In today’s dynamic landscape, characterized by the importance of flexibility and mobility, virtual phone numbers have become an integral aspect of our digital communication. The global nature of business and the shift toward remote work have spurred a growing demand for virtual phone numbers.
But what exactly is a virtual number, how can you obtain one, and what business needs in contact centers does it address? These are some of the questions we’ll unravel in this article. Ready to explore the realm of innovative communications? Let’s begin with a straightforward definition:
What is a virtual phone number?
A virtual number is a digital phone number not tethered to the SIM card of a specific physical device or location. Operating in a virtual or cloud space, this number enables users to make and receive calls over the Internet, departing from the constraints of a traditional phone line. Virtual numbers offer a broad spectrum of capabilities, encompassing call redirection, voicemail, SMS messaging, and more. This ensures flexibility and mobility in communication, catering to the needs of both businesses and individuals.
Types of virtual phone numbers
Virtual phone numbers come in various types:
Local virtual phone numbers
These are virtual phone numbers associated with local landline or mobile phone codes. When dialing from such a number, the recipient sees a “familiar” number aligned with, for instance, a local mobile operator.
International worldwide virtual phone numbers
International virtual numbers offer a convenient solution for outsourcing call centers or customer service centers across different countries. For example, if most technical support outsourcing service operators are in Ukraine, and the company’s clients are in the UK, connecting an international virtual number makes sense to avoid costly roaming services.
Free 0800 virtual phone numbers
Free virtual numbers, often referred to as “0800 numbers,” allow customers to call for free, with all telephone expenses covered by the receiving company. These are multi-channel numbers capable of handling any volume of calls. Large companies typically use them for customer satisfaction (csat) surveys, sociological or marketing research, voting, promotional campaigns, or setting up “hotlines.”
Vanity virtual phone numbers
A vanity virtual numbers build a business identity that people won’t soon forget. It may involve repeated pairs of numbers, in a direct or reverse sequence, or unique combinations at the end of the number. A vanity virtual number serves as a way to capture customer attention and reinforce the association with the company.
How virtual numbers work: a simplified guide
A virtual phone number relies on a combination of VoIP telephony and cloud based technologies. Let’s break down how it works:
Transmission via VoIP protocol
Virtual phone numbers primarily use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology digitizes sound signals, allowing calls to traverse the Internet and take advantage of data networks instead of traditional analog phone lines.
Processing in cloud PBX
Virtual phone numbers find their home in cloud enterprise call center platforms or cloud contact data centers. When someone dials a virtual number, the call is first directed to a cloud telephony server. Subsequently, the server forwards the call to the designated phone or another connected device. This setup ensures both high availability and scalability, empowering users to easily adjust their phone systems according to their requirements.
Redirection of calls
In the interest of minimizing wait times, calls to a virtual number can be redirected to a landline, mobile, or SIP phone. This flexibility means that calls can be answered on any device, enhancing the overall convenience. Virtual phone numbers seamlessly integrate VoIP and cloud computing, providing a versatile communication system that isn’t tied to physical infrastructure.
By understanding these fundamental aspects, users can appreciate the efficiency and adaptability that virtual phone numbers bring to modern communication.
Virtual phone numbers: benefits for call centers
A virtual phone number is not tied to a specific physical network and can handle an unlimited number of simultaneous calls, providing various advantages for businesses, such as:
The use of virtual phone numbers eliminates the need for the physical infrastructure of traditional telephone lines and reduces equipment and maintenance costs. This leads to considerable resource savings for companies.
Flexibility and scalability
Virtual phone numbers offer flexibility in call management, allowing call centers to easily scale their equipment according to call volume. This adaptability increases overall operational flexibility and enables an effective response to changes in workload.
Virtual phone numbers transcend geographical constraints, providing unparalleled global accessibility. This is particularly advantageous for businesses engaged in contact center outsourcing, as these virtual numbers empower outsourced call centers to seamlessly operate in diverse countries, streamlining the provision of global customer service.
Efficient call management
Specialized virtual number management software, such as Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) systems and IVR voice menus, offer a range of features. These include automatic call forwarding, voicemail, analytics and more, streamlining call flow management and increasing employee productivity.
Remote work opportunities for call center agents
A key benefit in today’s world is the ability for call center agents to work from anywhere and access virtual phone numbers via cloud services and web interfaces. This increases employee flexibility and enables the creation of remote customer service teams.
Integration with multimedia channels via CRM
Virtual phone numbers facilitate integration with various multimedia communication channels such as chat, messenger and email. This creates a uniform interface for processing all types of inquiries, which improves service efficiency.
Free calls to call centers
Calls to virtual numbers are free for the customer if they dial a number with a “free” code. The company covers the cost, and usually the cost of the virtual number service is significantly lower than that of mobile numbers. This ensures that customers have no concerns about making calls on the local network, regardless of the location of the call center.
Effective outbound calls
Virtual phone numbers are widely used in outbound call centers, primarily for making outbound calls in telemarketing, market research, and phone surveys. They create a secure environment for respondents by allowing the use of local phone codes for any region, instilling confidence in the legitimacy of the call.
How to get a virtual phone number?
Currently, there are many services offering virtual numbers, but some of them may pose risks. For instance, certain internet service websites sell the same number multiple times. As a result, a third party could gain access to the account linked to that phone number, leaving the user without control. Therefore, we do not recommend responding to messages claiming to offer a “free virtual number” when looking for a number ordering service.
The service of a virtual phone number is provided by major telecommunications companies and mobile operators. In most cases, there is no need to travel anywhere for the registration of a virtual number; everything is done online.
Conclusion on virtual numbers
We hope you have found the answer to the question “what is a virtual number?” and understood how it works. Overall, virtual phone numbers provide call centers with a powerful tool to enhance the customer experience, optimize operations, and ensure a high level of flexibility in their work. Therefore, choose a reliable service provider, order a virtual number, and tailor your phone plans according to call volumes and workflow.