International Event Planning with Global Conference Calls and Virtual Phone Numbers

Let’s say that you will be planning upcoming trade shows taking place in Toronto, Canada; New York, New York; and Berlin, Germany.

Tasked with organizing an international event such as a conference or trade show? If so, you’ll likely need to coordinate with speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and participants from around the world.

While project and task management tools will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done, you’ll need a reliable, convenient, and affordable communications method for making dozens of international and group calls.

Consider signing up for a pay-as-you-go international conferencing plan and getting international virtual phone numbers. Here’s how each can help you organize your next event.

Using Global Conference Calls for Event Planning

Let’s say that you will be planning upcoming trade shows taking place in Toronto, Canada; New York, New York; and Berlin, Germany. For each venue, you’ll need to hold conference calls with caterers, facilities managers, stage managers, public relations professionals, and other people both locally and within your own home country.

Holding a traditional conference call proves difficult because many participants can’t dial your country’s toll free number and may balk at dialing direct due to concerns about the potential cost.

By using a pay-as-you-go global conferencing plan, you can hold international group calls as needed as well as issue local phone numbers for Toronto, New York City, and Berlin.

Everyone dials a local number, yet they’re connected to your global conference call. It’s that easy, and by using a pay-as-you-go global conferencing plan for your event planning calls, you pay only for the minutes you use. Once you no longer have a need for international conference calls, you can stop using the service with no worries about monthly fees or early termination penalties.

Using Virtual Phone Numbers for Event Planning

Many of your calls will be one-to-one, making it smart to also get virtual phone numbers for your contacts to call you. In this example, you could get a virtual phone number for Toronto, Canada; another virtual number for New York City; and another one for Berlin, Germany.

  • Create a convenient method for your contacts to reach you — Use these numbers to interact with local vendors, facilities managers, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, PR personnel, and others involved in planning or participating in your event.
  • Give prospective attendees a local number to call — Publish virtual phone numbers on your website and other marketing materials to give your international attendees a local means of contacting you, the event organizer. While you may be physically located in another country, participants from Canada, USA, and Germany will be able to call you using a local virtual number for the country they are in.
  • Use your virtual numbers to make low-cost international calls — Since you can change the ring to number of a virtual phone number to any phone, you could use your virtual phone number to make cheap international long distance phone calls. For example, while in Germany, you could change the ring to number of your Germany virtual number to your office in Singapore. Instead of risking your hotel’s service, simply dial a local number and take advantage of the low per minute rates from your international virtual phone number service.

These are but a few use cases for both global conference calls and virtual numbers.

We’d love to hear how you’ve put these services to work for you.

 

Establishing a Local Presence with a Uruguay Virtual Number

View from Artigas Hill in MInas, Lavalleja, UruguayWith roughly 3.3 million people as of 2013 estimates and consistently gaining attention as one of the world’s fastest developing nations, establishing a local presence in Uruguay could be a smart move. One of the best ways to tap into this market is with a Uruguay virtual number.

Why Set Up a Uruguay Virtual Number?
Uruguay is a representative democratic republic with a freely elected president – and a growing, free market economy. Its economy has an export-heavy agricultural sector with soybeans, horse meat, greasy wool, and beeswax among its main exports.

The Port of Montevideo handles well over 1 million containers each year, and Uruguay has the one of the most developed telecommunications systems in Latin America.

Setting up a Uruguay virtual number allows your business to appear as if it is operating inside of Uruguay. It’s a low-cost way to get started in the Uruguay marketplace.

For example, if you offer import/export consulting services to the agriculture industry, having a local Uruguay virtual phone number would allow your clients in Uruguay to call you directly using a phone number that makes it appear as though your office is just down the street. Your clients may feel more comfortable working with someone with a local presence – and they’ll appreciate being able to dial a local or toll free phone number.

