What is a Virtual Number?

Posted on: 2016-10-25 | Categories:SIP

Virtual numbers is a VoIP feature that is useful for both individuals and businesses. However, enterprises tend to use them more often and for more varied purposes than the average person. In fact depending on the particular provider, using virtual numbers for personal use may be against the terms and conditions of the service. In spite of the versatility that virtual numbers offer, not many companies use them creatively.

What is a Virtual Number?

Virtual numbers have many names in different countries but all those terms point to the same feature. We may call them DID numbers or access number or even personal numbers. The unique aspect that differentiates them from a regular number – be it VoIP or PSTN – is that it is not actually connected to any phone. What surprises most people is that a number which isn’t connected to an instrument has so many uses that are unavailable to regular numbers.

How Can You Use a Virtual Number?

For individual or household use, virtual numbers are primarily used for a handful of purposes – protecting privacy, forwarding calls or avoiding long distance charges.

  • Privacy protection – Quite often we need to give out our phone numbers to people/businesses for single use purposes. By using a virtual number, we can ensure that everyone doesn’t know our personal phone number
  • Forwarding calls – We can forward calls made to a virtual number two are not many devices based on a set of rules. This aspect is useful for families or people who work from home and have multiple devices and so on
  • Reduce long distance charges – Virtual numbers are not restricted by geography. So travelers or those who place international calls often use virtual numbers so that friends, family members or colleagues can reach them without incurring long distance charges. The caller incurs only local call charges while the call is actually forwarded to the real number through VoIP

Businesses take advantage of virtual numbers in many other ways, not just the ones listed above. Project teams and groups can forward calls to different members based on their availability, time of day etc. This way customers will always reach a person who can help them with any issues instead of going to voicemail or waiting on hold. It also allows teams to function efficiently even if the members are present in different locations on a particular day.

Business Case for Virtual Numbers

Marketing Campaigns

Enterprises can use virtual numbers for tracking the same campaign in different markets or even multiple campaigns at a time. For example, a company may run a series of ads with different virtual numbers for potential customers to call. Then you can easily track incoming calls and gauge the effectiveness of the different advertisements.

Allow Customers to Call Tollfree

Toll free numbers used to be an expensive but indispensable part of doing business. Virtual numbers cost a fraction of the price and you can use them to let customers contact your business for the price of a local call, regardless of their current location. A company can also use multiple virtual numbers for different countries or areas at the same time.

Virtual Numbers for Call Centers

These numbers are extremely popular among call centers and customer care departments. Clients feel like they are calling a local number even if the call centers are located all over the world to provide complete coverage at all times.

To Establish a Local Presence

Some businesses might use virtual numbers to establish a local presence in nearby or even far away markets. Having a local presence may not mean much for some organizations in a globalized world but quite a few entrepreneurs or contractors depend on it.

For instance, an insurance agent or plumbing contractor may want to have multiple virtual numbers for different areas to give the impression that they are a local business. This is important because customers may look at the area code of their business number and mistake them for being out of state, even if their location is just 30 or 40 miles from the client.

For Remote Workers

Virtual numbers are quite beneficial for companies that frequently hire remote workers, temporary staff or other short term employees. Suppose you just hired a new worker in another state. Just assign him a virtual number that matches the company scheme. You can attach this number to their existing phone line so that there is no need to get new equipment or software. When or if the worker leaves, simply reassign the number re-assign to someone else within the same area code or deactivate it as per requirements.

Virtual numbers are not expensive and before purchasing them, check if they are part of your current plan already. You can activate or deactivate them whenever you need, so your business does not pay for unused numbers. So go ahead and try them out!