International Call Forwarding for Small Businesses

International Call Forwarding for Small Businesses

International Call Forwarding for Small BusinessesInternational Call Forwarding for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you may not necessarily consider your business an international one. However, you may have customers, vendors, manufacturers, suppliers, partners, and colleagues located in other countries. Even if you don’t currently, that could change in the near future. Whether you currently work with others from around the globe, expect to, or want to, setting up an international call forwarding number for your business is an option with numerous benefits for small businesses. Here’s a quick look at what international call forwarding could do for you.

Facilitate International Collaboration

Are you working with an important client from another country? Have you outsourced a part of your business to another person overseas? Setting up an international call forwarding number is one way to avoid international dialing confusion and concerns about costs. With international call forwarding, you establish a virtual number that is local to the country in which your client, partner, supplier, or other party resides. That number looks the same as any other phone number issued in that country; however, it rings to a phone located in your country such as your home office phone or mobile phone.

For example, if you’re based in the United States and have an important client in Portugal, you could get a virtual number from Portugal and set it to ring to your office in the U.S. Your client dials a local number to reach you and does not need to worry about international calling costs or operator assistance. As the international call forwarding account holder, you will pay for forwarding costs on a low per minute basis based on the countries involved.

Enable International Sales from New Overseas Markets

Many small business owners use international call forwarding to enter new markets. For example, if you offer a product or service that appeals to consumers in Brazil, you could establish a Brazilian presence simply by getting a virtual number for Brazil and marketing your offer. Consumers would see a familiar phone number that’s local to their country, yet the phone would ring at your desired location.

Create a Larger Image for your Small Business

Many small businesses appear larger than they are thanks to the ability to add international “locations” through the use of virtual numbers. For example, let’s say that you run an eCommerce store that sells products to customers in North America and the United Kingdom. While you may run your site and coordinate drop shipping out of your home, your customers don’t need to know that. By using international call forwarding, not only can you have an 800 number for your U.S. and Canadian customers to call, you could establish country-specific numbers for callers from Mexico and the United Kingdom to call. At first glance, it appears as though you have offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the U.K. In addition to appearing larger, these local numbers help to ease customer concerns about dealing with a local company.

Reduce International Calling Costs

As the owner of a small business, containing costs is likely a top priority. If you make a lot of international phone calls, you may find it advantageous to use international call forwarding as an alternative to direct dialing. This strategy takes a little price comparison to ensure that your per minute virtual number rates are lower than your phone company’s international calling rates. If they are, then use your international call forwarding’s online account management dashboard to temporarily change the destination phone number to the international number that you intend to call. Once set, dial your virtual number; the phone will ring to the number you just entered. Enjoy your conversation with the knowledge that you are saving money. Once the conversation ends, make sure to go back into your account management dashboard and change the ring to number back to its primary one.

Keep Connected When on International Trips

Another great use for international call forwarding arises when you travel outside of your own country. In many cases, your cell phone won’t work internationally. If it does, international roaming rates may be cost-prohibitive. Set up a local international call forwarding number before you go and distribute it to your family, friends, and colleagues who may need to reach you while you’re gone. When you arrive at your destination, buy a disposable cell phone and then set up your virtual number to ring to it.

Whether you need to collaborate with overseas partners, enter new markets, make your business appear larger than it actually is, reduce international calling costs, or stay connected while traveling, international call forwarding can play a role in making it happen. Not only can international call forwarding help to do all of the above, it can do so more affordably than you may realize. Pay-as-you-go plans with no minimum usage requirements or penalties are available with both excellent service and attractive rates. You may not consider your business international, but it could be. Get your international virtual number today!

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Staying Connected with Virtual Number Call Forwarding

Advanced virtual number call forwarding features are available. For example, if you tend to use several different phones, simultaneous ringing can be set up to ring them all at once.

Staying Connected with Virtual Number Call ForwardingVirtual number call forwarding is a convenient and affordable way to stay in touch with families, friends, and business associates no matter where you may be.

With a virtual phone number, your phone number becomes the ultimate portable number. It can ring to  your main line, your cell phone, your office line, your hotel switchboard, a disposable phone when traveling overseas, and virtually any other phone you may happen to use. Here’s how you can stay connected with virtual number call forwarding.

