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    The Fundamental Guide

    What is a Virtual Phone Number & How to Get One for Your Business

    A virtual phone number, also known as a virtual landline, is one of the components of a virtual phone service. It is a telephone number that isn't bound to any physical location or device.

    What is virtual phone number

    What is a Virtual Phone Number?

    A virtual phone number is a phone number created for use with a cloud hosted unified communications VoIP service and isn't bound to any physical location or device.

    Unlike a “real” phone number which is determined by the area in which you are based and the current capacity of the network, a virtual phone number can be set by the VoIP service provider and does not necessarily need to conform to any rigid format. This means that virtual phone numbers have far more flexibility for businesses which utilize them and can often be customized to suit the need of the company in question.

    The next question you are likely asking yourself is how can you get a virtual phone number for your business? Well, here at net2phone, we have prepared this special guide to inform you on everything you need to know about virtual phone numbers and how to get one.

    How Does a Virtual Phone Number Work?

    Once set up by your unified communications service provider, a virtual phone number works in exactly the same manner as a traditional landline number. Customers can dial the number to get through to your business representatives and your employees can dial out and contact leads, customers, suppliers, and other parties directly from it.

    How Does a Virtual Phone Number Work

    The only real difference between a phone number which is virtual and a traditional one from a functional perspective is that the virtual number is not tied to physical infrastructure, such as a landline PBX, and is instead associated with an online unified communications account.

    Types of Virtual Phone Number

    When you set up a virtual phone number with a unified communications provider such as net2phone, you will normally get the option to choose from several different varieties which all provide a slightly different level of service and functionality.

    Local Numbers

    Local numbers allow your business to advertise its contact details with an area code and layout which is congruous with the area you are targeting. Your business can even have separate numbers localized to each area you operate in – regardless of where you are physically based.

    For example, net2phone can offer local virtual phone numbers in over 50 countries and 300 cities around the world, as well as many area codes from all 50 US states – including Alaska and Hawaii.

    Toll-free Numbers

    Toll-free virtual numbers can save your customers money and encourage more contacts by making your virtual phone number free at the point of use for anyone calling in. With the cost of living very much on the minds of customers around the globe right now, showing your business cares enough to not add a financial burden for getting in touch can go a long way.

    Vanity Numbers

    Vanity numbers are customized to the design of the customer – much in the same way as a personalized car registration plate – and allow businesses to create bespoke virtual phone numbers which spell the name of the company, the city they operate in, the service they provide, or simply a sequence of numbers which is easy to remember and dial. Vanity numbers stick in the minds of customers and encourage more calls.

    International Numbers

    International numbers empower your organization to compete on the global stage. Thanks to the internet, the whole planet is now your marketplace, so make sure customers all over the world are able to get touch using a virtual phone number format they will instantly be familiar with and not put off by the prospect of expensive international calling rates.

    How to Get a Virtual Phone Number for Your Business

    Virtual phone numbers benefit businesses of all types and sizes from small local companies to multi-location enterprises with call centers and a large number of inbound and outbound calls.

    How to Get a Virtual Phone Number

    Getting a virtual phone number for your business is easy. There are only 3 simple steps:

    1. Decide what type of phone number and area code you need for your business.

    2. Review the pricing, features included, and plans that fit your business needs most.

    3. Simply get in touch with our skilled and experienced unified communications VoIP service representative and add your phone number. Installation takes only a few minutes, with no downtime or additional IT support.

    Traditional Phone Numbers vs Virtual Phone Numbers

    Traditional phone numbers and virtual differ in their connection type, accessible devices, and portability.

    Traditional numbers are provided by telephone companies together with telephone lines and require a wire connection for each device in the office or building to the global network. Such an option reduces portability and increases maintenance costs. 

    On the other hand, virtual phone numbers are location-independent and aren't bound to any location because your "telephone lines" are hosted in the cloud and use the internet as the connection type. This reduces maintenance costs because there is nothing to maintain and increases productivity and portability allowing make and receive calls everywhere, in the office, at home, and even on the go. 

