How Small Businesses Can Use International Virtual Numbers in the United States

Virtual Numbers US InternationalIf you currently have remote call forwarding numbers within the United States, you already have an understanding of how beneficial call forwarding numbers are. However, did you know that you can use USA virtual numbers around the world?

If you’re in the United States but do business overseas, one of the smartest — and most affordable — investments you can make is in an international virtual number. USA virtual numbers can be created for dozens of countries but set up so that they ring to your office in the US.

How Can You Use USA Virtual Numbers?

Establishing a local presence in an offshore country is one of several ways that businesses in the United States use virtual numbers. For example, let’s say that you run a small web development agency in the United States and would like to begin offering your services in an emerging country such as Brazil. Instead of renting office space in Brazil, getting a landline, and staffing your Brazilian office, you could simply get a local virtual phone number (or a toll free one) for Brazil and set your ring-to destination to your USA phone. To your customers in Brazil, your USA virtual number looks local, eliminating cost concerns immediately and helping to generate more calls.

Another way you could use a USA virtual number is to set up a toll free hotline with a recording. In countries with limited Internet access, getting information isn’t as easy as we’re accustomed to. If you provide informational services, you could create a recording directly from within your USA virtual numbers account and set up your auto voice response system accordingly. From there, publish the toll free number in the target country and begin sharing your message.

If you travel frequently, you could use your USA virtual numbers when visiting your target markets. For instance, if you’ve already set up a virtual number for Brazil and will be spending a few weeks touring factories and networking with local business contacts, you could make cheap phone calls back home by setting up the ring-to number so that it rings to the appropriate person in the USA. From there, dial your virtual number and connect with your US-based contacts. You’ll get your same low international call forwarding rates and be able to dial a toll free number when in Brazil. If you use your USA virtual numbers to make cheap international calls, make sure to change your ring-to number back to the desired phone number when you’re done.

Whether you want to expand your market, better serve international customers, or make cheap international calls, getting a USA virtual number is a great way to do so. Test the waters by signing up for an affordable, month-to-month plan with no contract.

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3 International Call Forwarding Tips for Budget Conscious Businesses

For example, if your main office is located in Barcelona, Spain and you will be spending a week in Beijing, China, you could order an international call forwarding number local to Beijing and configure its ring to number to ring to your office in Barcelona.

3 International Call Forwarding Tips for Budget Conscious BusinessesWhether you’re an entrepreneur on a budget or an executive tasked with reigning in costs, international call forwarding can play a role in your business plans.

Global call forwarding numbers are readily available for hundreds of countries around the world, and you can use them in a variety of cost-effective ways.

Here are three tips for using  international call forwarding to trim costs and stay in touch.

1. Creating an international presence around the globe. Whether your main office is located in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Australia, or Africa, you can help customers and business partners connect with you by ordering local toll free phone numbers for the countries of your choice and then forwarding those calls to your main office. These international call forwarding numbers give your business the appearance of having a local office; however, you do not need to operate a physical office. Instead, your staff answers the phone at your main office or at a call center located elsewhere. Time-of-day routing, local ringtones, and other features can be used to enhance the experience.

2. Making low-cost international phone calls while traveling. In addition to using international call forwarding numbers to route global calls to a central location, many business professionals order personal call forwarding numbers to use to make low-cost international phone calls while traveling. For example, if your main office is located in Barcelona, Spain and you will be spending a week in Beijing, China, you could order an international call forwarding number local to Beijing and configure its ring to number to ring to your office in Barcelona. Whenever you need to reach your office while in Beijing, you’d simply dial a local number (thus avoiding high international long distance costs and hotel surcharges) and be billed according to the rates offered by your international call forwarding service provider.

3. Remaining available while traveling. Unless you have a pricey global satellite phone, traveling from one country to the next usually means that your mobile phone may or may not work due to cellular network differences. Even if your mobile phone does work in a foreign country, international roaming charges may make communications cost-prohibitive.

While you could let everyone know your hotel phone numbers, this is an impractical solution that requires a great deal of coordination. Plus, you won’t be at your hotel room the entire time. A better option is to order an international call forwarding number in advance, give that number to anyone who will need to call you while you’re gone, and then set it up to ring to voicemail temporarily. Once you arrive at your destination, purchase a no-contract cell phone and then re-configure your international call forwarding number so that it rings to your new cell phone. Repeat as needed as you travel from one country to the next.