Virtual Number Call Forwarding Basics

What is virtual number call forwarding? Virtual number call forwarding is a telecommunications service offered by various telecommunications provider. When you order a virtual phone number, you are issued either a local or toll free number (depending on your preferences).

From there, you will be prompted to designate what’s known as a ring to number. For example, you might set up virtual number call forwarding to ring to your main telephone number initially. Then, whenever someone dials the virtual phone number, your main telephone number will ring.

The beauty of virtual number call forwarding is that you can change the ring to number as needed. Let’s say you have the call forwarding number set to ring to your home phone most of the time. When you go on vacation, you can log into your virtual number call forwarding account and change the ring to number to your mobile phone or hotel room phone. Then, whenever someone dials the virtual phone number, instead of ringing to your home phone as usual, your mobile or hotel room phone will ring.

To your friends, family members, and business associates, the transition will be seamless. From their perspective, they’re dialing the same phone number they always dial to reach you. However, thanks to virtual number call forwarding, you can be reached no matter which phone you have by your side.

Using Advanced Features of Virtual Number Call Forwarding

The basics of virtual number call forwarding are useful in their own right. However, there’s more. Advanced virtual number call forwarding features are available. For example, if you tend to use several different phones, simultaneous ringing can be set up to ring them all at once. That way, you can answer whichever phone you have handy and not miss a single call.

Similarly, sequential virtual number call forwarding can be used to send incoming calls to the phones you’re most likely to be using. You could set the first number in the sequence as your main office number. If it’s not answered in specified time period, the next number in the sequence will ring and so on until you reach the last number, typically voicemail, in the sequence.

Another advanced virtual number call forwarding feature allows you to specify which phone should ring at a give time of day. For instance, if you work regular business hours at the office, you could set your office phone number as the ring to number from 9:00am to 5:00pm each business day and then set your home or mobile number as the ring to number for the other times of day. Don’t want to answer your phone at night? Set up calls to go directly to voicemail at night.

Virtual number call forwarding isn’t just about forwarding voice calls to your other phones; it’s also about faxing. You can forward incoming faxes directly to your email address. Not only can you receive faxes virtually anywhere, you can potentially get rid of your fax machine, paper and toner costs, and separate phone line. Your incoming faxes will be delivered as PDF files that you can view and store on your computer.

You can also forward your voicemail messages to email if desired. Incoming voicemail messages arrive in your inbox. Simply click the attachment and listen to your message.

These are but a few of the many ways you can benefit from virtual number call forwarding. Getting a virtual number call forwarding plan is an easy process, and it can keep you connected to your contacts no matter where you go. Use virtual number call forwarding to ensure that you can be reached wherever you are and whenever you want to be reached. If you do not want to be disturbed, you have control over that too.

Best of all, virtual number call forwarding is a cost effective choice. Rather than giving your mobile number to people who might call too much or at inconvenient times, you can give out your international call forwarding number and control when and where you take those calls. This preserves your precious mobile minutes – and your sanity! By using virtual number call forwarding, you can also reduce some of your traditional phone lines such as a separate fax line.

Take advantage of these benefits by getting virtual number call forwarding today.

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Have your calls forwarded to another country while traveling, or at another office

Have your calls forwarded to another country while traveling or at another office

Global Call Forwarding
Global Call Forwarding

It can be a problem for all of us that need to stay in contact with our office with associates,
potential new customers as well as existing clients when we travel.

Enjoy seamless contact with callers while traveling or simply to create a phone presence in another country and have the calls forwarded to a mobile or fixed phone overseas. (local overseas or U.S. phone companies won’t redirect calls internationally, we do)

There are actually two separate solutions for the requirement of keeping in contact while traveling and setting up a virtual number to create an overseas phone presence.

Let’s look at the scenario where you already own a mobile phone in your country but plan on going to another country on assigment or on holiday.  If it’s going to be a holiday, you may not even want any calls forwarded.  But if it’s a business that you have and it’s important to keep in contact with callers, this is how to do it.

#1. Get a virtual number in the same country or locale where you have your mobile number.

#2. Use the built-in call forwarding feature on your mobile to redirect calls to your ‘new’ virtual number.

#3.  Set-up the virtual number to ‘ring to’ the phone number overseas where you’ll be going to, either a fixed line or new mobile.

This strategy enables receiving the calls from your mobile or landline from your original country at your new phone number in your new locale.

