitate to give out your cell phone number due to concerns about people calling your cell phone 24/7, consider using a virtual number. When you need to accept calls on the go, you could route the virtual number to your mobile phone without having to give out your private phone number. This is a great way to ensure availability when it’s warranted without being subjected to intrusive calls on your cell phone when it’s not. When you are not on call or when you want to have uninterrupted family time, you can route your virtual number to your assistant, voicemail, an answering service, or some other alternative.

5. Use virtual numbers to control international calling costs.

Since you can change the virtual number’s destination number to any phone number in the world, consider using your virtual number when making an international phone call. Of course, you’ll want to compare per minute rates to make sure that using your virtual number is the cheaper option. In many cases, it will be, especially if you have an international virtual number plan with low per minute rates. When the time comes to make the international call, simply change the ring-to number to the number of the person you need to call. From there, dial your virtual phone number. After the call, make sure to change the ring-to number back to your regular ring-to number or voicemail.

These are but a few of the many ways you can use virtual phone numbers for your business. Test advertising,

Additional ways to benefit with Virtual Numbers

Advanced International Call Forwarding Tips

Once you have a global call forwarding number, your international customers can dial a local number without concerns about international calling costs or conventions.

International Call Forwarding TipsInternational call forwarding provides companies of all sizes with a convenient way to communicate with an international customer base.

Once you have a global call forwarding number (or dozens of them as the case may be), your international customers can dial a local number without concerns about international calling costs or conventions.

Meanwhile, call divert allows a single call center to handle calls from around the world at affordable per minute rates. If you’re familiar with local and global call forwarding, you likely have the basics of this communications method down. Get more out of your virtual number by following these advanced international call forwarding tips.

1. Set up local ring tones

Did you know that the ringing sound you hear when you dial a phone number is sounds different in various countries? After a lifetime of making calls within your own country, wouldn’t you be distracted if suddenly the ringing sound sounded different? Though it’s not overly alarming, a foreign sounding ring tone could cause your callers to pause. It draws attention to itself. If you’d prefer not to distract your global callers in any way or draw attention to the fact that your international forwarding number is unlike other numbers your customers dial, use an international call forwarding plan that has a local ring tone feature. This ensures that your international callers hear the same ring tone that they always hear when calling companies within their countries.

2. Use time-of-day routing

Perhaps the biggest challenge associated with international call forwarding is time differences. Business hours for your main office will not always align with your customers’ business hours. With time of day routing and creative staff scheduling, you can overcome this problem. For each country that you serve, you will need to determine which hours to answer calls live and which to route to voicemail based on local time in the targeted country. With time of day routing, you can designate how calls will be handled based on when those calls take place. For example, you’ll likely want to have agents answer calls during normal business hours for the countries that you serve even if that means you need to bring staff into your call center in the middle of the night. Since call volume is likely to drop after five local time, you can then route those calls to voicemail which frees your staff to handle calls in other time zones.

3. Set up a customized greeting

When your international callers call your virtual number, you can either answer the call in person, send it to voicemail, or let an auto attendant greet the caller and then route the call to the appropriate extension or mailbox. A short, customized greeting in the caller’s language is a friendly, professional option. Each virtual phone number that you have can have its own unique auto attendant greeting.

4. Use Caller ID to route calls to the best agent

Another challenge with global call forwarding involves language differences. If your US-based business serves customers in Italy, Spain, and Brazil, you will have callers that speak Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Obviously, you will want to staff your call center with agents who speak these languages. While you could set each virtual number to ring to your main call center number and then have your agents transfer callers to someone who speaks their language as needed, it’s smarter to use Caller ID to route calls to the right agent in the first place. For example, you could set up routing so that anytime a call comes in using your Italian virtual number, those calls will be routed to the desks of your Italian-speaking agents. The same is true of calls originating from Spain and Brazil. When using Caller ID to route calls, you have two options. You can either have the virtual number displayed or the caller’s own caller ID number. Many companies find it easier to route calls based on the virtual numbers that they have while others prefer to see the caller’s actual phone number.

5. Adjust maximum wait times as needed

Virtual numbers can forwarded through a sequence of numbers, ensuring that should a call go unanswered at one location, the call will be diverted to an alternate number or voicemail. For example, if you have three work-from-home Italian-speaking agents, you could set up your global call forwarding number to ring to agent 1 first. If that call is not answered within a given time period, the call would then be diverted to agent 2, followed by agent 3. One of the problems with such a sequence is that the wait time may be too long; your customer could hang up before the call is finally answered. Fortunately, maximum wait times can be adjusted. You may need to experiment with wait times to find the right balance.

