(Update: This blog was originally published on 7th November 2017 and was last updated on 8th September 2020 for comprehensiveness and accuracy.)
Customer behaviour has drastically changed over the years. Consumer expectations have grown tremendously, and therefore, price is no longer the only differentiating factor—communication has become an integral part of customer experience.
In this article, we will discuss the main points to keep in mind while procuring an Indian virtual number. But first, let’s understand the functioning of virtual numbers and how they fit into a business.
As the name suggests, a virtual number has no physical identity attached to it. When deployed intelligently, these numbers aid in revenue generation and improve customer loyalty. Unlike wired telephony services, virtual mobile numbers operate through the Internet and can route calls to a variety of telephone numbers like landlines and mobile.
Google’s recent market research found that 31% of customers will definitely call businesses while making a purchase. Even though customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, they won’t hesitate to abandon the purchase if they face poor interaction.
Presently, Indian businesses employ centralised virtual numbers to boost their communication and manage high volumes of incoming calls economically.
Cloud telephony offers a wide range of solutions and products. Since the cloud isn’t limited to the product portfolio, it offers a myriad of features alongside virtual number solutions. An efficient Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can be easily paired up with your number. This is the perfect combination for any size and type of business.
Although virtual numbers are generally packed with features, the variety offered fluctuates across service providers. Needless to say, businesses are advised to opt for numbers that present robust features like IVR integration, auto-attendant, comprehensive reporting and automatic SMS alerts.
Virtual phone numbers are easy to procure and easier to implement with the ‘right’ service provider. Here’s what you need to look for in your service provider:
Assess The Type of Virtual Numbers
Cloud telephony providers offer a variety of contact solutions—local, toll-free, and vanity or premium numbers. Local numbers help you overcome geographical barriers by creating a presence in varied locations across the globe. For example, you can buy a local number for Rajasthan while operating your business from Delhi.
Further, customers are motivated to call toll-free numbers as they are free of cost; the charges are borne by the business instead. These numbers usually begin with “1800” and are deployed specifically to encourage people to call businesses. Vanity or premium numbers have an even greater recall value. For example, 9988776655 is a promising number, albeit at a higher price.
Focus on Maximum Automation
The main objective while searching for a suitable service is always for smoothened workflows and accelerated automation. Therefore, your virtual number solution should also offer features such as IVR or automatic SMS alerts, allowing you to gather information and resolve queries. Moreover, the intelligent AI can aid in first call resolution through skill-based routing. With a multitude of features available, why settle for mediocre service? Make sure you opt for a combination of power-packed features for streamlined operations.
Aim for Better Call Management
If your virtual number solution is packaged with the right features, it acts as a sophisticated call-management suite that can better equip you to manage heavy call flows. A robust IVR lets you transfer, route and forward incoming calls in multiple ways—saving your agents’ time and energy. Managers can also evaluate customer interactions using the analytical dashboard, and thereby, aim for higher service quality.
Explore Ways to Track Missed Calls
Every missed call is a missed opportunity for your business. While comparing service providers, you should cross-check if the solution is backed by a tracking tool for missed calls. Coupled with automated SMS service, you can receive timely intimation of missed calls and improve your communications.
Employ Comprehensive Reporting
With the advent of omnichannel customer communication, call analytics have become imperative for smoothening your business processes. The dashboard allows you to access every little detail of the virtual number, including call recordings, missed calls and even the quality of answered calls. It also lets supervisors assess their agents’ interactions in real-time, and through comprehensive reports that provide useful insights to improve CX.
Continue Using Your Existing Number
The option to convert your existing business number into a virtual number helps achieve a better work-life balance, and also creates a strong brand identity that customers feel confident to reach out to. Additionally, you save on the marketing cost for a new number and you’re able to maintain a certain volume of calls since your number is already saved by the customers. Multiple extensions can be added to the line to streamline the channels further.
Pay Attention to Post-Purchase Support and Assistance
Even with a variety of features in your favour, customer support remains a crucial differentiator for your brand. Offer unlimited customer support by using multiple communication channels—calls, emails and chats. A pleasant CX also implies maximum uptime, ideally no less than 99.99%.
Given the huge demand for cloud telephony solutions in the marketplace, there’s a wide range of service providers to choose from. You can benefit from a virtual number in many ways. However, it is imperative to mindfully choose the best-suited solution since it will act as a single point of contact for your business and facilitate centralised communication. In addition to features, the appearance of your virtual number is also a vital point to be kept in mind while opting for one.