Starting a business is expensive, especially if you don’t have a solid source of capital. The initial cost incurred is off the charts, and if not well budgeted, you can lose the money you never intended to. You run the risk of falling into debt.
Do you want to save money and maximize profits? Using a virtual phone number for your business communication may be one way to do this. Read on for a better understanding of virtual phone systems.
What is a Virtual Phone Number?
A virtual phone number is a telephone number not tied or bonded to any address, sim card, device, or phone. This number uses the internet to make telephone calls.
To illustrate, here are three differences between a virtual number and a physical number.
- Unlike physical numbers, which need phone equipment, sim cards, and other devices to operate, virtual numbers don’t require specialized equipment.
- Physical numbers need phone lines to work. Without these lines, these numbers stay disconnected.
- Physical numbers using landlines rely on phone networks made of copper wire. On the other hand, a virtual phone number can work on any communication device ranging from laptops to phones.
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How Virtual Numbers Function?
As mentioned earlier, virtual phone numbers don’t need regular sim cards to work. All that these numbers need is secure internet connectivity. They work by forwarding calls to a device connected to the internet.
Virtual numbers, also called Direct Inward Dialing (DID) or Secondary Numbers, use the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. This technology is relatively common, and you may have used it when making calls on WhatsApp or iMessage.
Virtual numbers are the best form of communication for a start-up business. They are not only cost-effective but also have unique features. Here are some of these features.
Features of Virtual Phone Numbers that are Useful for Startups
Virtual phone numbers will help you effectively communicate with your customers. These numbers can support many features which are essential to enhance communication in your business. Some of these features include:
You can record any calls you make on your virtual business number. The beauty of this is that you can replay these recordings any time you want.
Additionally, in case of any misunderstandings, you can always replay these recordings for clarification. They also come in handy as hard evidence when things go haywire with customers and you are held liable.
Virtual phone numbers also support call screening. This feature enables you to know who is calling and automatically divert them before you answer the call. This feature is useful, especially when you are expecting an important calling.
Nowadays, most people prefer sending messages to calling. With this SMS forwarding feature, you can send and receive text messages without incurring extra charges as all this is done over the internet.
Virtual phone numbers have call conference features that will enable you to hold meetings efficiently. You will be able to meet with your clients and suppliers virtually at no extra cost. These numbers also have a user interface that is easy to use. You don’t have to travel to meet your clients or suppliers; you can have a conference call and meet them remotely.
This phone system has a rather exciting feature for voicemails. Your voicemails are automatically sent to your email inbox, where you can read them. It saves you the hustle of having to listen to hundreds and hundreds of voicemails. With this feature, you can read feedback from your customers and reply to them in real-time.
Simultaneous Call Handling
Customers calling your business don’t fancy waiting in line or dealing with busy signals all the time. Virtual phone systems will help you improve your communication since they support multiple call handling. The system also makes it easier for you to manage high call volume.
Toll-free, Local Phone Numbers
The only charges you incur when using virtual numbers are internet charges. This is of great benefit to your business since it saves you money. In addition to this, virtual numbers are flexible enough to switch from one device to another.
Also, most service providers offer low-cost virtual numbers installation plans. For maximum efficiency, consider getting a dedicated business phone number. A virtual phone system supports this as well.
Reasons Why You Need a Virtual Phone Number for Your Startup
A virtual phone number is a necessity for your business. Here are a few benefits that point to all the reasons why you need this system.
Improved communication with your customers
You can receive your calls on the go, tablet, desk phone, or mobile device. These numbers are compatible with almost any communication device, so you don’t have to be tired down with bulky landlines. Virtual numbers ensure that you never miss a call from your client.
“With a Virtual phone number, you will always be accessible to your customers and suppliers. This is because, in contrast to traditional numbers, a virtual phone number allows you to divert and receive your calls whenever and however you want.” – as mentioned by Peter Antoniou, the Managing Director at Edgility, in one of his recent interviews.
Business is all about maximizing profits and minimizing expenses. A virtual phone number is cheap to use as the only cost you incur is the internet cost. With this system, you `get to enjoy multiple numbers at the price of only one connection. You can maximize this by allocating a different number for every department in your business.
Furthermore, in comparison to carrier-based calls, virtual phone systems are cheaper and reliable. You also don’t have to pay for expensive hardware such as new mobile phones for your virtual numbers. These numbers are compatibles with most communication devices, and you can even take calls on your computer.
Smooth communication between you and your customers improves productivity. With a virtual system, you can easily keep track of your business from wherever you are. Apart from calling your customers, you can also send them promotional faxes and voicemails. This may increase your customer base and consequently improve your sales.
A virtual phone number makes your business look legit and professional. With this network, you can create a professional outlook for your business. It also makes it easier for you to build your brands through advertising.
Customers are comfortable dealing with a business number rather than a personal number. A virtual phone number gives you a platform to get a business line.
In contrast to traditional phone numbers, you don’t need a contract to enjoy virtual phone number services. This, in turn, saves you money. Virtual numbers are paid off with a once-off payment plan.
Every phone call, message, fax, and voicemail you send or receive on your virtual number is backed up. This protects all your data, such as customer information, from unforeseen circumstances. The presence of a data center on this system minimizes the risk of losing all data in a technical hitch.
Improved caller satisfaction
Virtual phone systems usually come with virtual auto attendants. These attendants are usually bots and can be configured and automated to respond to your customers’ queries. This keeps them engaged while they wait to be patched through to the next available agent. The feature makes sure that a client is attended to by the right person.
Separate business from personal phones
Most startups make the mistake of using personal phones to make business-related calls. Although it is common among small business owners, it is not recommended.
A virtual phone number will help separate business from your personal life. That said, even if you choose to use the same number to make business calls, this system will hide your identity. All you need to do is select business hours for the virtual phone number to accept or reject calls.
Dealing with Virtual Phone Frauds
Using a virtual phone number has many benefits. Still, you are at risk of Virtual phone frauds and scams. Nowadays, the internet is accessible to all and sundry, which has led to an increase in online scams. Small businesses and start-ups are prime targets for scams since they are viewed as green and inexperienced in handling online transactions.
There are several ways you can protect your business from cons. Here are a few examples:
- Update your virtual phone systems periodically. An updated version is harder to hack into.
- Avoid using public WI-FI. If you must use it, then consider getting a VPN.
- Install the latest anti-virus software to help you detect and keep viruses a bay
- Always scan emails and faxes for viruses before opening.
- Use strong passwords to access your virtual phone systems. Moreover, change your passwords frequently.
- Scan all hardware such as external storage devices, mouse, and USB drives for viruses before plugging them into your devices.
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The internet has made the world a global village. For your business to grow from a start-up to a mega-corporation, you need to communicate with your clients, stakeholders, and suppliers effectively. You can only do this if you have software that is up to the task, such as a Virtual phone system.