Dedicated (virtual) phone numbers and how they work

Find out how a dedicated (or virtual) phone number can help your business simplify the customer service journey and serve a client base that demands 24-hour service.

With businesses operating in locations all over the world and a client base that demands 24-hour service, it’s becoming more and more important for companies to simplify their customer service journey. One way to do this is by embracing a dedicated phone number (also known as a virtual phone number).

What is a virtual phone number?

Have you ever called a large retail store or big service provider? A friendly robot probably answered the phone, gave you some numbers to choose from and redirected your call to the relevant department. It’s a bit like interacting with an efficient receptionist — you end up speaking to the exact person you were after, without all the awkward pleasantries involved in human conversation.

The magic? That’s a dedicated phone number at work.

A dedicated phone number allows a company to forward inbound calls to a device or pre-selected telephone number — without having to associate that dedicated number with a single telephone system or office. It’s also a valuable tool for SMS marketing, but more on that later.

A dedicated number can form a central contact point for inbound calls or text messages. It allows a business to overcome time and location barriers by connecting remote workers to a ‘central hub’ and enables staff to respond to calls from myriad offices and devices.

How does a dedicated phone number work?

The number dialled by a caller uses internet-based protocols to forward the call to a real number selected by the dedicated number client. There is no telephone line and, if the client wishes, the call can be forwarded to his or her laptop or mobile device. In effect, the dedicated phone number acts as either a router (from the dedicated number to a laptop, for example) or a gateway (from the caller to the client’s landline or mobile phone via the dedicated number).

Why use a dedicated phone number?

A dedicated phone number can take your communication capabilities to a whole new level:

  • Companies that operate in multiple locations can provide a single number for their clients to call. This will make it easy for the customer to get in contact with the relevant person and enquiries can be automatically redirected using a phone menu.
  • Providing different phone numbers for different countries can be off-putting for local residents. A dedicated phone number can help a company feel local, increasing response statistics in a specific geographical area when companies want to reach out to particular segments of targeted clients in a location.
  • A dedicated number gives employees the flexibility to work remotely and remain accessible to their customers. As far as the caller is concerned, the staff member is at the office, behind their desk and ready to service them.
  • Whether you’re self-employed or a team of 480, a dedicated phone number allows you to promote a professional business presence while eliminating the need for an expensive in-house telephony system.
  • Self-employed, one-person companies also use dedicated phone numbers. An automated receptionist acts as a cushion between professional and private calls and gives a more professional appearance to clients.
  • Finally, for those travelling, particularly business travellers, a dedicated phone number allows you to keep in touch with the rest of the organisation for the cost of a local call.

What about dedicated numbers for SMS?

Dedicated numbers are a powerful tool for business SMS communications as well, helping to grow your brand through text message marketing.

A dedicated SMS number means one phone number, one cost centre, one interface to the world. Whether you choose a long code phone number or a short code phone number, businesses can enjoy new economies of scale with a dedicated number. They can be used to send and receive text messages to customers everywhere. Businesses can publish the number across marketing and sales channels to build an SMS presence as recognisable as a web domain.

What are the advantages of a dedicated SMS number?

  • Greater economies of scale in branding, messaging, and support infrastructure
  • Increase customer engagement by publishing your SMS number across marketing and sales media
  • Use keywords to distinguish between campaigns and programs, and track them with more granularity
  • Automate everything from appointment reminders to support inquiries
  • Increase consumer awareness and brand presence with text message marketing
  • Always send SMS to your customers from the same familiar number that enables your customer to recognise your organisation

The verdict?

  • Dedicated phone numbers can enable easy customer service journeys, better credibility and long-distance service without incurring long distance charges. They provide cost-effective connectivity, economies of scale, brand recognition and client convenience — which are all priceless for businesses.
  • Are you interested in setting up a dedicated phone number or looking into dedicated phone number SMS systems for your business? Get in touch with our team of friendly experts today to find out about availability in your region.

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