    Feature
    Traditional Phone Number
    Virtual Phone Number

    Connection

    Wired (PSTN Landline)

    Wireless (Internet)

    Portability

    Fixed to permanent address

    Fully portable anywhere with an internet connection

    Accessible Devices

    Physical phone only

    Physical phone, computer, soft phone, laptop, tablet. mobile phone

    Simultaneous Users

    One agent can use line at a time

    Unlimited agents can use simultaneously

    Privacy

    No separation of personal and business phone numbers

    Can have multiple numbers for different purposes/departments

    Hardware Cost and Maintenance

    Manual maintenance of hardware necessary. Additional hardware required for scaling

    Phone system maintained by provider. Most hardware optional.

    Call Routing

    Limited call routing options and global coverage

    Can route to any number 24/7

    What are the Benefits of a Virtual Phone Number?

    When your business has a virtual phone number, you unlock a host of benefits that will propel your brand into the next stage of its evolution.

    Benefits of a Virtual Phone Number

    • Lower costs
    • Use across multiple devices – including computers, smartphones and tablets
    • Scalable – easily add and remove users
    • Advanced functionality on multiple devices 
    • Easily port existing numbers – including toll-free numbers
    • No new equipment installation required
    • Unlimited calling at no extra cost to you – including international numbers
    • Access to advanced features

    As you can see, a virtual phone number carries with it significant benefits for your business which will not only make it easier for customers to reach out to you, but also save you money, scale your brand easily, and empower a seamless transition from a traditional phone system to a fully digital unified communications solution.

    How Does a Virtual Phone Number Work for Business?

    Traditional landline phone numbers make it difficult for a business to operate in the modern, digitally transformed marketplace. Almost every issue associated with a traditional system is solved with the introduction of an online virtual phone number.

    Remote Work Capabilities

    Ever since the global COVID-19 crisis, we have seen an increasing number of employees favor companies which can offer remote working capabilities. With a virtual phone number, providing your staff with this option becomes a matter of simplicity as calls can be made and received from any connected location using the same number.

    Increased Performance

    Performance becomes easier to measure thanks to the advanced analytical capabilities of a virtual phone number attached to a VoIP unified communications solution. Data is the lifeblood which pumps through the veins of modern business, so make sure your brand can keep up with a data rich virtual phone number.

    Cost-effective

    Regardless of where your business is physically located, calls cost no more or less when made from a virtual phone number. Cut costs and better manage your budgets – not to mention saving your customers money – with a virtual phone number from net2phone.

    Improving Caller Satisfaction

    Creating an easy, familiar way for clients and potential customers to reach your business improves caller satisfaction and increases the customer experience with your brand.

    Virtual Phone Number FAQs

    How can I get a virtual phone number for free?

    A virtual phone number may very well be included in your unified communications package. Contact your provider for more information.

    Are virtual phone numbers safe?

    Virtual phone numbers operate exactly the same as traditional ones, as far as user experience. However, virtual phone numbers have the added security of being supported by the latest cybersecurity technology.

    Can a traditional phone number become my virtual phone number?

    Yes. You can have your existing landline number transferred over to a virtual system with no interruption to business.

    How do I set up a virtual number?

    Contact your unified communications provider and they’ll walk you through getting set up with a new virtual phone number. Very often, it's as simple as adding the number to your account, and pointing it to a specific user, extension, or department.

    Can toll-free numbers be virtual?

    Yes. Virtual phone numbers can be toll-free.

    What devices can I use a virtual phone number on?

    You can use your virtual phone number on any connected device including smartphones, tablets, physical phones, as well as laptop and desktop computers.

    Can I choose my virtual phone number?

    Yes, your unified communications provider will work with you on which phone numbers are available and help you choose the right one for your business. Vanity numbers also allow you to customize your virtual phone number.

    What are the benefits of a virtual phone number?

    The main benefits of a virtual phone number are lowered costs, the ability to use across multiple devices – including smartphones and tablets, easily add and remove users, access on multiple devices, easily port existing numbers – including landline and toll-free numbers, and no new equipment or installation required.  When coupled with a cloud communications platform and VoIP calling service, like net2phone's, you also get unlimited calling at no extra cost, and many advanced calling features.

    When is it time for my business to switch to a virtual phone number?

    There’s no time like the present! Get in touch with net2phone today and find out how your business can begin enjoying all the benefits which come with a virtual phone number and an advanced VoIP unified communications solution.

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