International call forwarding is a low-cost solution to several business challenges. Whether you need a temporary phone number in a foreign country or want to build an international presence for your business, affordable global call forwarding plans are available on a month-to-month basis with no long term contracts or early termination penalties.

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What You May Not Know About International Call Forwarding

For example, if the person who usually handles all incoming calls from Italy calls in sick, you could change the ring to number for your Italian call forwarding number to ring to another qualified, Italian-speaking person in your company.

What You May Not Know About International Call ForwardingThink that all there is to using an international call forwarding number is getting the number and then setting its “ring to” number? Think again. Yes, setting up an international call forwarding number can be as simple as that.

However, to squeeze the most value out of your global phone number, you may want to learn more about international call forwarding and the numerous features available to you.

Make an Impact with International Call Forwarding

Getting a global call forwarding number could immediately transform your local business into one with international appeal. For example, if you’ve recently begun selling products in Brazil, listing a toll free Brazilian number on your product packaging would reassure consumers that your business is readily accessible. In contrast, listing a number for a company located in North America, Europe, or Asia may cause Brazilian consumers to reconsider their purchase.

Sound Local with Local Ring Tones

Did you know that the sound of a ringing telephone varies from region to region? A caller may hear a different ring tone when dialing London than when calling Hong Kong. For those who frequently call specific countries, a mismatch between ring tones could be jarring. Avoid confusing callers by using local ring tones whenever possible.

Handle Global Phone Calls Night and Day with an Auto Attendant

One of the biggest potential problems with issuing an international call forwarding number and answering it on the other side of the world has to do with time zone differences. Fortunately, this problem can be handled by an auto attendant. For example, you can set up your global call forwarding number so that it rings to different phone numbers (such as various call centers located around the world) based on the time of day a call comes in. You could also roll calls to voicemail at a specific time.

Create a Virtual PBX with an International Call Forwarding Number

You can take call routing even further by configuring your international call forwarding number so that it serves as a virtual PBX system. For example, you could set up your call forwarding number to greet callers with a recorded greeting. From there, the auto attendant could instruct callers to push specific buttons on their keypads in order to: speak with a customer service representative, reach technical support, get directions to your office, leave a message, or anything else.

Never Miss a Call with Simultaneous Ringing

What happens if ten people call your international call forwarding number at the same time? One option is to set up simultaneous call forwarding to multiple phone numbers at the same time.

Eliminate Your Fax Machine

Tired of paying for an extra phone line for a fax machine that rarely gets used? Your global call forwarding number can accept faxes. Any incoming fax will be converted to a PDF or image document and then emailed to the email address of your choice.

Month-to-Month International Call Forwarding

International call forwarding numbers can be ordered and used on a month-to-month basis with no long term contracts. If you need a temporary or long-term call forwarding solution, these plans provide fantastic features, low rates, and the flexibility your business needs.

Change Your Ring To Number On the Fly

It’s possible to change your ring to number quickly and easily, and as often as you’d like. For example, if the person who usually handles all incoming calls from Italy calls in sick, you could change the ring to number for your Italian call forwarding number to ring to another qualified, Italian-speaking person in your company.

These are but a few of the many ways you can use international call forwarding numbers. Don’t just “set it and forget it,” take advantage of your global call forwarding plan’s advanced features.

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Virtual Business Tools: How International Call Forwarding Can Help

Whether you need to be available for calls from important clients or your family members back home, an international call forwarding number makes reaching you a simple matter with no additional work or international long distance expenses for your callers.

Virtual Business Tools: How International Call Forwarding Can HelpDid you know that a single phone number can partially automate your business?

Getting an international call forwarding number is like having a virtual secretary who can track you down no matter where in the world you may be.

Not only can your global virtual phone number ensure that you can be found, the right international call forwarding service can also deliver a fantastic user experience to your callers.

How a Virtual International Phone Number Can Find You

An international call forwarding number is a virtual phone number that is local to a given country. It does not have a physical location connected to it. Instead, it can be configured to ring to any phone that you designate. For example, you could get a virtual phone number for Ontario, Canada and set it up to ring to your main office, your mobile phone, your home office, or any other phone number you choose – at any time.

