Let’s be honest, switching your business phone may have been on your “To Do” list for some time. However, it can feel like such a hassle to do, and you may be worried about unnecessary downtime where your customers can’t contact you.
We don’t want these things to get in the way of you experiencing the big benefits that can come with a virtual phone number. You may be slightly aware of some of the benefits, but we want to make sure you get the full picture of what you could gain by simply switching to a virtual phone number provider.
We’re going to start today’s article out by looking at how a virtual phone number works. From there, we’ll be discussing when a virtual phone number makes sense, and then all the amazing benefits that can come with it.
Once you have a solid understanding of virtual phone number providers, we’re going to launch into our easy to follow checklist. From there, we will take you through using the checklist as we look at some of the most popular providers:
If that sounds good to you, then let’s get into it!
When you take advantage of a virtual phone system, the number you are using will be considered a virtual phone number. A virtual phone system is a phone system that uses internet based technology to transmit and receive voice signals, instead of relying on the old fashioned telephone wires.
That means for a growing business, you won’t have to install telephone wires and set up a landline. It also means that you can take advantage of the crystal clear voice communication that is made possible by relying on modern technology to support your phone systems.
Virtual phone systems come with more benefits than just providing high quality phone experience. They also enable you to no longer be tied down to one location. That’s right, once you ditch your landline you are able to take full advantage of flexibility and increase your mobility. You will be able to access your business phone number from a variety of different devices and locations.
This means that your business phone system can live within your mobile device, tablet, computer, or even a traditional phone if you’d like. The best virtual phone systems will have a separate app, so you won’t ever confuse incoming personal calls and incoming business calls if you are using one mobile device for both.
Once you have signed up for a virtual phone system, you can receive your virtual phone number. There should be a wide variety of number types to choose from, which we will be talking about more in depth later one. But, for now, know that you should have access to keeping your existing phone number, selecting a toll free number, local number, or international phone number. Don’t worry, we’ll be talking about those more a bit later!
A virtual phone number works well for businesses of all types and styles. If you are looking to enable remote or flexible working then you may especially benefit from a virtual phone number.
Another type of team that can especially benefit from a virtual phone number, is the team that is growing. Whether you are looking to expand by adding team members around the country or around the globe, offering international offerings, or are expanding office locations, a virtual phone number can make all of these use cases just a little bit easier to navigate.
That is because, as we said, your phone number is no longer tied to a specific location. You don’t even have to be in a specific location to have access to a local number!
Let’s look at the following scenario: Imagine you are a small business with a single location in the United States. However, you have just started to offer international shipping, and you want to offer more than just email exchanges when communicating with international customers.
That’s where a virtual international phone number can come in handy. If you are noticing a lot of orders coming in from a certain country, you should consider adding a virtual international phone number using a local area code from that country. That way your international customers will be able to contact you without worrying about international phone expenses. It can also help make your business appear more local, and more connected to your potential new customers.
By making the small change of switching to a virtual phone number provider, you can see some of the following benefits:
Whether you are looking to expand into new markets, connect with local callers, or provide multiple locations with the appropriate number, you can instantly expand your business presence with a virtual number.
If you have a team, such as caller support, split amongst locations having a single phone number can help your callers and customers avoid confusion by having one consistent number to call.
Decreased communication costs:
By switching to a virtual phone number provider, you will likely be able to lower your business communication costs. That is because VoIP systems are cheaper than traditional telephone services, and it is through a VoIP system that you can access a virtual phone number!
With a virtual phone number provider you are unlocking a more advanced phone system that can integrate into your existing business tools. If you love your CRM, live in Slack, or have another business tool your team relies on, it just makes sense to connect it to your business phone solution.
Next generation features:
A virtual phone number provider should allow for enhanced capabilities that can be accessed through easy to use features. For example, your virtual phone number provider should enable business texting, voicemail and call transcriptions, and more.
Now that you have a better understanding of virtual phone numbers in general, we wanted to share with you our comprehensive list that you should use when comparing providers. While a fair amount of these points are directly related to virtual phone numbers, some speak more to virtual phone number providers in general. When you keep these eight simple points in mind, you will find a system that can best support your virtual phone number needs, as well as your virtual phone communication in general.
Port your existing number
You shouldn’t have to lose the number that is displayed across your branding, and that your customers already know. When looking at a new virtual phone number provider, make sure that they are able to port your existing phone number into their system.
International virtual phone number
As we demonstrated in our use case, having an international phone number at your fingertips is a great way to access new international markets. Whether you have physical locations or employees located across the globe, or just want to connect with your international customers, make sure you have the option to access an international virtual phone number.