6. Set up simultaneous ringing

If you’d rather have calls answered as quickly as possible, use simultaneous ringing. In the example above, instead of going through a sequence with wait times, all three agents’ phones would ring at the same time.

International call forwarding is an effective tool with a variety of features. Fine-tune your global call forwarding numbers by using advanced features and ensure that your callers receive prompt service from a friendly agent who speaks their language.

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International Call Forwarding for mid-sized Businesses

You can start localizing your business in countries outside of your own through international call divert. You can do so without having to invest in physical locations, local staff, and infrastructure.

International Call Forwarding for mid-sized BusinessesInternational Call Forwarding for mid-sized Businesses

Is it time for your mid-sized business to establish an international presence? Entering new markets with an international forwarding number is a great way to start the process. Not only can you start localizing your business in countries outside of your own through call divert, you can do so without having to invest in physical locations, local staff, and infrastructure. Here’s how an international forwarding number can help you communicate with customers, suppliers, vendors, partners, or employees overseas.

Understanding Call Divert Technology

Call divert technology involves signing up with an international call forwarding service provider. These providers are not necessarily associated with your local phone utility company. In fact, they often use their own networks or contract with major telecommunications carriers to divert your calls. This is especially beneficial in countries where local phone service is substandard and/or expensive.

Once you’ve found a high quality, low cost international call forwarding service provider, you then set up an international forwarding number for the country that you want to establish a business presence in. For example, if your business is located inside the United States and you want to establish a local presence in Chile, you would order a phone number for Chile. To Chileans, this number is just like any other in-country phone number with the correct country code and local area codes. However, since you’re using call divert, whenever someone in Chile dials your international forwarding number, the call would “ring to” the number you’ve designated in the United States.

As the call divert account holder, you will be billed for calls that go through your international forwarding number on a per minute basis. International call forwarding rates depend on the countries involved. They are also sometimes dependent on whether or not a mobile phone was used. In addition, you can order either local or toll free international forwarding numbers.

Using an International Forwarding Number in Lieu of a Physical Location

Using the United States to Chile example above, you should be able to see how using call divert can be an affordable alternative to setting up a physical location in Chile. Some of the costs that you will NOT incur include the following examples:

  • Travel costs – You will not need to fly to Chile to scout physical locations.
  • Office space – Since you won’t need an actual office in Chile, there’s no rent whatsoever.
  • Infrastructure – Aside from the international forwarding number, you won’t need to invest in additional technology. There’s no PBX or computer network required. Simply divert calls to your main office.
  • Local office staff – Since you will not have a physical office in Chile, you will not need to hire employees in Chile to answer your phones. However, you may have some staffing costs as addressed below.

Please note that while an international forwarding number can slash your costs and help you establish an international presence, you will still need to do your due diligence to ensure that your business complies with all applicable trade and business regulations which are beyond the scope of this article.

Staffing Your “Local” Office

While you may never need to step foot in Chile in order to use call divert and establish a presence in the country, you will need to accommodate any callers who use your international forwarding number. Depending on the anticipated call volume, you may need to hire additional staff at your call center or main office to handle incoming calls. Depending on the languages involved, you may also need to hire bilingual customer service representatives.

Let’s say that you’ve determined that three Spanish-speaking customer service representatives will be sufficient for the amount of calls you expect to come through your international forwarding number. Use your call diver’s advanced routing features to ensure that these calls ring specifically to these CSRs.

In addition to staffing your office with bilingual staff, you will also need to consider scheduling your staff during international business hours. For example, the time zone your main office is in may conflict with the time zone for your international forwarding number. If so, you will either need to have staff available during that country’s normal business hours or use “time of day” routing to route callers to an alternate call center or voicemail during business hours.

Advertising Your International Call Forwarding Number

As with any other branch office, your call diver number won’t necessarily ring until you’ve advertised it. Use various advertising channels to let international customers know that you are able to take their phone calls. Whether you advertise locally or use the Internet, using an international forwarding number that’s local to your target countries provides local callers with a comfortable and familiar way to reach your office.

As a mid-sized business looking to establish itself internationally, using call divert is a terrific, low-risk way to get started. International call forwarding facilitates communication with minimal costs.

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