You can also set your virtual number to ring to ALL of your designated ring to numbers at once or to ring them sequentially until you pick up. Having a number follow you around is ideal for business professionals who frequently work at different locations. It also allows you to reduce your reliance on your cell phone for business calls when sitting behind a desk. Thus, you can conserve your mobile phone’s minutes. A virtual number also allows you to receive mobile phone calls when necessary while simultaneously keeping your mobile phone number private.

What happens when you need to leave the country? Your international call forwarding number can find follow you. Simply change the ring to number to your overseas contact number such as the phone in your hotel room or temporary office space. Your colleagues back in Canada would call you as they always do by dialing the same phone number. Meanwhile, you would receive the call in a different country. Callers may not even realize that you’re not in your Ontario office!

Virtual Number Benefits to Callers

This brings up another important point about international call forwarding: your callers’ experience. Whether you need to be available for calls from important clients or your family members back home, an international call forwarding number makes reaching you a simple matter with no additional work or international long distance expenses for your callers. They simply call you as they normally do using the same local or toll free number.

On your end, you can configure your virtual number in a variety of ways to enhance the caller’s experience. For example, if you’ve traveled out of the country and into a different time zone, you might want to set up time of day routing so that calls are routed to voicemail while you sleep.

Creating a Virtual PBX

Whether traveling abroad or setting up your main office, you may want to create a virtual PBX with your international call forwarding number. Advanced auto attendant features allow you to greet callers and prompt them to make specific choices such as “press 1 for sales; 2 for service.”

A single international call forwarding number can serve a variety of purposes and partially automate your business. Use a virtual number to receive calls no matter where you may happen to be, to ensure a consistent caller experience, and project a professional image.

Best of all, international call forwarding plans are affordable and available on a month-to-month basis – and hundreds of countries are supported.

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Types of Virtual Numbers

Virtual numbers with simultaneous call processing also ensure that callers do not hear a busy signal.

Types of Virtual NumbersVirtual numbers come in two basic flavors

Local and Toll Free. With a local virtual number, you are not restricted to numbers available to your locally. In other words, if you live in San Diego, California, you are not restricted to San Diego numbers. You can get local numbers for cities all over the world and have them ring to any phone you choose.

Toll free numbers are toll free versions such as 800 and 888 numbers. Like local virtual numbers, you can get toll free virtual numbers for various countries including the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and dozens of other countries.

Both local and toll free virtual numbers involve routing calls to the phone number that you designate. As the virtual number account holder, you would be responsible for paying the costs associated with forwarding those calls to your ring-to number.

You can choose a plan that includes monthly minutes or begin with a buy-the-minute plan and can decide to change the plan later after you know your typical usage pattern.  The plans are month-to-month so there are no long term contracts.

How Virtual Numbers Make You Look More Professional

Having a toll free number for your business immediately makes your business look larger and more professional. It shows that you are serious, and it eliminates any concerns callers may have about dialing long distance.

If you’d like your business to appear more professional, consider setting up your virtual number with an auto attendant. This is an affordable alternative to a traditional PBX. You could assign separate mailboxes for individuals or departments and have the auto attendant route calls based on the caller’s choices. For example, your auto attendant could prompt users to “press 1 for sales, 2 for accounting, and 3 for shipping.” This is an efficient way to route calls to the appropriate person, and it can also give the illusion of a larger operation.

In addition to routing calls based on caller input, you could also take advantage of a lesser known feature called time of day routing to route calls. For example, if a call comes in after 5:00 PM, you could have it automatically sent to voicemail. You could do the same at lunch time.

Virtual numbers with simultaneous call processing also ensure that callers do not hear a busy signal. When several callers dial the virtual number at once, the extra calls will be sent to the next available extension or voicemail.

In addition, virtual numbers can also double as fax numbers. Whenever someone needs to send you a fax, they can fax documents directly to your virtual number and you’ll receive it as an email attachment. You’ll never miss a fax again due to a lack of paper, toner, or ink. Plus, you’ll no longer need to maintain a separate fax line and fax machine.

Virtual numbers can also make you look local which in turn can increase your credibility.

For example, if you run a small mom-and-pop graphic design firm in a rural community, you may have difficulty competing with firms from New York City simply because of your rural location. By ordering a virtual number with a New York area code, your business can overcome this perceptional problem.

