A Virtual Phone Number is a telephone number that forwards incoming calls to one of the pre-set telephone numbers chosen by the client.
For example, a company located in China can have a phone number in Los Angeles. Virtual Phone Numbers are very popular among Call Centers, which are physically located in one country, when in fact they really work in another. International virtual phone numbers are also popular with people currently residing in a foreign country, giving their family members and friends a virtual phone number so that they can contact them at a local call price rate.
Frequently, the subscriber can easily set the Virtual Phone Number to forward calls to different telephone numbers (both landlines and mobile phones) depending on his or her preference. For example, on work days incoming calls can be set to be forwarded to one’s workplace, but on weekends to one’s mobile phone.
Virtual phone systems
Virtual phone numbers work by connecting a main business phone number to remote workers through their mobile or home phones.These types of systems work as an extensive call-forwarding solution, wherein calls are transferred to each employee’s designated phone (cell or home) when a customer or client calls a main business number.These systems include a variety of features, such as automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and online faxing.
Pros: This type of service allows businesses with employees working from locations other than the company’s office to present a professional face at all times. It also gives remote workers access to a variety of phone system features that mobile and home phones don’t offer.
Cons: Virtual systems aren’t full-fledged phone systems. Your calls are still processed on your mobile or home phone network. This means you are charged for the call on the virtual system and use up your mobile or home phone minutes.
Best for: Businesses with a large group of remote workers, or sole-proprietor businesses.
Traditional landline systems
Landlines in this instance are traditional phone systems, typically supported by a local or regional phone company.Landlines, also known as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), are analog systems that run via the telephone company’s traditional copper wiring.To run a landline service, you need on-premises PBX (private branch exchange) hardware. This is the hardware that’s used to create multiple extensions and allow for phone system features, such as call transferring and call directories.Some landline systems today are considered hybrids with VoIP systems. There is a traditional phone line that connects to a business’s data network. The data network within the business is then used to connect each individual phone.Many landline systems are being phased out by phone system providers.
Pros: Landline systems are a reliable, time-tested solution that many companies are comfortable using.
Cons: Most phone system providers are moving away from landlines, making them more difficult not only to purchase but to repair should something break.
Best for: Large corporations that have the budget to pay for them and an in-house IT staff to run and maintain them. Necessary for businesses without high-speed internet access.