Toll-free virtual phone numbers
Toll-free numbers are a great way to expand your accessibility. These numbers are typically seen starting with a combination such as 1-800. The toll free number allows callers to reach your business out of the area without being charged for a long distance phone call.
Accessible on multiple devices
With flexibility being such a central component of a virtual phone system, make sure that you can access your new provider on devices that make sense for you and your business. This probably means having a variety of options, so each of your team members can determine what makes sense for them individually and for the business as a whole.
Easy to get started with
You don’t want to experience any downtime on your phone lines, as this may lead to missed opportunities and frustrated customers. Make sure that you have access to support as you get started, and you can easily implement your new system.
Multiple support options
Support shouldn’t just be available to you at the start of your new phone experience, but throughout your time with your provider. Look for a range of options, such as live demo calls, resource libraries and guides, and live support chat options. That way you can make sure to have access to support whenever you may need it.
Your phone systems should make sense for the size of your team right now, and for your team in the future. Many virtual phone providers will charge per user, per month. This means that you can scale your phone, and the associated expenses, as your team grows. Avoid flat fees that may have highly variable costs per user to see the biggest savings.
Your virtual phone number provider should provide you with more than a virtual phone number. Search for advanced features that can help your business improve your efficiency, effectiveness, and connect better with your customers and callers.
As we said, we were going to compare four of the top virtual phone number providers, while using our checklist as an easy framework to do so. We will be looking at the following providers:
With options for number porting, local, international, and toll-free numbers, you are able to find the perfect virtual phone number for your business.
This means that the area code of your phone isn’t restricted to your local zoning. Yodel offers hundreds of area codes and countries to choose from, which includes countries such as:
And so many more! Yodel is made accessible on your mobile device, tablet, desktop, laptop, and even on hardware SIP phones. Yodel offers two pricing options, Premium and Premium Plus, which both allow for additional phone numbers. That means that you don’t have to worry about activating multiple accounts just to take advantage of multiple virtual phone numbers.
You can get started with a 14 day free trial, during which you can access your virtual phone number as well as a suite of other robust features. You can even schedule a demo call to get a hands on demonstration on how to take advantage of your virtual number and Yodel trial period.
Grasshopper lets you choose from toll-free, vanity, or local phone numbers. They are able to port your existing business phone number, if you’d like to keep the number you are already using. Grasshopper allows you to add multiple numbers, which can include combinations such as a toll free number and a local number. Grasshopper doesn’t have any specific information regarding international phone numbers
You can get started today with a free 7 day trial. Your Grasshopper free trial will let you get started with a virtual number such as either a toll free number or a local number.
Grasshopper has a range of advanced features that you can take advantage of, which include things such as business texting. Their app makes this system available across a range of device types as well.
If you are already taking advantage of Google apps, Google Voice might be a good fit. While Google Voice doesn’t come with many standard VoIP features, the convenience of connecting it to your other Google apps may be worth it.
Unfortunately for many businesses and use cases, Google Voice is only available for US based numbers. That means if you are a US business who wants to connect with international customers, you may miss out on those international callers ringing your line. If you are looking for a virtual phone number to expand your accessibility around the globe, Google Voice may not be the system for you. C
However, if you are a US based business or a business based elsewhere who only wants a US based number, you can access US area codes through Google Voice virtual phone numbers.
Google Voice offers a variety of business phone plans, ranging from $10 per user/month up to $30 per user/month. Google Voice does not mention a free trial to test out their virtual phone number capabilities.
Aircall is able to give your team access to a 7 day free trial, during which you can access an international, local, or toll-free number. You can additionally port your existing phone number into the Aircall system.
With Aircall, you can access over 100 country area codes, which you can test out during their free trial period. This makes it easy to connect with a variety of customers all over the globe. Aircall also allows for national numbers, and toll-free numbers during their trial period.
Aircall is also accessible across device types, and includes a wide range of smart integrations in their list of advanced features.
However, it is worth noting that Aircall is one of the most expensive VoIP providers, while offering similar features to most other systems. It is worth keeping in mind as you compare different virtual phone number providers.
Getting started with a virtual phone number shouldn’t be a complicated task, and now that you have access to our virtual phone number checklist you can be sure that you will make the best decision for your team.
Now that you know the benefits of a virtual phone number, we are sure you will be itching to get started testing out a virtual phone number.
That is why we wanted to mention Yodel’s free 14 day trial one more time for you. Signing up comes with no commitment, and you can see the benefits of testing out a virtual phone system before locking yourself into one provider. Our team is always available to help out, with helpful demo calls, webinars, and resources for you to take a look at.