Creating a phone presence in another country

Virtual numbers are now offered in appproximately 95 countries and the list is growing. Many customers find that they wish to promote their product or services in another country and using a virtual number is the easiet and quickest way to accomplish creating the local phone presence. The removes the requirement of leasing an office internationally and deploying a support staff to go with it. The virtual numbers can be purchased on a month-to-month basis, so no long term commitment is necessary.

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Get Found with Sequential Call Forwarding

Sequential Call Forwarding
Sequential Call Forwarding

Get Found with Sequential Call Forwarding

If you’re like many business professionals, you’re rarely in one place day-in, day-out. While you likely carry a cell phone with you, you may not want to share your number with everyone for various reasons including keeping your cellular costs to a minimum. How do you limit calls to your cell phone yet stay readily accessible despite your mobile lifestyle? With sequential forwarding.

What is Sequential Forwarding?

Sequential forwarding is a type of call forwarding service that forwards your calls to a series of ring-to numbers in a sequence set by you. If a call is unanswered at the first ring-to number, sequential call forwarding will then route it to the next number in the list. If that number goes unanswered, the call will be routed to the next number, and so on.

For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you may work out of your main office, a branch office, and your home office during the week. In addition, you likely spend a fair amount of time showing clients houses, going on caravan, and attending various business networking events. While you could set your calls to forward to your cell phone whenever you leave your main office, it’s silly (and expensive) to receive cellular calls when you’re sitting at a desk with a landline. Likewise, you may not want to receive cellular calls when you’re grocery shopping or enjoying family time.

By using sequential forwarding, you can set up a ring-to sequence that reflects your most common locations. For instance, you could set your main office number as your primary number followed by your branch office number, home office number, and finally your cell phone. Whenever someone calls your main office number and it goes unanswered, your branch office number will ring. Not at your branch office? Sequential forwarding will try your home office? If the call still goes unanswered, it will try to reach you at your cell phone. Alternately, you could set a voicemail number as your last ring-to number.

How Many Sequential Numbers Can You Have?

Most sequential call forwarding service providers limit the number of ring-to numbers you can have in a sequence to a handful. This is primarily a practical consideration as each ring-to number must be allowed to ring a few times before the call forwards to the next one. If you have too many ring-to numbers in the sequence, your callers may hang up before you’re finally reached.

Sequential Forwarding Considerations

Keep the caller in mind as well as your ability to answer the phone promptly when setting up your sequence. In general, you can specify the number of rings or number of seconds before sequential forwarding will move to the next number.

Finally, consider how each ring-to number is currently set up to handle non-answered calls. For example, if the second number in your sequence is set up to send calls to voicemail after five seconds but your sequential forwarding sequence is set up to forward calls after ten, the call will be sent to voicemail before sequential forwarding has a chance to send it to the next number in the sequence.

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How an International Call Forwarding Number Can Benefit U.S. based Business Professionals

Call Forwarding for Business Professionals
Call Forwarding for Business Professionals

How an International Call Forwarding Number Can Benefit US-based Business Professionals

As a US-based business professional, you likely spend most of your time doing business with other US-based business owners, customers, and partners. Your standard toll free and local phone numbers work fine, allowing you to speak with people from coast-to-coast with minimal costs. However, today’s business world has become increasingly global – and US-based toll free numbers do not work for international callers who need to speak with you. While you could publish your main local phone number, callers from around the world may be uncomfortable dialing it.

Cost concerns and the fact that your number looks odd compared to the phone numbers that they’re accustomed to seeing in their own countries are major obstacles. Fortunately, international call forwarding is a viable and affordable solution to this problem.

International call forwarding works much like an 800 number. 800 numbers essentially forward calls from callers across the United States to your “ring to” number. Callers do not incur costs when they dial toll free numbers; the 800 number’s account holder pays the associated costs and fees.

With international call forwarding, you order a toll free (in a country you require) phone number that is specific to the country where your callers are located. Once you have an international call forwarding number, you then assign a ring-to number to it. Once set up, callers dial a phone number that’s local to their country and the phone rings in the United States at the number you’ve designated.

Why go through the trouble of setting up an international call forwarding number for callers in a different country? For starters, you can expand your service area to include other countries. An international call forwarding number is a low-cost way to establish a local presence in countries outside of the United States. For example, if you want to sell products to customers in Spain, you could advertise your Spanish international call forwarding number throughout Spain. Locals would assume that they’re calling an office in Spain.