How Your Uruguay Virtual Number Works
When you get a local or toll free Uruguay virtual phone number, you are getting what’s known as a remote call forward number. The number itself is local to Uruguay so callers do not need to be concerned about international calling costs. The Uruguay virtual number, however, rings to the phone line of your choice – and your “ring to” phone can be located virtually anywhere in the world.

For example, you could set up your Uruguay virtual number to ring to:

  • An office phone in New York
  • A call center in Madrid
  • A mobile phone in Tel Aviv

The options are practically unlimited! In fact, you can change the ring to number as your needs change or even program a different destination based on the time of day it is in Uruguay.

Virtual Uruguay phone numbers come with a variety of features and options such as auto attendant, time of day forwarding, local ringtones, rollover minutes, and more. You can even set up an optional call recording feature where all of your calls from your Uruguay virtual number are automatically recorded.

If you’ve been considering a move into the Uruguay market, getting a virtual number is an excellent way to establish a local presence and begin communicating with callers in the country. Ordering a Uruguay virtual number is easy and affordable. Select your new Uruguay virtual phone number now.

What do you think?

We’d love to hear about your experiences. How have you used virtual phone numbers in Uruguay or other nations?

View worldwide database of Virtual Numbers here

International Conferencing and Communication Tools for African Startups

It’s an exciting time to be an African entrepreneur. Extend your reach with international conference calling, mobile international conferencing solutions, and international virtual numbers

Africa is a hotbed for entrepreneurs right now. Last year, Tony Elumelu, an economist, philanthropist, and advocate for entrepreneurship, declared 2015 the year of the African entrepreneur. In a recent commencement address, Elumelu said, “All they need is a business idea and the commitment to succeed.” That’s the simplified version, but the climate is ripe throughout Africa for startups and entrepreneurs to succeed.

While ideas and commitment are essential ingredients, mobile technology has played a prominent role in facilitating entrepreneurship in Africa — and it will continue to do so now and in the future. Below are some of the most important international conferencing and communication tools for African entrepreneurs and startups:

International Conference Calls

Africa is a complex continent with 54 member states of the United Nations from Algeria to Zimbabwe. While many African entrepreneurs may start local businesses, others may interact with customers, business partners, mentors, and suppliers throughout the continent — or around the world for that matter. International conference calls in Africa allow participants to connect to a group phone call by dialing either a local or toll free number specific to the country that they are in.

For example, an African entrepreneur in Ghana could host an international conference call with participants located in Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia. Instead of requiring each to dial a Ghana phone number, the entrepreneur would issue local or toll free phone numbers for Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia — making it easy and affordable for all participants to call. If that same international conference call has participants located in the United States, Spain, China, and elsewhere around the globe, the host of the call could issue additional local or toll free numbers specific to those countries.

Mobile International Conferencing

As important and convenient as international conference calls are to African entrepreneurs, mobile international conferencing tools are even more important.

Last year, according to StatCounter, mobile Internet usage soared by 67 percent around the world with mobile usage having overtaken desktop usage Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Mobile Internet usage in Africa is certainly helping to fuel entrepreneurship throughout the continent.

For entrepreneurs hosting conference calls, it’s more likely than not that their go-to device is a smartphone rather than a desktop. Thus, international conferencing services catering to this market need to make it easy to schedule, coordinate, and manage international conference calls via mobile apps and mobile-friendly sites.

International Virtual Numbers

Finally, African entrepreneurs can benefit from international virtual phone numbers. While an entrepreneur may be physically operating from Ghana, for instance, he or she could also set up local phone numbers in other countries throughout Africa. Callers from Nigeria would dial a Nigerian phone number, but the call would be forwarded to the Ghana business.

International virtual numbers can be used for convenience — to make it easier for international callers to reach your business — or to create a local presence in locations outside the country.

It’s an exciting time to be an African entrepreneur. Extend your reach with international conference calling, mobile international conferencing solutions, and international virtual numbers — each of which can save you money as well as give you access to superior telecommunications networks than may be available to you locally.

