Virtual numbers have some powerful features that can help you convey a professional image and drum up business. From giving the impression you’re a local business in more than one region, to creating the perception of a larger corporation overall, to keeping your personal and work lines separate, virtual numbers allow you to create the type of "phone presence" that your business needs to succeed—without breaking the bank.
If you’re not savvy to all the ways virtual numbers can improve your business communications, or even what a virtual number is, read on for answers to all your burning questions…
1. What is a virtual number?
A virtual number is a telephone number (or "DID") that is not directly associated with a calling device or telephone line. Typically, virtual numbers forward incoming calls to pre-set mobile, landline or VoIP phone numbers that are associated with specific calling devices. Business professionals can opt to have one or many virtual numbers route to a single phone or multiple phones, based on their business needs.
2. How does a virtual number work?
Once you choose your virtual numbers, you must set them to route to phone numbers that are directly linked to a calling device, such as your cell phone. The virtual number provider typically has a portal for the set-up process. With Cloud Phone, for example, this takes less than a couple of minutes to set up.
Once the virtual number is set to forward to your calling device of choice, callers will be able to reach you through that number at that device. If you don't pick up the call, they typically will be routed to a separate voicemail that you can set up with the appropriate message, based on the goals of your virtual number strategy. Some services, like Cloud Phone, also offer voicemail transcription for virtual numbers to make retrieving voicemails as easy as possible.
3. How do I make calls from my virtual number?
It's also possible to make a call from a virtual number. Some services will allow you to dial the virtual number and then, when prompted, dial the number of the person you’d like to call. Another option that may be offered through your virtual number provider is "web call back" where you enter both numbers into a web form and the two calls are bridged together instantly to create an outgoing phone call. The recipient will see your virtual number on their caller ID – just like any other call.
4. Why do I need a virtual number?
Having a separate phone number (or numbers) for your business can be essential to maintaining a professional image, but carrying around two mobile devices or being tied to a desk just isn’t convenient or cost-effective for many types of businesses. A virtual phone number lets you stay connected on business matters, while still keeping your personal communication on the same device. Also, you can gain strategic benefits through virtual numbers. For example, when selecting numbers to represent your business, you can choose phone numbers with area codes you want to do business in to help you build relationships with customers and potential clients in those areas. You can also opt for toll free numbers if there is no regional benefit to you, but you'd like the number to be memorable and professional.
From looking bigger to appearing local, virtual numbers can give you the edge your business needs to grow. Here are some additional resources on the benefits of virtual numbers for business: