Legacy phone systems aren’t cutting it for serious businesses these days. Plus, with the surge of remote workers, traditional landline systems aren’t keeping up with demands. There’s a better way.

Virtual phone numbers are flexible and cost-efficient for use in-office and at home for remote employees. But what is a virtual phone number, how do they work, and are they worth it?

What Is a Virtual Phone Number?

Virtual phone numbers are telephone numbers that aren’t bound to a specific location. You can use them to make or receive a call on any phone, including VoIP phones, cell phones, and softphones. They are perfect for both employees in the office and those working remotely.

Virtual phone numbers are sometimes referred to as secondary numbers because you can change which devices receive calls from that number at any time. They also provide more anonymity compared to landlines.

They have become more popular with businesses, allowing them to take calls from customers worldwide regardless of the location of their offices. Virtual phone numbers give them a seamless line of communication with customers and are indistinguishable from standard landline numbers.

How Do Virtual Phone Numbers Work?

Virtual phone numbers don’t require a physical address or SIM card—they allow you to place a phone call over the internet using VoIP. It’s the same technology used to make calls and send texts through popular apps like WhatsApp, Google Voice, MS Teams, and iMessage.

VoIP and virtual phone numbers have flourished because of their ability to provide real-time communications through existing broadband connections. With cloud communications providers, these phone calls are completely digital and connected over the internet. VoIP phone calls provide users with high voice quality and don’t use much data.

Virtual phone numbers are entirely portable, meaning that you can use that number from any device whenever you want, regardless of your VoIP provider. You also don’t need to use a wired ethernet connection to make or receive calls from a virtual phone number—as long as you have a reliable data connection, like 4G or Wi-Fi, you’re good to go. This is how you can take calls from your mobile phone with a virtual number.

What Are the Advantages of Virtual Phone Numbers?

Now that we’ve defined what a virtual phone number is, what are the benefits? Let’s look at four of the most useful ones:

Eliminate Expensive Fees and Add-On Charges

You can use a virtual phone system no matter where you are and make calls worldwide without facing expensive charges. Your number can be toll-free or a local number to where you’re calling or expecting calls from, offering benefits to global employees and customers.

Using Direct Inward Dialing (DID) with a virtual phone number points the caller to the specific person they need to talk to by dialing the virtual number you created for their area. No matter where they are, they’ll end up talking to your sales team, customer service reps, etc. And, the best part is that they won’t notice the difference between the virtual phone number and a traditional one.

man using a cell phone at a park

Improve Caller Satisfaction

Many VoIP service providers include auto attendants. These attendants greet your callers and give them an easy-to-navigate menu in order to reach the right person, ensuring that they don’t waste their time (and yours) speaking with the wrong people and being transferred to different departments over and over.

Traditional phone systems don’t incorporate these call routing features by default. To get these features with a legacy system, you’d need to hire an IT manager, purchase a costly PBX, and do a lot of legwork to route your customers to the right person. It’s expensive and time-consuming—not fun for anyone.

Make & Receive Calls From Anywhere

Traditional phone numbers connect to a single phone on a single system. So, what happens if that person is out of their office? You can leave a voicemail, but that’s about it. Many customers won’t reach out a second time.

Virtual numbers eliminate that problem—you can make and receive calls at the same number, whether you’re at your desk or on your smartphone. You can also forward them to another agent automatically. This capability helps reduce the odds of your customers going to a voicemail inbox and never calling back again.

If they do still make it to the voicemail of your virtual phone number, there’s a plus side: VoIP systems can transcribe their message and send it to your email almost instantly. You’ll have the ability to get back to them right away.

Separate Your Business & Personal Phone

Virtual phone numbers work for both incoming and outgoing calls, whether it’s to your customers, employees, or coworkers. This feature makes virtual phone numbers perfect for remote workers—especially since there’s a steady shift moving away from in-office work.

Your remote staff doesn’t have to install a physical phone in their home office or use their personal phone to take and make business calls. Virtual phone numbers mask the caller ID, giving them more control when making outbound calls. Customers will never get their private number, and they can select business hours in which the virtual number will accept inbound calls.

person using a virtual phone

How to Get Your Virtual Phone Number

Virtual phone numbers are infinitely more beneficial than legacy phone systems for businesses of every size. From small businesses with remote staff to larger companies who want to manage their call center communications more efficiently, virtual phone numbers and VoIP systems are the way to go.

There are a few variations of virtual phone numbers to consider:

  • Local numbers give you a virtual number with an area code of your choosing.
  • Toll-free numbers allow your customers to call without paying any fees or tolls.
  • Vanity numbers are catchy and memorable—you can purchase a word or words you want people to identify your business by and port them into your VoIP system.

If you’re transitioning to a virtual phone number, you can choose to keep your existing one and take it with you to your new VoIP system. 

Interested in learning more about setting up a virtual phone number for your business? Get in touch with our communication experts today!