The United States of America has one of the world’s strongest economies, making it an ideal location to do business. If your business is looking to expand its reach, either as a multinational organization looking for a piece of the action or is a US-based business that has its eyes on expanding its territories, then you should know that phone communication is a key method to getting customers and clients on board. While there are a number of challenges to getting a foothold in new markets, you should ask yourself: why work hard when you can work smart? The simple solution: virtual phone numbers.
Virtual phone numbers can open up your business with as little overhead and operational costs as possible, while still enjoying the benefits of bootstrapping your business in the US.
Want to know more? In this article, we’ll discuss what virtual phone numbers are, how they can offer deep savings for your business and list some of the substantial benefits and functionality that they can bring to your business.
First, What is a Virtual Phone Number?
Virtual phone numbers are phone numbers that are indistinguishable from regular phone numbers. The subscriber — you, in this case — pays for the service to have phone calls routed to your phone number anywhere around the world. This means that you can have a Los Angeles-based number forwarded to another place in the United States. For multinational organizations, you can have your calls forwarded to an outsourced call center in more budget-conscious areas like India.
Benefits of a Virtual Phone Number
The applications of US virtual phone numbers hold a vast number of benefits. Here is a look at them:
1) Beyond brick and mortar: An old way of thinking about business was that you needed to establish a physical presence in the United States. This meant working through laws, licensing, hiring staff, managing your employees, and leasing/ purchasing a building before even making a cent. With virtual phone numbers, you can establish a presence without having the need to pay rent. After all, many payment processors can handle foreign currency conversions and most customers don’t even need to set foot inside a building to order a product or hire a service. This cuts out a significant chunk of overheads that used to be mandatory. And when your business finally decides to create an office in the US, business is already established and it can make the transition seamless.
2) Local Proof: Virtual phone numbers allow you to leverage technology to provide an indistinguishable presence. Customers and clients won’t know that your business is located elsewhere, and they will be more likely to speak with a business if it matches the country code (and area code) that they’re familiar with.
3) Easy to Retrofit: Already have a bustling call center and trained salespeople ready to handle your current business? Using virtual phone numbers are a cinch. First, phone calls are routed to whatever device (i.e. landlines, headsets, tablet, smartphone, etc.) your team currently uses. There’s no need to purchase more equipment or to handle unwieldy software that can confuse your employees while they grasp the learning curve. Service providers, like Global Call Forwarding, for instance, feature a no-nonsense online control panel that’s easy to use while making the transition seamless. You don’t have to worry about losing money on training, which is something all businesses can agree on.
4) Call Recording: With new legislation occurring in the banks and financial institutions, businesses have been put under sharper scrutiny to ensure that they’re following the rules of 21st-century commerce. This, in turn, demands that businesses cover their interests (CYA, in American terms…) by ensuring that customers and employees are recorded “for quality assurance.” In reality, you need a way to monitor your call center to see that they are providing top-notch customer service, while also guarding your business against scammers that may try to manipulate your business on the phone. Service providers of virtual phone numbers offer the ability to record your phone calls and store them for later reference. This service alone makes virtual phone numbers valuable to your business.
5) Personal Use: For those that travel frequently, virtual phone numbers allow you to have a phone number in several locations, all forwarded to your phone. This can be especially valuable for entrepreneurs that cross borders on a weekly basis; after all, it can give you the presence without establishing a residence. (And for those that are part of the dating scene, it’s nice to be able to get a call back from that lovely person you met at the conference, no?)
Of course, these are just a few of the benefits that come with virtual phone numbers. Let’s take a look at some real-world examples.
Real-world examples of using Virtual Phone Numbers
Example 1: Suppose that your Canadian business wants to penetrate US markets. You list your Canadian phone number on your website for US customers to call, but find that a large portion of your customer base can’t make long-distance international calls. So close, but yet so far…
With virtual phone numbers, you can circumvent this problem. US callers can reach your business by dialing the virtual phone number and be put directly in touch with your staff. And unless your customer service reps have a heavy Saskatoon accent, they’ll never know the difference!
Example 2: Your business in the United Kingdom has finally taken off and you’ve decided to conquer America a la Beatles. You begin scouting out new opportunities in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago — the list goes on, but you find that a lot of contacts in smaller markets only do business with those that meet their criteria (ex. their area code). You want to stay in touch, but you have to travel to Dubai the following week. Should these businesses and individuals have to track you down at your London office or your United Arab Emirates office?
With virtual phone numbers, you can set up a US virtual phone number that can be routed to your phone anywhere in the world. You’re always one phone call away from closing a deal instead of having to travel back and forth (unless you enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time in the airport).
For accessibility, flexibility and low-upfront investment, virtual phone numbers are your solution to ensure that your business can establish a foothold in the United States.