As virtual phone numbers were basically created for businesses, it’s a given that they carry with them a lot of benefits for businesses. Those benefits are not always spelled out for businesses by the virtual service providers, though, so we thought it fitting to show exactly what you can do with a virtual phone number as a small business owner.
In their function, they function pretty much the same exact way as a normal number, but in addition to the standard service that you would get with any other number that you’re used to, virtual numbers are actually quite a bit more versatile.
It’s kind of like when you switch from using CDs for your music to using mp3s. You’ll be able to do a lot more with mp3s than CDs, and you’ll be able to do it quicker, more cheaply, and more easily. Your business has more options when using a virtual phone number, and that’s just what we’re going to look at today.
A Virtual Number Isn’t Tied Down to a Single Phone
In the virtual space, you can bypass the confines of conventional phone lines and take your number to use in a variety of ways. One of those ways is using it as an access point for all calls and text messages in and out of your business.
Instead of having a single phone with its single phone number, you can take a virtual phone number and send all the calls that come into that number to multiple destinations, however you need to arrange it to work best for your business.
For example, if you have a virtual number as your main business number which customers will dial to reach you, you can set up your virtual phone system to receive your business calls and send them instantly to multiple phones, such as all the cell phones of your employees, if you like.
Virtual Numbers Can Be Used for Multiple Setup Types
So, how it works is that when a customer calls your main virtual number for the business, you can have it ring to all of your phones at once (or in series, one at a time) to give multiple employees the opportunity to take the call.
The sky is pretty much the limit for the ways you can organize your system with a virtual phone number. If you just want to have a completely standard setup in which your virtual number only rings a single phone—which can be any kind of phone, landline, cell phone, etc.—then you can do that, too, as if it were any other phone with a regular number. The point is that you have a lot more options with a virtual phone system.
As far as making and receiving calls, a virtual works just like a standard number, in that people dial it just like a standard number and you can call out from your business while displaying your business virtual number on the outgoing caller ID, just like a standard number. You just don’t have to assign the number to a single phone.
Stop Using Your Private Number for the Business
Many small business owners, when they’re just getting started, will use their personal cell phone to run the business and give out their private number to customers because that’s what they have at the time.
It’s fine to use your personal landline or cell to run your business, which may work well for you for a time, but that unfortunately means that your personal number is now being used for the business, as well as your private use. One of the best things about getting a virtual number is that you don’t have to get a separate phone attached to it, as you would with a conventional service provider.
Your Private Number Should Stay Private
When you use a system like Talkroute and register a virtual number for the system, you can then use that number as your main business line instead of your private number, which is much more desirable for obvious reasons.
If you want, you can still continue to use your own cell phone to run the business as you were, but now you can have customers dial the virtual number and still be sent to the same cell phone.
That’s a great advantage if you want to continue taking calls on the same phone but keep your personal number private, and whenever you’re ready you can set up your virtual system to send calls to a different phone, or to as many phones as you want, with just your one virtual phone number. Not to mention, you can always add more virtual phone numbers to your Talkroute system if you need more lines for customers to call.
Turn Your Existing Number into a Virtual Number
Many businesses will not want to get a brand-new number, which is totally understandable because a lot of businesses already have an established number that they’ve been using for a long time and their customers know the number. If that is the case for you, then you obviously wouldn’t want to change your main business number.
And you don’t have to. As this is such a common scenario with businesses who want to switch to a virtual service provider like Talkroute for all of the professional features but don’t want to change their business number, they can easily make the switch to virtual service without missing a beat by porting their existing number to Talkroute or another virtual service.
A port is a transfer of service for a phone number, from one carrier or service provider to another. So, when you port your number to Talkroute, for example, you are turning your regular phone number into a virtual phone number.
Talkroute makes it very easy to port your number, and a porting specialist is there to walk you through the process, every step of the way. It can be any number that you own, whether it’s a home phone, an office line, or a cell phone.
Transform Your Existing Number with Virtual Service
Whatever phone you are using to run your business, or multiple phones, you can take the number, port it to your new virtual service, and it then becomes a virtual number with all the features that any other virtual number has. This can be extremely useful as your business grows and you start to need additional features that you don’t have with a single phone.
Among those features are things like a call menu, business-grade voicemail, call stacking for handling multiple simultaneous calls, on-hold music, and a ton of other professional features that you get with a Talkroute virtual phone system. Those are the kinds of things that can really step up your game for call management, and they are the kinds of features that you will need more and more as your business grows.
Those features, however, are actually needful for a business of any size and level of experience because they allow you to manage calls with a professional system, instead of just letting customers call your cell phone and answering the calls.
Get Rid of Your Landline
One of the things that can really hold you back as a small business is using a landline to run it. If you are using an old-school landline to manage all of your business calls, that can be very limiting. For one thing, it doesn’t allow you to be mobile, which is usually quite necessary as a new business owner.
Rather than taking calls while you’re home or in your office, then letting voicemail take over when you’re not there, you can transform how you manage calls by switching to a virtual phone number and using it to send calls to a cell phone. You’ll obviously then be able to run your business from anywhere.
Especially when you have a new small business, you’re probably going to be required to be a lot of different places, taking you away from your landline and opening you up to the possibility of missing clients or customers and losing sales as a result.
You Don’t Have Much Mobility with a Landline Phone
In the early stages of your business, you don’t want to miss out on any opportunity, which is exactly why upgrading to a virtual phone system with a cell phone to take calls is so needful. As we mentioned in the previous section, you don’t have to get rid of your existing number, either.
If you want to move away from your landline service but hold on to the phone number you already have, then you can simply port the number attached to your landline and transfer it to a virtual phone service like Talkroute. Then, your landline number becomes a virtual number and you can send calls to that number to any phone you like, such as a cell phone which you designate for the business.
Your customers will never know the difference because they’re still dialing the same number to reach your business, just as they did before, but you’re making life on your end a lot easier by adding all the features of a virtual system.
Set Up a Virtual Number for Text Messaging
If you don’t want to change anything about your business number or its service, but you don’t want to run text messaging through your existing number, then you always have the option of getting a separate virtual number that you use specifically for text messaging.
Text messaging is becoming more and more necessary for small businesses, as it is increasingly the preferred method of customers to get in touch with you. If you prefer, you can get a new virtual number that customers can use to text you, separately from your main business number.
That, however, can be problematic because you’re forcing your customers to use another number if they want to text you, which makes it a little more difficult for them to contact you if they want to use text.
Customers Can Call or Text You on the Same Virtual Number
Consequently, the better option is to have a single virtual number that people can use, whether they’re calling you or texting you. You can get a new virtual number or port in your existing, established phone number to a service like Talkroute and use that as your main virtual business number for calls, as well as text messages, as we’ve already discussed.
If you’re using Talkroute as your virtual system, you’ll find that managing your business text messages through the system is very easy to use. While customers can send text messages to your virtual phone number as they would when texting any other number, you can view and reply to all your business texts via a control panel or through the mobile app from your Talkroute account.
It’s easy for them to use, they don’t have to send texts to some other new number, and it is simple for you to manage from your online dashboard with a Talkroute system.
Start a Free Trial and See if It Works for You
Using a virtual phone number for your small business can be extremely useful, and it will allow you to create a far better, more professional experience for your customers. With very little effort, you can obtain a new virtual number from Talkroute’s extensive library of local and toll-free numbers, or port in your existing number to be used with a virtual system.
If you’re not sure about using this kind of service or switching to a virtual phone number for your business, then you can take advantage of the free trial with Talkroute and test out a full system with a working virtual number to see if it’s a good fit for your business. Try it today here.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.