Hidden figures: why virtual numbers are the secret tool in your customer service kitbag

virtual numbers

Hidden figures: why virtual numbers are the secret tool in your customer service kitbag

The use of virtual numbers is often overlooked.  It’s key for companies looking to enter new markets without the overhead of actually having a local presence.

Using a hosted telephony system to power your voice communications brings lots of organisational benefits;  scalable technology with minimal IT management overhead, predictable fees and the option to integrate social media and CRM to create a single platform to manage all of your inbound and outbound communications.

The use of virtual numbers as part of that hosted system is one service benefit often overlooked.  It’s key for companies looking to enter new markets without the overhead of actually having a local presence.

What is a virtual number?

A virtual number is a phone number that’s not directly attached to a telephone line or physical device such as a desk phone or mobile.  Virtual numbers are not limited by physical infrastructure such as PSTN but are ‘virtual’ in the sense that they can be IP-based and can be directed to any other fixed telephone line for processing.

In practice, you could have lots of virtual numbers (from different geographies) coming into a single line.  Perhaps the best way of explaining the power of virtual numbers is to outline some popular use cases.

A popular use case for virtual numbers

One of the most popular use cases for virtual numbers is for geographic spread, either in-country or intra-country.  Let’s take the example of a software company based in Ireland.

This company is now expanding to the UK market and wants to set up a local number to service its UK customers.  It doesn’t matter that the company has no physical presence yet in that market.  All it needs is a local telephone number with an area code that’s recognised and trusted by its UK customers.

That number can then be redirected back to a telephone line in the Irish head quarters where calls are answered without any latency or delay.  So you could set up a virtual number as a support line for UK customers, yet it’s the support team in Ireland answering the calls.  For the price of a local call, customers can dial a local number and reach the support department in Ireland.

Of course, this company can take this approach a step further by taking out several virtual numbers to cover London, Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle, depending on how important it is for them to have local coverage within the UK itself.

Similarly, virtual numbers can also be toll-free so if you want to offer customer freephone numbers, that can easily be arranged too.

Benefits of virtual numbers

There are lots of reasons why you would want to set up virtual numbers and lots of benefits too.

First and foremost, virtual numbers convey the concept of scale.  Offering clients local numbers to call conveys an image of an organisation that has broad geographic coverage and scale.  It displays a certain level of professionalism and commitment to good customer experience, by making it easier for customers to do business with them.

Virtual numbers are also quick to set up and cost-effective to maintain.  There’s certainly no comparison between the cost of a virtual number and a physical office with a standard PSTN line.

And cost is also important for clients in that they are always dialling a local number.  This completely avoids costly international call charges for the customer and the organisation that owns the virtual number.

At Intellicom, we’ve assisted a number of clients with virtual numbers.  In fact, we already provide virtual numbers in over 60 countries across all five continents.  Talk to the team if you’d like to unlock the power of virtual numbers for your organisation.

Dee

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