So you've just started a business?
You've probably found a few customers.
You've written down a few contact numbers.
You might even have a plan to take your business to the next level.
But how can you do that?
With Virtual Landlines.
So what is a virtual landline?
And will I need one for my business?
Here's a basic definition to get us started:
A virtual landline is a cloud-based telephony service, and it lets you divert your calls to any phone number you want.
When we first started our business a couple of years ago, we also came across virtual landlines.
And we were confused.
So I was tasked with finding a virtual landline to suit our startup needs.
It's two years later, and guess what?
We are a thriving small business.
In fact, after switching to a virtual landline we immediately saw some great results:
Our online ratings shot up to an average of 4.3 stars.
Customers said they loved our improved customer-service.
And our orders multiplied all because we made the simple switch!
Read More: Wikipedia on Virtual Numbers
Sounds good, right?
If you want to see results like ours, we can't recommend virtual landlines more.
And this is why I am eager to pass on my knowledge.
So, today's article will talk you through:
1. What a virtual landline is
2. How it works
3. Why you should use it for your business
4. Our top rated virtual landline providers
And to combat your queries, check out my Frequently Asked Questions.
Technology is the future
And even though getting to grips with technology is a great way to invigorate your business, we all know that it can get tricky.
Virtual Landlines are no different.
Sure, they sound super confusing.
So let me make it super simple:
A virtual number is a telephone number that exists in the cloud'.
This means that it isn't fixed to a telephone line.
A local number - or a virtual number - can be forwarded to different devices, mobile phones, VoIP phones and other internet communication systems (e.g. Skype).
When you receive a call, it gets diverted from your landline to a device of your choice.
And when you call someone using your virtual landline, it becomes a much cheaper call.
So calling your customers or keeping in touch with your clients becomes much easier and less pricey.
And we know this is really important.
You can even choose the kind of virtual landline you want.
Most providers have a variety of packages to fit your needs, and these will be rated and compared in chapter 4.
Plus, it works just like a landline.
All you have to do is make or receive your calls through an app or through a VoIP phone.
You can even divert it to devices that don't have internet like your mobile or home landline.
Do you still need convincing?
Keep reading to find out whether it will suit your business.
Read More: The Best Virtual Landlines UK
Like any decision, you have to consider your business first.
And with virtual landlines, it is no different.
Understanding the tech is hard enough.
And now you need to understand whether it'll work for you?
To make things a little easier for you, we've worked out whether virtual landlines will work for your needs:
Virtual Landlines suit small businesses the best, especially as they can support a move from a start up to a more established company.
Let's say you've just started out.
You are probably using a landline or mobile phone as a business phone, and you are eager to get this micro-business up and running.
Problem is, landline services aren't a good option to stick to:
1. It looks unprofessional
2. You could be charged with a hefty bill at the end of the month.
3. You can even be trapped within a phone contract that simply isn't optimised for work use.
Virtual landlines can be the solution for startups.
Want to hear more reasons why you should make the switch?
Check out chapter 4.
But the really great thing about virtual landlines is this: it can work for so many more businesses and people than just startups.
Do you work from home? Or do you tend to work in multiple locations?
Virtual landlines can give you the flexibility to always be in the office.
This is also a great solution for sole traders.
Are you looking to gain a local presence in a bigger location?
Why not have your very own london office'?
Virtual numbers can promote your UK presence without actually having to be there physically.
This way you can boost your profile and boost your business.
And it's easy to do.
So, is it an option for you?
Or maybe you're a marketing whizz, and looking to see how your current campaign is doing?
FOR MARKETING COMPANIES AND DEPARTMENTS
If you're campaign involves people calling a number, using one telephone number can become a problem.
How can you keep on top of all the callers?
And how do you work out the volume of traffic for this campaign accurately?
The answer: with great difficulty.
Enter virtual landlines.
This means you can set a unique number for this marketing traffic, allowing you to see call volume.
It can also work for A/B testing (simply use a different number for each page), and it means you can know where people are calling from!
Individual campaigns can be analysed better with improved data accuracy.
You can work out what marketing campaigns are doing the trick, and which are not worth your time.
FOR VIRTUAL SERVICES
It's pretty simple: If you're a virtual service, you'll need a virtual landline number.
Just like remote workers use virtual numbers when out of the office, you can use it if you don't have an office.
This way you can keep your business connected wherever you are.
Do you own a small business?
Do you work remotely?
Are you looking to take control of your calls and contacts?
In today's connected world you are never really out of the office.
And virtual landlines are your solution to this.
Or maybe you're not looking for a business solution at all?
Whether you're constantly on the move, or want to stay connected to people on the other side of the world, you can always stay in contact.
Don't fancy working remotely this weekend?
You can do this too!
Why not remove yourself completely from the office with your virtual number?
Your personal contacts can be separated from your professional ones as a different number directs business calls to the same mobile.
This way you can organise your business and personal communications on one device.
Whether you want to be in the office or not, you know that the world is increasingly connected.
So why not be a part of it?
Read More: Wikipedia on VoIP
So, now you know whether virtual landlines will work for you and your business.
But the benefits don't stop there.
There are actually way more reasons to convince you to make the switch to a virtual landline.
|The Benefits of Virtual Numbers|
It's good for growth
With a plethora of packages and adaptable services, finding the right package for you right now and as you grow is not a hard feat.
How's that for supporting your business?
You can work from anywhere and with any number.
How's that for supporting your business?
Easy to Set Up
No delivery of confusing technology.
No engineers coming over in case it breaks.
As a remote service, all you have to do is leave it to the professionals and get on with what you do best:
Running your business.
Thanks to the variety of packages and competitive prices, you can clearly see how much you could be spending.
