If you run a business, you need to know what the latest advancements and developments in telecommunications in order to stay competitive. One of the most promising areas of development in telecommunications has been VOIP and its associated technologies. In this article, we’ll take a look at what VoIP is, how virtual phone numbers work, and how they’re used in business.
What is VoIP?
Short for “Voice over Internet Protocol”, VOIP is a form of communicating between devices that have an Internet connection. When a VoIP calls is made, there are typically two processes that occur:
- First, a phone number is connected with another phone number. This means that if a VoIP-enabled virtual phone number (see below) is dialed, the call may be rerouted to another phone number located almost anywhere in the world.
- Second, once the call is connected, audio signals are converted to digital packets of data, which are then converted by the recipient’s phone into an audio signal.
As you may guess, VoIP’s functionality changes are the Internet develops, so it has begun to take on a wider catch-all meaning. One of the most important developments in VoIP has been “virtual phone numbers”.
What is a Virtual Phone Number?
Virtual phone numbers are phone numbers that, when dialed, automatically routes a call from one phone number (known as the “destination phone number”) to another instantly. Virtual phone numbers are available in a variety of types, including toll free numbers, ITFS numbers (essentially toll free numbers that work across countries), virtual SMS numbers, and so forth.
How are Virtual Phone Numbers Used in Business?
Now that you understand what virtual phone numbers are, let’s look at how they can be used for business:
- Accessing New Markets: Virtual phone numbers powered by VoIP give your business the ability to reach newer markets than if you had followed traditional methods of business expansion. By contrast, the traditional methods of business expansion required that your business open up a branch office in a new area—a complicated and expensive process that was only available to larger enterprises or small businesses that took on significant risk. Now, for the cost of a virtual phone number subscription, your business can instantly tap into markets located anywhere in the world. This allows startups and small businesses to remain competitive, while larger organizations can scale down their overheads and become “leaner”.
- Localization: One of the biggest challenges that businesses face in the 21st century, where we can get in touch with others around the world almost instantly. Because of this “facelessness”, there’s a challenge to earn the acceptance of foreign business entities in new markets, whether that’s a new region in the same country or an entirely new country altogether. Virtual phone numbers circumvent these obstacles by the fact that they not only function like “normal” phone numbers, but also resemble these numbers in both country code, area/region code, and other recognizable numbering schemes.
Professional Credibility: With virtual phone numbers, businesses can gain professional credibility. Virtual phone numbers come in a variety of different functionalities and types. This includes toll free numbers and vanity numbers, as well as ITFS numbers (which function as toll free numbers across international phone systems). By using a toll free number, your customers subconsciously recognize that your business is foot the bill, not them. The same thing with ITFS number, which are toll free numbers that allow international customers to reach your business toll free (ordinarily, those customers would be charged long distance fees or have their call blocked).