Thanks to the rapid progress of technology, we can use services that give us phone numbers that aren’t connected to our landlines or cell phones. These are called online phone numbers; in this article, we will look at what they are, how they work, how you can get an online number for your business, and the many benefits they offer.
What Is an Online Number?
As we said previously, an online phone number (also referred to as a virtual number, a direct access number, or an inward dialing number) is not anchored to a physical device like a cell phone or a landline. However, they can still be used to make or receive calls as you usually would with any standard phone. This is why virtual numbers are popular among offices and work-from-home employees.
How Do They Work?
If you’ve ever used a call forwarding service, you know how this technology works. A virtual number works like any other. It can receive calls and make them just as well. However, they do this by forwarding calls to and from devices. For example, if you buy a virtual number, you can configure it to forward all calls received to a specific landline or cell phone number.
This is what makes them so popular with businesses and officers; by using a virtual number, businesses can accept calls from all corners of the world. The customers themselves can’t distinguish it from a regular phone experience, making everything feel seamless.
So, how does it work? Instead of requiring a SIM card or a physical address, it uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to make calls. This is the same technology used by services like Skype, WhatsApp, and iMessage to make calls. Real-time communication over broadband internet has slowly been becoming the norm over the past few years, and virtual numbers are just another extension of this movement.
As long as you have a stable mobile network or WiFi connection, you’re good to make use of your online number.
How To Get a Virtual Number?
So, you want to get a virtual number? By following these simple steps, you can get your virtual number effortlessly:
- Look for service providers that offer online numbers and pick the one you want to try. Make sure they offer a free trial period so that you can try it out and see for yourself if it works for you.
- Enter the details they ask from you and sign up on their website for the service and the free trial.
- Once you register, you have access to an online number and all its accompanying features.
- Next, you will have to choose the business location and major consumer hotspot.
- As soon as you choose your location, your virtual number will be up and running! Once activated by the service provider, you can use it as much as you want.
And that’s about it, really. Try a few different service providers if they all provide a free trial, and decide for yourself which one works for you.
How To Choose a Service Provider?
It’s always good to shop around until you find a product that resonates with you, but how will you know if it’s the right one? What kind of things should you be considering and keeping an eye out for? Well, while not an exhaustive list, here are the most important factors to consider:
- Price comes first, followed by features. Look at what you will be getting and for how much, and whether this is close to the baseline.
- The setup process should be easy for you, and this is important. What happens if you need to reset and shift this number to another device? These things should be doable by the average person.
- The features you really want are call forwarding, call recording, and screening. Try out these features first with your free trial and make sure the quality is up to scratch.
- The good thing about getting an online number is the ability to keep work and private life separate. See if the provider allows you to achieve that. If you need to travel while also keeping your online number, make sure that you can connect it from one phone to another without much hassle.
- The quality of calls is paramount and cannot be negotiated. Keep in mind that the number is primarily for calls, and you should be able to have crisp and clear calls.
- If you’re getting a virtual number for a business, you need to make sure that there will be automated attendants who will guide your clients to the appropriate channels as per their requirements.
- Customer support from the service provider should be prompt, especially if you’re getting it set up for your business. You can’t afford to lose clients because a technical glitch couldn’t be solved in a few hours.
We have come a long way from the days of dial-up connections that were interrupted as soon as the landline got a call. Now, we can make calls with the very same technology and get things done which would have seemed unfeasible a mere few decades ago. A virtual or online number is a tremendous gift to any workplace and, if used properly, can boost productivity like no other. Just remember that as long as you do proper research before you get one, you should be fine.