Expand Your US Business with Virtual Phone Numbers

You may have heard a lot about VoIP calls, virtual phone numbers, and similar technologies which allow phone calls to be made in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. Even if you understand the technology, you may be left wondering how you can expand your business with virtual phone numbers.

Put simply — why should this matter to your business?

Virtual phone number basics and advantages

First, some basics. Virtual phone numbers are phone numbers that exists on the internet; a connector that forwards your customers’ calls that are made to your virtual number to whatever phone you want.

You can expand your business with virtual phone numbers by using a few advantages that these numbers have, over traditional phone lines. Unlike traditional phone lines, virtual lines have no hard wiring at your physical location. Numbers can be added, switched, forwarded, canceled, or changed, with a few keystrokes at the computer.

Virtual phone numbers also allow you to get a phone number that is local to wherever you want to do business. The number you get can be dialed as if it were local, wherever in the world your customers may be. In some cases, you can get numbers that are even local to a particular city within a country.

Another benefit is eliminating phone companies. No more waiting for technicians or sitting on hold with their tech support. No more negotiating phone rates or having to accept whatever rates and charges your local phone providers are charging.

Ideas to expand your business

How do you expand your business with virtual phone numbers? The benefits of a virtual number can be key to implementing new ideas that can grow your bottom line.

Getting “Local Numbers” – Let’s say that you want to start offering your business’ services or products to people in Brazil. You are located in London. You can get a virtual number that has a Brazilian area code, which not only makes your business appear local, but also reduces the costs to your customers in Brazil who don’t have to dial long distance to reach you. Calls made to your virtual number will often even ring in the same ringtone as the region where the number is located.

After some time, did you come to the realization that your Brazil campaign was not working out? That’s okay; you’ve seen that it didn’t cost a fortune to try it. Going online to get a new number, local to another area, is just a few mouse clicks away. Here are some of the ways your business can benefit from having virtual numbers:

  • Flexibility – Maybe you do just a little business somewhere, or you want to “test the waters” to see if you can expand your business with virtual phone numbers. Because calling plans are so flexible, you can start with a very affordable plan that provides only a few minutes per month. Later, if you want more, you just change your plan to accommodate the growing business.
  • Using Contractors – What if your business wants to hire a few independent, outside contractors to perform services? Those contractors don’t want to use their personal numbers to do business for your company. Give them a virtual number to separate their work calls!
  • Take More Calls After Hours – Virtual phone numbers allow you to forward calls to whatever number you choose. Yes, traditional phone numbers often offer this feature as well.

Virtual numbers allow you the ability to hire a workforce outside of your office, while still giving customers a business phone line to call.

If certain contractors don’t work out and you hire a different one, you can always transfer the number, or get an entirely new one.

A/B Testing A/B testing is the process of offering two different products, using two different marketing campaigns, or testing any other two variables against each other to see which is more effective. In the past, this would be an overly expensive experiment. But a virtual phone number allows even smaller businesses to conduct their own market testing this way.

Let’s say that you want to know whether ads on a red card do better than ads on a blue card. You mail out some of each, to see which one gets more customer responses. How would you track your results? You can expand your business with virtual phone numbers by getting a different virtual number for both color cards and tracking the results.

The different numbers for each color can be forwarded to the same phone number, or you can assign different numbers to receive each virtual number called, allowing you to easily track which marketing strategy or promotion is the most effective.

With a virtual phone number, you can have calls forwarded to one employee until a certain time, and then to another employee after that time. You can shut off call forwarding temporarily if you need to. You can turn it on when you’re in the airport, and off when you’re at the family dinner; there is so much flexibility, managing your communications with clients could not more streamlined!

Virtual numbers also allow you to appear as if you’re an “around the clock” business. A lot of customers love the idea of a business that can be reached anytime. Whether you want to offer services as such, that remains up to you, however, if you do, you can expand your business with virtual phone numbers by using “failure forwarding.”

This is a feature that forwards a call to one of many phone lines, and if that number doesn’t pick up a call, it’s forwarded to a second, backup phone. This ensures that when customers call you after hours, someone will be reached.

Features, Features, Features

With traditional phone lines, you’ll pay extra for every kind of feature that you want. But virtual phone numbers offer loads of unique features, many of which are usually included in the cost of your plan.

Accept/ reject certain phone numbers, fax to email, forwarding text (SMS) messages to email, call recording, and custom greetings are often included and can be added (or removed) straight from the dashboard you manage all of your virtual calling services from.

There are many ways to grow your business, but with the right technology you can do it in the easiest, most streamlined manner. The ways to use virtual phone numbers are limited only by your imagination, given their flexibility and ease of use.

BIO: Jason Weaver is a Florida-based attorney practicing business law and commercial litigation. Mr. Weaver is also a business owner and athletic coach and writes about practical and legal topics of interest to business owners.