The idea of a business phone number without any physical lines attached to it is a relative new one. In days gone by, a business would have to pay their local landline provider a premium for access to unlimited long distance, and shell out thousands in initial costs for multi-line phones, IVR equipment and software, and other physical infrastructure needed to answer incoming calls.
Now, everything can be done on the Internet, using a virtual phone number that routes calls to whatever device you want to use when calls come in, to any member of your team that’s available to take the call.
There are a number of reasons why your online business needs to set up a virtual phone number in order to be successful and stand out to customers:
A modern online business can’t afford to sleep
In cases where you’re running an online business that services national and international customers, time zones can make it difficult to meet the needs of your customers if you only answer calls during your local business hours.
Imagine how many calls you can miss when it’s midnight wherever you are and 12 noon when a prospect decides they want to call to ask a question or make an order? Such situations equal lost money and potential tarnishing of your brand.
A virtual number allows you to have calls routed to an IVR or call center after hours, so customers can leave a message and or be taken care of by an answering service, at no additional long distance charges to the customer.
A virtual phone number adds legitimacy and professionalism to your image
Customers are far less likely to do business with you if you don’t have a real address or a (toll free) number they can call. A virtual number can be set up for use as a local number in any location you service customers.
Also, if you prefer to live by the seat of your pants traveling, you can travel through Europe while customers call a virtual number located in San Francisco that’s then routed directly to you.
A virtual phone number allows you to handle multiple calls at once
A virtual number can be made to work much in the same way a toll free call center number works for the bigger corporations. Customers shouldn’t have to wait on hold, especially if someone else on your team is available.
No matter how many calls come in through your virtual number, it can be routed to anyone on your team that’s available via a landline or mobile, without the need to shuffle customers around from one queue to the next.
Virtual phone numbers allow for more personalised service
Since virtual numbers work digitally, you can use data to your advantage in order to provide heightened service levels. A first time caller can be sent to a specialised welcome greeting message before being patched to a team member. Second or third time callers can be greeted with “Thanks for calling back, a rep will be right with you.
You can also use multiple virtual numbers to define specific departments in your online enterprise, such as sales, service and troubleshooting, so you and your employees know immediately what the nature of a call will be dependent on the number it’s routed from.
They allow you and employees to work remotely
This is an obvious benefit. An online business offers freedoms that a brick-and-mortar cannot. You don’t want to be tied to a desk and a virtual phone number makes it so you can take calls from your mobile regardless of where you’re working.
This advantage is extremely handy if you outsource a lot of your sales and service work, as you can hire people based on skill, cost, and timezone availability without the need for making sacrifices like an office-based business might have to.
Virtual phone numbers reduce dropped calls
Up time and reliability are rarely an issue when using a virtual number over traditional landline call systems and their clunkiness. And, if your online business is dropping calls, you’re losing customers, as consumers will just move on to the next Google listing and call them.
Since calls are routed through strategically-placed servers all over, when one goes down, another takes its place. This reduces dead air and dropped calls to almost zero.
Productivity goes up when virtual numbers are used
A virtual phone number is more than digits a customer taps into their phone. They can act like a receptionist and personal assistant all in one. When things get busy and customer messages go to voicemail, your Virtual Phone Answering service will keep sending you reminders until you respond.
Best, most providers offer integration with CRM and helpdesk software, so you can set call campaigns, SMS blasts, and make sure that customer who need issues solved get sent to the members of your team best equipped to help.
Virtual phone numbers are more cost effective than physical phone infrastructure
A virtual phone number can help your business grow, by putting the service power of a massive call center in the palm of your hands (mobile). No expensive and cumbersome equipment need be bought, nor do you have to pay technicians to set up and maintain any equipment.
Everything just works and it works all the time — the service provider takes care of everything. No more downtime for a broken CTI server or recording system. No IT department or the hefty salary they demand. Most virtual phone number providers also offer flex plans and pay-as-you-go, so you never pay for services you don’t need.
Decided you definitely need a virtual phone number?
If so, start finding the right solutions for your business. Start searching local virtual service providers and see whether they are good enough – read reviews, contact their customer service, and seek your fellow business owners for recommendations.
Good luck in your search!