How to Obtain a VoIP Virtual NumberPosted on: 2016-10-27 | Categories: VoIP Services
A virtual number is one of those VoIP features that are often underutilized since not many companies realize how useful they can be. Virtual numbers are being used for a number of purposes and they are not a business only feature. Even individuals and households can use these numbers, although businesses have a wider range of situations where they can be deployed.
There are many ways of getting a virtual number and not all of them require payment. Many of the free services work very well for personal use but are often not flexible or powerful enough for companies. In some cases, the providers explicitly state that the numbers cannot be used for commercial or business purposes in the terms of service.
There is also no requirement that the virtual numbers have to be from the same vendor with whom your company has regular VoIP service. By their very definition, virtual numbers are not attached to any hardware. This means you can purchase a virtual number from any provider and use it with your regular lines or hardware.
However, most vendors will provide virtual numbers for their clients – as part of their regular plans or for a small fee. It is much less hassle if you do it this way but being able to purchase from anyone means that companies without business phone systems can also use virtual numbers should the need arise.
Getting a Free Virtual Number
For individual or personal use, many service providers like Skype and Vonage offer virtual numbers either for free or a very small payment. These are mostly used for the purpose of receiving calls from people in another state or country. This way you can give out this number to friends, family or colleagues who may live elsewhere. They can call you anytime without incurring long-distance charges.
Obtaining a Virtual Number from your VoIP Vendor
Getting a new virtual number is relatively easy with any VoIP vendor. Generally, companies can use the online dashboard to order or purchase virtual numbers. These numbers can have any area code or country code depending on the business requirements. However, your vendor may not be able to provision a virtual number immediately.
It can take anywhere from a few hours to even a month to get a virtual number depending on the regulations governing the use of such numbers in each country. Some countries require the business to have a physical address that has to be verified before they can get a virtual number. For instance, European privacy regulations related to VoIP and virtual numbers make it so that businesses usually need to budget some extra time to get a virtual number. You should not wait until the last minute (especially for time sensitive requirements) to purchase a number because you can’t be sure that the number will be available immediately.
Purchasing a Virtual Number from VoIPstudio
VoIPstudio clients can purchase virtual numbers by accessing the online dashboard. Switch over to the Administration panel which allows you to purchase new numbers, configure existing ones and deactivate numbers which you no longer use. The fee for purchasing virtual numbers can vary depending on the country or area code. Once you have bought the virtual numbers you want, you can assign them to individual employees or even groups.
With a virtual number, you can specify what should happen when it rings. You can direct the caller to a specific department or particular employee, send them straight to voicemail or play a custom message. You can change these rules any time through the online dashboard so you can reuse the same number for different purposes.
What Can You Do With a Virtual Number?
Individuals can use virtual numbers to protect their privacy and to prevent spam callers and telemarketers from knowing their actual phone number. People can give their personal phone numbers to only the people they trust and use the virtual number everywhere else (such as their bank or for online shopping etc.)
Businesses can assign virtual numbers to remote employees, temporary staff or short-term contractors. Your organization can use virtual numbers to keep track of marketing campaigns research studies or customer service departments in various states/countries. You can add virtual numbers whenever you need them and deactivate them when you don’t need it. It is also easy to reassign numbers on a temporary or permanent basis. Virtual numbers provide even more flexibility than ordinary numbers in that regard.
These are just a few of the more common and traditional scenarios for virtual numbers. Enterprise users are only now beginning to explore the full potential of several VoIP features including DID numbers. As VoIP technology evolves side by side with the Internet and the mobile revolution, we are bound to come up with new ways of using virtual numbers in the future.