How have you been using international conferencing or virtual phone numbers in Africa?

Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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Global Virtual Numbers

Global Conferencing

Sources:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201505121744.html

http://answersafrica.com/how-many-countries-are-in-africa.html

http://gs.statcounter.com/press/mobile-internet-usage-soars-by-67-perc

The Ultimate in Phone Portability – a Virtual Phone Number

Ensure your callers can reach you regardless of where you are or which physical phone you currently have access to.

Not too long ago, moving to a new home or office location meant abandoning your old phone number and getting a new one. Not only was getting a new phone number a hassle for you, it was also a hassle for all of your contacts who needed to change their records and automatic dialers. Businesses could convert their old main numbers to call forwarding numbers but tended to phase those out over time.

For residential users, VoIP and telephone number portability eventually arrived, opening the doors to taking your old phone number with you. Those options still exist, but a new option has emerged offering the ultimate in phone portability: the virtual phone.

Why Order a Virtual Phone?

A virtual phone is one that essentially resides in the so-called cloud. When you order a virtual phone, you are issued a phone number which you can then assign to ring to any other phone number in existence. Because you can change your virtual phone’s ring to number at will, you can take your virtual phone with you wherever you go. The possibilities are unlimited.

For example, you could use your virtual phone to:

  • Route calls to your mobile phone
  • Route calls to your home’s landline
  • Route calls to a hotel room phone when traveling
  • Route calls to your main office
  • Route calls to a back office line
  • Route calls to a temporary workspace phone
  • Route calls to a colleague’s phone
  • Make cheap international long distance calls by changing the ring to number
  • Route calls to a disposable cell phone when visiting another country
  • Use the virtual phone number’s calling features to create a virtual PBX system
  • Ensure your callers can reach you regardless of where you are or which physical phone you currently have access to

Where to Get a Virtual Phone

Due to its virtual nature, you’re not buying a physical phone per se but rather a call divert service that routes incoming calls to a designated phone number. aitelephone.com offers an affordable virtual phone service suitable for domestic and international call forwarding. Simply select an international virtual number that makes the most sense for you and sign up for a pay-as-you-go virtual phone plan.

Once established and configured, give your new virtual phone number to your contacts and let them know that they can use this number to reach you no matter where you may be. From there, you can use the online account management tool to change your ring to number as needed and change any personal preferences you wish.

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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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International Call Forwarding – A Frugal Tool for International Calls

You will be billed by the global call forwarding service provider for the call forwarding service at its low per minute rates.

International Call Forwarding - A Frugal Tool for International CallsYour college student just announced that she’s been accepted at a prestigious international university.

Though everyone’s excited, you may wonder how you’ll stay in touch or be concerned about the cost of international phone calls.

International call forwarding is a frugal option for international college students and their parents.

Low Cost Ireland to US Phone Calls

Let’s use Ireland and the United States as an example. If your college student will be attending a semester in Ireland, she’ll need an inexpensive way to call her family and friends in the United States. Likewise, you’ll need a cheap way to call her in Ireland.

Start by ordering an international call forwarding number that is local to the city in Ireland where her university is located. Set the “ring to” number to your home phone number. When in Ireland, she will dial a local Irish phone number whenever she wants to call home. The phone will ring at your house in the United States. In Ireland, that call will be treated as any other local phone call. Her local phone carrier will not impose international long distance charges because it is essentially a local call. You will be billed by the global call forwarding service provider for the call forwarding service at its low per minute rates.

Low Cost US to Ireland Phone Calls

Next, set up an international call forwarding number that’s local to your family in the United States. For example, if you live in San Diego, get a local San Diego phone number in your local calling area. Set up this number’s ring to number to your daughter’s dorm room number back in Ireland. Since you’ll dial a local San Diego phone number each time, your phone company will treat it as any other local call. Again, your international call forwarding service provider will bill you its low-cost international call forwarding rates.

