What Is a Virtual Phone Line?
Considering a virtual phone number for your business? Here’s everything you need to know about using a virtual phone line.
- A virtual number is available alone or as a component of a virtual phone system bundle.
- You may transfer your current landline number to a virtual one with several virtual phone service providers.
- While protecting the privacy of your own number, having a virtual phone number may make you reachable by phone wherever you are, whenever you want.
- This article is for proprietors of small businesses who are thinking about including a virtual phone line in their company phone system.
One resource that any company need to have is a dependable telephone communication system. A decent company phone system, however, has typically been costly and challenging to deploy in small organizations.
A virtual phone number can help your organization grow beyond the limitations of a standard phone line today. It’s an easy, economical alternative. Here is all the information you want regarding virtual phone lines.
What is a virtual phone line?
A virtual phone number, also known as direct inward dialing (DID), is a telephone number that may be used to route calls from one number to another number, IP address, or device. It is not connected to a particular phone line or device. The term “internet numbers” is another name for virtual phone lines.
In the past, phone numbers were created to function over a single phone line that was literally linked from your house or business to the phone company, and any calls to that number could only be sent to that particular physical location. Even though they are more mobile than landlines, cell phones still rely on cell towers for coverage. By removing these physical restrictions, a virtual number allows a firm more autonomy and freedom over how it receives calls.
How do virtual phone numbers work?
Virtual phone numbers enable people to be contacted by phone or computer since they rely on the internet to provide coverage rather than a phone company or cell tower. You may alter the device you utilize in real-time as well. For instance, you may direct all incoming calls made while you are at work to a virtual phone line if you only want to be reachable at specific times on your mobile device.
How to get a virtual phone number
There are various ways to obtain virtual phone numbers. If your company currently has a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, your VoIP provider can add virtual numbers to your present plan. Each number typically costs $5 to $10 a month.
If you wish to buy a virtual phone system, you may get a package that comes with a virtual number, a set number of extensions, and a set number of minutes. Depending on how long you speak on the “business line,” minutes are accumulated. The monthly cost of a virtual phone system plan ranges from $10 to $12 for one or two virtual numbers with 300 to 500 minutes to $25 to $50 for two virtual lines with 2,000 to 3,000 minutes.
You can choose a supplier that solely offers virtual numbers if you don’t already have a virtual phone system. Some of the most well-known suppliers of virtual phone lines are as follows:
- Individual users can receive a free virtual phone number from Google Voice that they can use for calls, texts, and voicemails. You may attach the virtual number to a mobile or landline number, and it features an intuitive software for smartphones and PCs. Plans for businesses with up to 10 users in 10 domestic locations start at $10 per user per month.
- A cloud-based virtual phone system called MightyCall provides voicemail, text messaging, and phone calls in addition to intelligent call routing and call recording. There are several membership options available, with monthly rates beginning at $219.99 and a seven-day free trial period.
- Calls, messages, and voicemail are all supported by Grasshopper. You may select from three service options starting at $26 per month to see which is ideal for your company.
- Among its numerous capabilities, the cloud-based VoIP unified communications system 88 offers very dependable service, three-way calling, online voicemail, call forwarding, and ring groups. Additionally, it interfaces with business applications like Slack and Salesforce. Plans begin at $12 per user per month. For more information about 88’s VoIP offerings, see our evaluation of the company.
What are the benefits of a virtual phone number?
A long array of advantages and functions are provided by virtual phone lines to assist small businesses compete with larger ones. They provide infinite localization choices, hardware flexibility, and significant cost-saving potential. For companies of all sizes, virtual phone numbers are a lot more practical than conventional business landlines.
1. Ability to receive calls anywhere
You may receive calls on your preferred device, wherever you are, at any time, and without being restricted to a certain area. For instance, you may offer a virtual number to a firm employee’s mobile phone if they need to be approachable by phone while they are away but don’t want to disclose their cell phone number.
2. Incoming call distribution
Companies with several offices might benefit from virtual phone lines. Incoming calls can be routed to phones in each office so that just one office’s phone will ring. You may achieve this by designating the destination of your virtual phone line as a call queue or ring group, which will, in accordance with your choices, simultaneously or sequentially ring the phones of all specified members of the queue or group.
3. Localized phone numbers
You can give your phone line a local area code if your office is at a different location from your clientele. This minimizes the cost of receiving calls while assisting you in establishing a presence in a crucial location. Customers are more likely to call and respond to calls from local numbers than from numbers with unfamiliar area codes.
4. Integrations with marketing campaigns
Additionally, you may monitor important consumer data using your virtual phone line. For instance, many CRM systems allow you to give a distinct number to a particular campaign so you can identify calls for that campaign only based on the number. This information may be used to assess a campaign’s efficacy.
5. Fewer equipment charges
Your company may save thousands of dollars on telephony and equipment costs by using virtual phone lines. Virtual phone lines don’t need any gear, equipment, installation, or maintenance because they are entirely digital.
6. Advanced features
Check to check whether the virtual phone provider you are considering offers text and voicemail options in addition to phone service when you are looking for one. Three-way calling, ring groups, caller ID, call waiting and forwarding, call recording, and call transfers are often included in more expensive and complicated plans. Additionally, check to see if customer assistance is included as part of your package and how dependable the service is in terms of uptime.
What are the drawbacks?
For the majority of business customers, the advantages of virtual phone lines much exceed the disadvantages, however there are a few possible disadvantages as compared to conventional landlines.
1. You’re always “available.”
According to Matt Schmidt, CEO of Diabetes365, the impact on work-life balance is the main cause for worry. “In my perspective, the drawback is that you are reachable practically always while you are awake. The majority of individuals are already workaholics, so being able to take another call from your house or anywhere else may cause burnout.
2. The call quality depends on the internet.
The call reliability is inconsistent, which is another negative. A virtual phone number can only be used online, thus the call quality will depend entirely on your internet connection.
3. Data limits can be costly.
If you have a plan that utilizes minutes, you need to be careful how you use them to avoid wasting them on spam or unnecessary calls. If not, you run the danger of going over budget with your expenses.
Frequently asked questions about virtual phone numbers
How can I get a virtual phone number for free?
Online, a variety of free virtual phone number providers, like Google Voice for personal use, are accessible. Just register an account with your favourite provider, select the area code of your choice, and start using your virtual phone number. Many virtual phone service providers give away free phone numbers to individuals, but charge for corporate customers.
Can a traditional phone number become your virtual phone number?
You may, in fact, change your current conventional phone number to a virtual one. The majority of virtual phone number providers offer this “porting” method.
What countries can you get a virtual phone number in?
Most places in the globe have virtual phone numbers, however the exact locations may differ by provider. The majority of service providers provide their products in 50 or more nations, and some even advertise availability in over 100 nations.
How long are phone numbers?
The 10-digit format of virtual phone numbers is the same as that of a typical U.S. landline, with the addition of a three-digit area code. Virtual phone numbers, in contrast to conventional landlines, can be purchased without a real address connected to the appropriate area code. This enables companies to project an impression of a local presence in a particular area from any location in the world. However, many big-name national businesses choose to use toll-free prefixes like 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833 for their virtual phone numbers rather than a local area code.