While you may have an office phone number and a mobile phone, you may want to add a virtual number.
Some customers add or several virtual phone numbers to the mix to create a phone presence in other countries where they do business now or would like to do business.
Virtual numbers are the most portable numbers you can get, and you can change where they ring on the fly. This allows you greater control over when and where you can be reached. Not only can a virtual number make you more accessible, it can also pay for itself. Here’s a quick look at what a virtual number is and how it can pay for itself.
How a Virtual Number Works
If you’re familiar with how a toll free phone number works, you’re already familiar with how a virtual number works. After all, a toll free number rings to whichever local phone number you assign it to.
When your business moves to a new location, your toll free number moves with you. You simply change the “ring to” number to your new office’s phone number. There’s no need to change your marketing materials and business cards when you move your office. The same is true of a virtual number. However, virtual numbers may or may not be toll free, and you can get international virtual numbers.
With a virtual number, you are assigned a local, toll free, or international phone number (depending on your preferences). This number is not tied to a given phone jack or device; it is completely virtual. When you first order your virtual number, you are prompted to designate a ring to number which can be any number you want such as your main office number, your mobile phone number, or your home phone number.
You can change this ring to number at any time and as often as you want. For example, if you want your virtual number to ring to your hotel room when you’re on vacation, you could do temporarily switch the ring to number to your hotel room’s phone.
The Benefits of Getting a Virtual Number
Having a virtual number is beneficial in many ways including, but not limited to, the following:
- You can control when and where you can be reached – While you could give callers your mobile phone number, do you really want to be accessible 24/7? With a virtual number, you can be as accessible as you want without having to give up your personal phone numbers. For example, if you need to be accessible while at a conference, you could have your virtual number ring to your mobile phone. Those callers will never know your mobile phone number. Thus, when you’re at your son’s soccer game over the weekend, you won’t necessarily be bombarded with business calls on your cell phone.
- You can create a business presence virtually anywhere – Whether you serve several cities within your own country or have customers located around the world, you can get a virtual number that’s local to each of your markets and have all of those calls routed to your main office or call center. Your callers will dial a local number, yet the phone will ring wherever you designate the ring to number.
- Your number is portable – There’s no need to change phone numbers when you move your office.
- You can use your virtual number to create a virtual PBX system – Several advanced features common with virtual numbers combine to form a virtual PBX system with features that rival costly systems. Start by creating a custom greeting and configuring the auto attendant to route calls in a manner that makes the most sense for your business.
How a Virtual Number Can Pay for Itself
When you order a virtual number on a no-contract, pay-as-you-go basis, you will incur charges based on usage on a per minute basis. If you have a domestic virtual number, your rates will be flat whereas they will be variable for international virtual numbers. In both cases, you’ll pay for your calls by the minute according to your service provider’s rates. While adding another bill to your business might give you reason to pause, many business owners find that a virtual number quickly pays for itself.
For example, if you travel internationally, receiving phone calls on your mobile phone can result in international roaming rates as high as $1.99 per minute. With a virtual number, you can route your incoming calls to a disposable cell phone purchased at your destination country. Instead of paying nearly $2 a minute, you’ll pay your plan’s rates for the countries involved.
You can also use your virtual number to receive faxes, allowing you to save the cost of a fax machine, separate phone line, and fax supplies such as toner or thermal paper.
Finally, you can use your virtual number to bypass your local long distance carrier and make cheap international phone calls. Simply change the ring to number to whatever number you need to call and dial your virtual number. This allows you to take advantage of your international call forwarding service provider’s low per minute rates for the countries you need to call.
Getting a virtual number can make sense on many levels, and it can pay for itself by slashing your costs in other areas. Is it time to get a virtual number?