Overseas example

You offer a service on the Web and are located in London.  Since your customers are located worldwide, you want to make it easy for a customer in Argentina or Costa Rica to reach you.  You have the option to own an Argentina local number in Buenos Aires or an Argentina toll-free number.  For Costa Rica, choose from Costa Rica toll-free or a national Costa Rica number.  The possibilities include your ability to acquire a local number in a country of your choice spanning most of the civilized world.

From setting up a toll free number to creating a virtual PBX system and beyond, virtual numbers can help small businesses and solo professionals look more professional. Even better, virtual numbers are an inexpensive alternative to traditional phone systems and fax machines.

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10 Ways to Use Global Call Forwarding

Use global call forwarding numbers to appear larger and more capable.

10 Ways to Use Global Call ForwardingGlobal call forwarding using virtual phone numbers can be used in a variety of ways, allowing you to connect with international friends, family, colleagues, partners, and customers using a single virtual phone number. Below are 10 ways to use global call forwarding to connect with others around the globe.

1. Use a global call forwarding number to keep in touch with family members living abroad. If you have family members living in another country with high international calling costs, consider ordering a global call forwarding number that’s local to that country. Once established, your family members would dial a local phone number that forwards to the destination number in your country. You would pay a fixed per minute price that’s typically much lower than the host country’s rates.

2. Using a virtual number to stay connected when traveling the world. If you travel around the world, you could order a global call forwarding number that’s local to your home country and give that number to your family, friends, and colleagues to call.

As you move from one country to the next, simply change your ring-to number to your new local phone. Your contacts back home would dial a local or toll free number and you’d pay a low per minute rate.

3. Set up shop in another country. Want to start offering products and services overseas? Instead of setting up a physical location in another country, consider setting up a virtual location with an international call forwarding number. Your customers would dial a local phone number to reach you no matter where in the world you actually are.

4. Use a global call forwarding phone number to receive international faxes. Instead of maintaining separate international phone and fax lines, sign up for a global call forwarding number with a fax-to-email feature. Whenever someone needs to send you a fax from that country, they’d simply fax the document to you using the call forwarding number. You’d then receive an email containing a PDF of the faxed document. Not only does this eliminate the need for a separate phone line, it also means that you can get rid of your fax machine and its ongoing expenses.

5. Use global call forwarding numbers to appear larger and more capable. If you would like your business to appear larger, ordering several virtual phone numbers can instantly give your business an international boost.

6. Use virtual numbers to establish yourself in a given country. Are you headed to an international conference where you have the potential to close business deals with partners around the world? Consider establishing global call forwarding numbers in your target countries and then print up business cards with your new phone numbers. Your prospects will likely feel confident calling you from their home countries thanks to your local presence.

7. Use global call forwarding to avoid costly international roaming rates. When traveling internationally, your mobile phone may or may not work at your destination. Even if it does work, you could be faced with sky-high international roaming rates. A better option is to order a global call forwarding number and then buy a disposable cell phone at your destination. You can then designate your new mobile phone as the ring-to number and receive your calls no matter where you go.

8. Use global call forwarding to control when and where you receive international phone calls. International call forwarding plans typically allow you to change the destination phone number on the fly. In addition, many plans have a “time of day” routing feature where you can preprogram how calls are handled based on the time of day they are made. For example, if you do not want to be disturbed between 6:00PM and 5:00AM local time, you can configure your phone number to route any calls between those hours to voicemail.

9. Use global call forwarding in an international call center. Global call forwarding numbers can be routed to an international call center where you can have customer service agents available to handle incoming calls. If you have multiple call forwarding numbers, you may want to route calls to specific agents based on country codes. Similarly, you can route calls to different call centers based on time of day.

10. Use global call forwarding to reduce international calling costs. With low international calling rates and the ability to switch ring-to numbers on the fly, many people have found that global call forwarding is a cost-effective way to make international long distance calls. Rather than dialing directly, you can change your ring-to number to the number you’d like to call and then dial your global call forwarding number. This bypasses the traditional system, puts you on your call forwarding provider’s network, and gives you access to low per minute international calling rates for dozens of countries around the world.

Global call forwarding is a versatile solution to a number of international calling scenarios.

How will you use your global call forwarding number?

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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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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.