(Update: This blog was originally published on 21st December 2018 and was last updated on 30th July 2020 for comprehensiveness and accuracy.)
Today, when every business is coping with the increasing digitisation in the marketplace, there certainly is a rush to be ranked better on every possible search engine. As soon as a product picks up, entrepreneurs begin hunting for web developers to conceptualise their businesses’ websites. While ‘Kaizen’ or a continuous improvement approach is highly recommended, there is a great need for robust planning in place.
In the hustle to keep up with market trends and technology, business owners usually miss out on small details that could be a deal-breaker in important business situations. For example, many entrepreneurs would want to innovate with the new gadgets and available technologies, while still using their personal numbers for all business communication.
Communication touch-points are the most crucial since they lay the foundation for building stronger relationships with clients. While a personal number used for business communication does the job almost perfectly, it fails to reflect a professional brand image.
Moreover, this short-sighted approach can often lead to a large number of missed calls (read: missed opportunities) because it becomes difficult for a single person to handle a large volume of incoming calls. Hence, businesses end up losing customers in the initial phases.
Companies need to plan their communication well in advance to avoid chaos and losses. A wise decision would be to opt for cloud telephony solutions like toll free number or an Indian virtual number depending upon their business requirements and financial constraints.
As much as the services in case of toll free numbers and virtual numbers remain absolutely identical, there is a major factor differentiating the two—cost! In case of a toll free number, the expenses of incoming calls are borne by the company. Whereas, in case of virtual numbers, they are shared as per the normal tariff between both the caller and the company.
Virtual numbers show a local identity as most numbers are generally categorised by state codes. On the other hand, toll free numbers reflect a national identity irrespective of the caller’s state, as they are country-specific solutions.
Although both of these solutions come with their own set of pros and cons, businesses generally opt for virtual numbers given their cost feasibility. Apart from relieving a financial burden, virtual numbers are an added professional touch with features like auto-receptionist, IVR and many others.
Let us understand in detail about how virtual numbers qualify as a profitable option for every business.
What are virtual numbers?
Virtual numbers, also known as DID (Direct inward dialling) numbers, are telephone numbers that aren’t linked with telephone lines. As the name suggests, “virtual numbers” do not have any physical existence. Simply put, these numbers aid call forwarding for all incoming calls to a different number mapped against it. Therefore, these numbers cannot function in silos and need a forwarding landline or mobile number to route their incoming calls.
Why do businesses need virtual numbers?
As discussed earlier, virtual numbers can be used as business phone numbers by utilising call forwarding to redirect all incoming calls to personal numbers—without letting the customer know. This maintains privacy and helps to protect the identity of personal numbers.
Moreover, it eases up the communication process for the business as they can now maintain a separate number for all business communication without having to compromise their privacy.
Besides receiving and making calls, virtual numbers have a lot more to offer. Listed below are 5 such offerings which make it one of the best business communication solutions, especially for small businesses and industries.
1. A clear distinction between personal and professional calls
Opting for a virtual number lets you use two separate phone numbers on a single device. This particularly comes handy when a person is running a small business but still wants to project a bigger brand image by implementing an IVR system with various departments.
While managing calls using a virtual number, the person on the other end of communication sees your business caller ID instead of a personal phone number. In other words, customers will dial your business phone number and you can attend those calls on your personal phone numbers without letting the customer know. Interesting, isn’t it?
This happens because all virtual numbers are mapped to specific telephone/mobile numbers on which calls land after being successfully navigated by the call forwarding feature.
2. Local Presence
Having a virtual business phone number with the area code of the customer’s state helps you foster trust into the customers. Additionally, a customer is more likely to respond to calls with a local caller ID in comparison to calls from outside the city or state.
You can even opt for multiple virtual numbers from different states if you plan on expanding your operations. Calls can be forwarded to your personal number, irrespective of your geographical location. This strategy helps brands spread their presence in different states without actually setting up an office in every location.
3. Added Features
For any service to show results to its fullest potential, service providers play a very important role. Companies like Servetel offer you a myriad of features along with premium virtual numbers. Servetel also gives you the flexibility to record all customer conversations automatically.
Additionally, it also offers a call monitoring dashboard where you can get access to all incoming and outgoing calls. To add to a touch of professionalism, you can further opt for an auto-receptionist feature to be integrated with the virtual number and handle all calls intelligently.
With such dynamic features, buying virtual numbers yield more returns when compared to the invested cost. There are no hidden charges for these additional features. It also saves businesses the cost of setting up its own telephony infrastructure for every city it plans to expand in.
Many service providers also offer flexible billing systems where one can opt for a yearly/monthly plan or even opt for a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model.
5. Remote Working
A lot has been written and spoken about remote working by the experts recently. Given the COVID-19 situation, remote working is the new normal and working from home has mostly turned into living from work these days.
Virtual numbers and cloud telephony aid remote working by letting agents manage calls from the safety of their homes. Managers or supervisors, on the other hand, are able to monitor them using an online portal.
Using the call forwarding feature of virtual numbers, business owners get the flexibility to remain connected with their customers without being chained to their desks.
This is extremely convenient for business owners as they can manage multiple aspects of their business at the same time, without having to sacrifice the efficiency of their workflow.