International call forwarding numbers are also extremely portable. If you travel frequently and would like to receive phone calls while you’re traveling, you could change the ring-to number of your international call forwarding numbers to ring-to a phone at your current location.

Other useful features include time-of-day routing and local ring tones. Time-of-day routing allows you to change the destination number based on the time the call comes in while local ring tones add to the “local” flavor of the call.

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The Advantages of Toll-Free Call Divert

Toll-Free call divert
Toll-Free call divert

The Advantages of Toll-Free Call Divert

Toll free phone numbers aren’t just for huge corporations. In fact, many solo business professionals and entrepreneurs have toll free phone numbers. However, unlike large corporations with massive telecom budgets, independent professionals don’t necessarily have the resources to man their phone numbers when they’re away from the office. Toll free call divert is the answer.

What is Toll Free Call Divert?

Call diversion is a telecommunications feature that allows a phone service subscriber to redirect, or divert, their incoming calls to another phone number or voicemail. With toll free call divert, this concept applies to a toll free phone number. By default, toll free numbers are already diverted to a designated “ring to” number. Taking that one step further with toll free call divert, the subscriber can change this ring to number as needed.

For example, if you have a toll free number that rings to your home office, you could use toll free call divert to redirect your calls to your mobile phone number whenever you travel on business. The advantages to using toll free call divert are plentiful and include the following:

  • Increased flexibility – Instead of missing calls while you’re away, you can divert them to an alternate number. Similarly, you could use toll free call divert to route calls to voicemail when you absolutely cannot be interrupted.
  • Reduced costs – If you normally use an answering service or hire someone to answer your toll free phone number when you’re traveling on business, you could reduce or eliminate these costs by diverting your calls to your mobile phone or a phone at your current location.
  • Portability – Toll free numbers are among the most portable numbers available due to call divert features. Whether need to divert calls temporarily while on a trip or permanently due to an office move, you can easily do so by changing the ring to number.

How to Divert Toll Free Calls

The specific steps vary based on your toll free call divert plan. For example, some plans allow you to divert calls by entering a code on the phone followed by the new ring to number. Plans with online account management dashboards usually have easy-to-follow prompts, enabling you to quickly change the ring to number online.

Toll free call divert is an easy-to-use feature that can reduce your costs while allowing greater flexibility and portability.

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Rollover Minutes and Call Forwarding Plans

Virtual Number - Rollover Minutes
Virtual Number – Rollover Minutes

Rollover Minutes and Call Forwarding Plans

Thinking about ordering a local, toll free, or international call forwarding plan? If so, one of the options you may want to consider is whether or not the call forwarding plan includes rollover minutes. A rollover minutes option, if available, can provide you with even more flexibility.

What are Rollover Minutes?

You’re likely familiar with the rollover minutes concept thanks to similar offers on long distance and cell phones. Many calling plans, including domestic and international call forwarding plans, are offered in packages where you pay for a pre-determined amount of minutes each month. If you exceed that value, you must pay for the additional minutes you use, often at a slightly higher rate than your bundled minutes. If you do not use up all of your minutes, you generally lose them.

How Not Having Rollover Minutes Costs You Money

For example, let’s say that you have a call forwarding plan with 900 minutes per month. In January, you only use 500 of those minutes. You will have paid for 900 minutes but only used 500 of them. In essences, you’ve overpaid for your usage. Now let’s see what happens in February when you use 1200 minutes. 900 of those minutes will have been included in your call forwarding plan, but you will need to pay for 300 additional minutes at a slightly higher per minute rate.

In this example, not only did you overpay for minutes in January, you had to buy additional minutes in February. If you had a rollover plan, you would have been able to save those unused minutes from January and used them in February. Not only would you be money ahead, you’d still have rollover minutes left to use in March, April, or several months from now. Minutes from each month that you are under your allotment would rollover, allowing you greater flexibility over your call forwarding usage.

Is Adding Rollover Minutes to a Call Forwarding Plan Financially Smart?

Adding rollover minutes to your international call forwarding plan is typically optional and offered for a small monthly fee which could be anywhere from $5 a month to $15 or more per month depending on your plan. In order to determine whether or not this option makes sense for you, you’ll need to examine your usage patterns and do the math.

For example, does your usage fluctuate from month to month or is it fairly stable? If you routinely use just under 200 minutes each month, then AI Telephone’s “Preferred” plan (222 minutes) with no rollover minutes might be suitable.

On the other hand, if your usage goes up and down dramatically each month, being able to “bank” your unused minutes makes a great deal of sense. Once you decide that the rollover option is a possible fit, look at the per month rate for the feature. Will you get more value out of using banked minutes than the fee or does it make more sense to forfeit your unused minutes and pay for overages? Do the math based on your anticipated usage. You’ll likely find that opting for rollover minutes is the financially smarter choice.

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Using White and Black Lists with Your Local and Global Virtual Numbers

Selective Call blocking
Selective Call Blocking

Create White and Black Lists for Your Virtual Phone Number

When calls are forwarded to your global virtual numbers, costs accrue by the minute with rates varying by country. What happens if someone calls your virtual number from an expensive country? What about calls from other countries that are wrong numbers? Unfortunately, unwanted calls can and do occur no matter what type of call forwarding plan you have. Fortunately, you can use white and black lists to allow and block access. Here’s a quick look.

Using White Lists enable Selective Call Blocking

White lists are lists of phone numbers or area codes that you want to reach your virtual number at all times. For example, if you establish a global virtual number in Italy so that your Italian grandmother can dial a local number and reach you no matter where in the world you are, you could place your grandmother’s Italian phone number in your white list and set up your account to block all other calls. This prevents you from being charged for misdialed calls made to your global virtual number yet it allows your grandmother to reach you.

If you operate a local business and serve customers within just a few area codes, you could also use white lists to allow calls from within your designated area codes. This ensures that local callers can reach you while blocking access from callers that you cannot help. For example, if you operate a window washing service in Portland, Oregon, your website could attract potential window washing clients from Portland, Maine. If you receive an excessive amount of phone calls from Portland, Maine, or if you want to avoid that scenario altogether, use a white list to allow phone calls only from the area codes in which you do business.

Using Black Lists with Virtual Numbers

Black lists are the opposite of white lists, though they can be used to accomplish similar effects. Instead of creating lists that allow specific phone numbers or area codes to ring through to your global virtual numbers, you can use black lists to specifically block certain phone numbers or area codes. For example, if your business is constantly being contacted by a disreputable salesperson who won’t take no for an answer or take your number off the list, you could use the black list to block that salesperson’s known phone numbers. You could also escalate your complaint, but blacklisting calls may be faster and more effective.

Similarly, you could block calls from specific area codes. For example, if you have a toll free call forwarding number for the United States, but only serve customers in the continental United States, you could block calls from callers located in Hawaii and Alaska by blacklisting those area codes. You may also want to blacklist area codes such as 876 (Jamaica) that are linked to scams.

Whether to use white lists are black lists or a combination of the two is a personal decision based on how you use your global virtual numbers. It may be easier to whitelist the few area codes or callers that you want to hear from than it is to blacklist all the ones you don’t want to go through. On the other hand, if you only have a few undesirables, then it might be easier to blacklist those and let all other calls go through.

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Localize Your Business with Virtual Phone Numbers

Virtual number call forwarding
Virtual number

Whether you run a regional business or a global one, appearances matter – especially to locals. Having a local phone number immediately reassures potential customers that your company is legitimate and ready to help. What they may not realize is that while yes, you are legitimate and ready to serve, your business may be located thousands of miles away. With virtual phone numbers, you can appear local yet receive phone calls virtually anywhere.

How Virtual Numbers Work

Virtual numbers are a form of call forwarding. Many companies use virtual phone numbers as way of creating a local presence without having to maintain a physical office in the desired country or city. For example, if your business is located in Idaho and you’d like to serve customers in Beverly Hills, you could order and advertise a Beverly Hills phone number. When prospective customers in the Beverly Hills area dial that virtual phone number, the call will ring to your office in Idaho.

With a virtual number, callers are able to reach your business wherever it is located by dialing what appears to be a local phone number. If callers call from within the same local calling area, no toll charges will appear on their telephone bills. As the owner of the virtual phone number, you will pay the charges associated with forwarding the call to your designated ring-to number. This is similar to owning a toll free number in that you, the virtual phone number account holder, pay for the cost of the calls.

The Benefits of Virtual Phone Numbers

Localization is one of the primary reasons businesses use virtual call forwarding numbers. However, the benefits