Depending on how generous you want to be, you could share this local phone number with your college student’s friends who remain in the area. Keep in mind, however, that you will be billed for any calls others make using your call forwarding number.

Using a global call forwarding service while your college student is studying abroad is a fantastic way to keep your communications costs low during the school year. Month-to-month plans and low international call forwarding rates make global call forwarding a fantastic, frugal choice.

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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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Global Call Forwarding – The Perfect Solution for Businesses and the Pros that Power Them

While you could skip the international call forwarding number and simply inform all of your contacts of your temporary phone numbers, doing so requires you to inform everyone who may possibly have a need to reach you.

Global Call Forwarding: The Perfect Solution for Businesses and the Pros that Power ThemGlobal call forwarding is a versatile telecommunications method that helps businesses and business professionals stay in touch around the globe. From a business perspective, setting up an international call forwarding number makes it possible to appear local in various countries while also allowing for affordable international calls. From a business professional’s perspective, global call forwarding ensures that calls continue to come through despite frequent international travel.

How Global Call Forwarding Connects International Customers to Businesses in Faraway Countries

Businesses often establish local phone numbers in external countries and then use call forwarding to route those calls to their main office or call center.

For example, if you operate a business in the United States and would like consumers in Brazil to be able to call your US office, you have two choices:

  • Give them the direct line to your US office (because a North American toll free number won’t work in South America)
  • Establish a local number in Brazil and call forward it to your US office.

Think about perceptions for a moment. If you give a Brazilian customer a US number to dial, the customer may worry about costs or be concerned about dealing with an international company. There may also be concerns about language or time zones.

In contrast, if you give a Brazilian customer a Brazilian phone number to call (either local or toll free), the customer will see a familiar number and costs won’t even be considered. From the customer’s perspective, it’s a local phone number; thus, language and time zone differences are not a concern either.

In addition to overcoming concerns about costs, time zones, and language, a global call forwarding number can also be used in lieu of establishing a local office. Imagine the costs of renting office space and staffing local offices in just three countries compared to ordering three international call forwarding numbers.

Now multiply that by the number of countries you want to serve. The savings are significant, and you would be able to handle all of those calls in a central office.

How Global Call Forwarding Allows Business Professionals to Be Found Around the Globe

Global call forwarding is also beneficial to business professionals who travel frequently. By setting up an international call forwarding number, you can be found wherever in the world you may be. Not only can you be reached internationally, your callers can do not need to do anything special in order to reach you. Below are a few of the many benefits of global call forwarding:

  • One number can reach you anywhere in the world – Once you establish a global call forwarding number, you can set it up to ring at the number of your choice at any time. For example, you might start by setting its ring-to number to your main office phone number. When you head to Hong Kong for a few months, you can set your ring-to number to your office phone in Hong Kong. When you go on vacation in France, you can change your ring-to number to your hotel room in Paris. No matter where you are, your callers can reach you.
  • Easy for callers – While you could skip the international call forwarding number and simply inform all of your contacts of your temporary phone numbers, doing so requires you to inform everyone who may possibly have a need to reach you. Not only that, your callers may be hesitant to dial an international phone number due to unfamiliarity with the process as well as concerns about international calling costs. By forwarding your calls as needed, you no longer need to inform others about how to reach you and your callers no longer need to be concerned about the technicalities or costs involved in reaching you when you’re out of the country.
  • Complete control over access to you – Setting up an international call forwarding number also gives you complete control over when and where you can be reached. Using advanced features such as time of day routing ensures that if a call comes through in the middle of the night, it will be sent to voicemail. Likewise, if you’d prefer not to give out your cell phone number but need to take calls on your cell phone when out of the office, you could simply forward your calls to your cell phone when needed. This allows you to take the calls at your convenience when out and about without having to reveal your personal cell phone number to customers, colleagues, and business partners.

Whether you would like to extend your business’s reach to other countries or need a convenient way to receive phone calls when traveling outside of the country, global call forwarding is the perfect solution.

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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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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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