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Are you a business owner looking to take your company to the next level? A virtual business phone number can give you the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time while cutting costs, expanding your reach and awareness of your brand.

But what exactly is a virtual number and how do you get one? Check out our simple guide to all you need to know about virtual business phone numbers to get you started. 

virtual phoneWhat is a virtual phone number?

Unlike a traditional landline, a virtual phone number is not tied to a particular device. You can divert calls to any device you choose, be it your desktop computer or your mobile phone. There is no need to purchase specialist hardware; a virtual number can be added to your existing devices. 

How does a virtual phone system work?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Cloud-Based phone systems use the internet instead of telephone wire to transmit calls. Some businesses use a hybrid system which combines a cloud-based system with a secure phone line connection. With a virtual phone number, it’s easy to turn your mobile phone into a professional business phone system which you can use to direct calls to team members, set up voicemail, record calls or implement a call queuing system. Virtual number providers offer a wide range of additional features you can add as your business grows.

What are the benefits of a virtual business number?

There are many ways a virtual phone number can help businesses. A virtual number allows you to manage a business from anywhere you choose. You can pick up calls wherever you are while retaining the professionalism of responding to a business number, rather than a personal mobile number. If you’re unavailable, it’s easy to redirect calls to remote workers or a call answering service. This means not only greater flexibility for you but also better service for your customers as their calls will always be handled most efficiently.

Virtual numbers are more cost-efficient than traditional landlines as they require no new hardware, and certain call types, such as international calls, have lower rates. If you do a lot of business in America, set up an American virtual number and your calls will be charged at a local rate. For the small monthly subscription fee, you could save your business hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year.

Many entrepreneurs start out using their mobile phones to run a business. Providing a designated business number looks much more professional and allows you to separate work and personal calls. A virtual number can also give an instant boost to your company brand as non-geographic numbers such as “0845” conceal your location and give people the impression that your business has a national reach. If your business undergoes changes such as moving offices, your phone number will remain consistent, instilling a sense of trust and confidence in your customers.

If you want to expand your reach into a new geographical area, simply choose a local number for your target region and watch incoming calls climb! People tend to opt for businesses that operate in their local area. If you can’t afford a second branch or an office in expensive locations such as London, a local number is a great way to establish a presence without busting the budget.

What are the different types of virtual number?

There are several types of virtual phone numbers to choose from. The best number for your business will depend on your objectives.

Freephone Numbers such as “0800”, “0500” and “0808” are great for increasing incoming calls and enhancing customer service. What you spend on call fees may well be offset by the business you acquire and retain through offering customers and prospects a free way to contact you. 

Local rate numbers such as “0845” and “0844” and national rate numbers such as “0871” allow you to create the impression that your reach extends nationally. You could be operating out of your bedroom but a virtual number will conceal your location and give customers the impression that your company is well-established and trustworthy. It is possible to set a special rate for an 0845 and 0871 numbers. If you are on a tight budget, choose a rate that covers the cost of calls or even earns you a profit. 

Local numbers are a simple and cost-effective way to target a particular location in the UK. If your office is in Hull but you’re confident there is a market for your services in Brighton, a local number can attract new business from people who prefer to shop locally. 

0300 numbers are relatively new and can only be used by not-for-profit and public sector organisations. Ofcom offers more information on their website

International virtual numbers allow you to establish a global presence for your business without the cost of setting up physical office space abroad. If you plan to set up an overseas branch, use an international virtual number to test the market before committing to establishing premises there.

How do I get a virtual number for my business?

Do your research and find an established, reliable virtual business phone number provider. Look for companies that allow you to trial their service before you make a financial commitment. It’s also important to check that they offer a variety of price plans and features to allow you to scale the service as your business grows.

Once you’ve chosen your service provider, choose a virtual number type, consider where you want to route calls, select any additional features such as call queuing, set up a monthly payment, download the app and go live! It’s as simple as that. Most providers can have you up and running the same day.

A virtual number is a quick, easy and cost-effective way to grow your business by increasing brand awareness, acquiring new business and improving customer loyalty through great service. It will give you the flexibility you need to manage your business anywhere, any time while allowing you to keep your work and personal lives separate.