And who doesn't love lower costs?
Avoid roaming charges
We all seem to be on the go, these days.
So if you're not in the UK, beat roaming charges by using the apps most providers have.
Twinning you mobile to your desk phone
Most virtual landline services have multiple features to support your business needs.
And the most common one these days is the ability to twin your work and mobile phone.
And who doesn't need to stay up to date on the go?
Easy to use
If you thought the setup was simple, then check out actually using it:
You can forward your calls with a click, and make or receive them with a tap!
Take your business international
Did you know that with virtual landlines your call can be diverted to anywhere in the world?
This does depend on your package, but in global times you need to stay connected
Overall it's a cost effective solution to older technology.
No more missing calls because you aren't in the office.
And no more struggling to set up a brand new phone.
Virtual landlines have adapted to the world around us, and it can adapt to your business just as easily.
How's that for the benefits of going virtual?
So now you're hooked on a virtual landlines.
And why wouldn't you be?
It's got easy business solutions written all over it.
But the question is: which provider is best for you?
Lucky for you, I've compiled the best providers for virtual landlines to help you work out which will work for you.
You can suss out which features you want, the price you can afford, and the package that suits you best.
Here's my top picks for virtual landline providers:
|The Providers||Their Online Rating||What they offer|
Toll-Free Forwarding - Our Top Pick
This company has no less than 6 packages to choose from, and even a customisable option to fit your needs.
And with a wide range of prices and minutes allowances you'll be sure to find something that'll fit your business.
Whatever size it may be.
And a 10 day free trial means you can really see if the package is working for you or not.
With 3 packages to choose from, you can pay from ||$||6.44||$|| to ||$||25.81||$|| a month.
The number of landline and mobile minutes included ranges from 1000 to 4000, and the rate for landlines if you exceed this is 3PPM.
Plus, the Silver and Gold packages have call management.
Like being in control?
With its online portal , you can see and control your virtual numbers.
It's Premium and Premium Unlimited packages cost ||$||15.22||$|| and ||$||19.37||$|| respectively, and both allow you unlimited landline calls.
If you need to call mobiles, check out their unlimited option, or you might end up paying 5PPM.
Plus, you can call up to 5 countries.
Why not go global?
Their 3 packages are priced between ||$||12.85||$|| and ||$||32.21||$||.
Your minutes a month allowances runs between 350 and 1600, but the expensive cost of additional minutes for mobile numbers could be a problem.
The 30 day free trial can let you work out if it is a good match for your business.
Making any decision when it comes to your business isn't easy.
What if it doesn't work out?
What if we waste time trying to understand the new technology?
And what if we lose money because of it?
The virtual landline providers already have that covered.
With multiple packages and providers to choose from, you really can't go wrong.
They want to support your business, and they will adapt to your needs.
It's actually inherent in the history of virtual numbers and telephones.
Check out the next chapter to find out more.
Read More: The Top 10 Best IP Phones
Still not sure about adding a virtual landline to your business?
Sure, any technological change is sure to be scary for any business.
But landlines have come so far technologically, why wouldn't you take the next step?
You know as a business owner that you have to keep your competition on their toes.
And being one step ahead of the game never does too badly in business, either.
To convince you to take the next step towards the future, check out our quick history of landline telephones in the UK:
Yes, even in the 17th century the first records of telephones have been found.
These were inventions similar to that of the tin-can' phone.
The first scientist works out that you can communicate with electricity.
50 years later and electrical telephones were created.
Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the invention of the telephone.
However, many other inventors around the same time also threw their hat into the ring.
It's even considered a controversial historical topic because of this!
Who knew telephones could cause so much turmoil?
The first telephone line in Massachusetts was completed.
38 years later the first trans-continental phone call was made.
Researchers in the US theorised that a mobile phone could work.
Only 40 years later was the first mobile phone actually created.
The Motorola DynaTAC wasn't like the telephones we use today however.
It weighed 1.75 pounds and cost nearly $4000.
The fact is that telephones have come far since the first attempts nearly 500 years ago.
And the advances in technology is only going to speed up.
You don't want to be stuck in 1877, do you?
Virtual landlines are a cheaper, easier and forward looking solution to your business' needs.
If landlines can come this far in several odd centuries, imagine how far your business could go with it.
Still unsure about Virtual Landlines?
I've answered some FAQs to combat those concerns:
How long will it take to set up my virtual landline?
It doesn't take long to set up a virtual number.
The providers set up your virtual number remotely, leaving you to get on with what you do best.
What happens if I need to change my services?
If you want to cancel a plan with a provider - but take your virtual number with you - this is possible.
However, you normally have to be with a provider for a certain period of time to make the switch.
What happens if I need to change my virtual number?
Virtual numbers are considered a temporary number.
So, if you're anxious about putting your telephone number on the internet, don't worry.
It can quite easily be changed.
Callers can also be blocked, as with normal telephone numbers.
Are there any hidden charges?
Most providers allow you to cancel at any time with no cancellation fees.
But some, such as Vonage, do have such fees.
How do I keep my existing landline number?
It is an easy process to port your phone number.
And some providers even allow you to port your number over free of charge.
It is usually a quick process, but it can take up to 3 weeks to carry over.
Is there a difference between virtual landlines and virtual numbers?
No, they are the same thing.
Read More: Business Telephone Systems
Bringing your business up to date with the latest tech can be hard.
Especially when all of the terms and concepts are new to you.
We know that it can sound confusing, complicated, and leave you feeling more lost than when you first set out.
But now you should have combated your queries and be keyed in on your next technological step.
So now it's over to you:
Are you ready to make the switch to a virtual number?
And which provider do you think will suit you best?