A virtual phone number, also known as Direct inward dialing DID number, is a telephone number that allows the user to route and redirect calls from one number to another number, another device or another IP address. This phone number is not location or device specific.
The conventional analogue phone lines are location specific. These need configuration, maintenance and are linked to local Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Virtual phone lines work through internet based telephony. This technology is also known as Voice Over Internet Protocol VoIP.
With the surge of home offices and working remotely, there is this increased demand for secure and reliable communication and technology that is fast and robust. Traditional phone lines and PBX systems can no longer fulfill the demands of remotely working teams. Therefore , these are being replaced with digital options.
How do virtual phone numbers work?
A Virtual phone number, also known as softphone or a virtual landline is associated to an online account with a service provider. This is different from analogue phones that are linked to local PSTN. Moreover, these virtual numbers work on internet based telephony – called Voice Over Internet Protocol. This is like a regular phone number. However, virtual numbers use internet connection to make and receive calls.
The virtual phone lines send calls to other devices by means of digital signals transmitted through the internet. Furthermore, this is a cloud based calling system that enables redirecting and routing calls to other devices or other team members. With this phone number, you can make or receive calls from all over the world on any IP enabled device including smartphones, desktops and tablets.
Types of virtual phone numbers
There are 3 different categories of virtual phone numbers:
- Local phone numbers –numbers based on certain specific area codes or geographic areas
- Toll free numbers – numbers starting from a 3-digit code such as 866, 888 or 800
- Vanity numbers – alphanumeric values that translate your virtual number into some memorable phrase. For I (800) beach etc.
Local numbers are useful for small businesses as people often prefer calls coming from their local and recognized area code. Toll free numbers are a good solution to build better customer relationships. And vanity numbers are highly converted in businesses being the customized numbers that are easy to remember.
In addition to these, you can switch your existing number to a virtual phone system if you want.
Things to keep in mind when buying a virtual number
- Your Budget – various service providers offer virtual phone numbers. Choose a trusted provider offering great services at reasonable prices.
- Your Business Requirements – It depends on how expanded your business setup is, your number of employees and so on. Analyze all factors so you can choose the best suited plan.
- Accessibility and Proper Usage – as a business owner, you might want to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Make sure your virtual number is used properly and also you can get add-ons when required.
- Features that serve best your business
- Availability of devices and most importantly make sure to have an excellent internet connection to ensure optimal workflow
Benefits of virtual phone numbers
There is a tremendous surge in home offices and remote working in recent years mainly after COVID pandemic. According to a recent survey, about 65.5% of employees believe that working from home enhances their productivity. Moreover, they are willing to continue remote working. However, most employees face issues of poor team collaborations and communication. Virtual phone lines based on internet based telephony offer reliable, fast, robust and cost effective solutions in this context.
Here is how virtual phone numbers or lines can be useful:
- Flexibility and 24/7 connectivity
Virtual numbers offer a great deal of flexibility for better communication. Employees can communicate easily and there is 24/7 reliable connectivity. You do not have to stay tied to phone lines as happened before with analogue phones. Additionally, team members can take calls from anywhere and from different devices. Calls can also be re-routed to other team members and devices.
- Enhanced presence with Anonymity
Another useful feature is secrecy or anonymity. For instance, if you do not want to reveal where your business is based, a virtual phone number is an ideal solution, as it is not location specific.
- Enhanced team productivity
A virtual phone system offers ease of accessibility no matter if the team is located at different locations. Therefore, it ensures uninterrupted communication – a key to optimal workflow and enhances productivity.
- Easy set up and cost effective
Traditional phone systems require proper setup, configuration and regular maintenance. With a cloud based calling system that uses virtual phone lines, you get to save such additional expenses.
- Feature rich technology at nominal cost
Virtual phone systems offer various incredible features such as voicemail, IVR integration, three way calling, call waiting, call queue, automation, call transfer and so on.
On the other hand, it saves additional expenses of hardware setup and maintenance as required for analogue phone lines. In nutshell, you will get better connectivity while ensuring affordability.
Virtual phone numbers are a digital replacement of conventional phone lines. The cloud based telephony is feature-rich, secure, reliable, fast and super affordable at the same time. Therefore, switching to this communication system guarantees optimal workflow, better connectivity and thus enhanced business growth.
Frequently asked questions
What is a virtual number?
A virtual number is an internet-based telephone number. This number is not limited to a specific device or a specific location. Users can make or receive calls through internet connection.
How do I get a virtual number?
There are various telecommunication companies offering the cheapest virtual phone number in the UK. Xinix is one of the trusted providers of the best virtual phone number in UK.
Can I get a free virtual number?
If your business already has Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology enabled, you can easily get a virtual number. Companies also offer free trials as well as free virtual phone numbers.
Is it legal to use a virtual phone number?
Yes. It is legal to use virtual numbers for communication purposes for your business.
Can I use a virtual phone number to call 911?
This might be a small issue to reach 911 using a virtual phone number. Even if it connects, the operator will not be able to find your location as this is a virtual connection. However, some service providers offer enhanced 911 services for this.