Virtual Numbers: Build Your Global Empire with Local Presence
Your one-stop place for everything about virtual numbers. But first, let’s paint a picture — stories of ambitious global expansion are inspiring, but it takes a sober investment to build offices in new markets. There are many ways to rapidly expand around the globe, like with a big financial investment, through local partners, takeovers/mergers, through a small digital footprint etc.
Many discerning companies, however, both large and small, tend to take a light footprint and test the waters or minimise their overall exposure in the new market. Working with an established and well-connected local partner to share resources, or running an office virtually from another part of the world are small, low-risk solutions to try out a new market. Sounds easy! But is it easier said, then done?
Utilising virtual numbers is an easy first-step. They are a viable and cost-effective way to extend your global reach and establish round-the-clock customer support to local markets. Best yet, all the data, learning, and connections you build along the way are all in your hands.
What are virtual numbers?
What is so “virtual” about these numbers that they can make companies flexibly connected?
A virtual number is a phone number on the cloud without direct association to a telephone line, such as International Toll Free Numbers (ITFS) and local Direct Inward Dialling (DID) numbers in a selected country or city.
In the past, any calls dialled to a traditional number can only reach a specific phone destination. A virtual number, however, plays more like a gateway. When calls are made to a dedicated virtual number, the inbound calls can be routed to any numbers in the world, such as fixed and mobile numbers. Your call flows. Your rules.
With greater flexibility in who, when, and how to make and receive calls, you are off to a great start to go global! Virtual numbers also can come with a plethora of data, logs, insights and reports to help you understand the new market your exploring.
Local customer service on a global scale
Different virtual numbers can serve different purposes as you go “local” on a global scale. To start with, International Toll Free Numbers (ITFS) can let customers worldwide reach your business without being charged. It also gives your brand credibility and recognition, too.
It is commonly used by hotels to provide telephone reservations for travellers around the world. Banking and financial services also set up International Toll Free Numbers to deliver premium bank services, such as emergency hotlines for customers to attend to their credit card issues when travelling through a foreign country.
If you are reaching multiple markets, a Universal International Free Phone Number (UIFN) is probably what you need — similar to International Toll Free Numbers, an UIFN is one single number that can be reached from multiple countries, so your website will not look messy with multiple Toll Free Numbers!
Direct Inward Dialling (DID) Numbers also give an edge for your company to reach local customers through a virtual number with the same local prefix, only that these “local” calls can be routed to where you are based!
Compared to international Toll Free Numbers, DID numbers are more cost-effective because customers pay a standard local calling fee. The pick-up rate of DID calls to target markets is also higher because customers are more likely to take calls with a local area code than a spam call in an overseas area code.
Virtual office: Challenge the traditional call centres
Setting up physical call centres in new locations are at the forefront of business expansion for many companies worldwide. However, we may already be lost with the impression of tangled phone cords and on-site physical equipment of traditional telephone systems (i.e. Private Branch Exchange Systems).
Building overseas call centres can expand your customer base, they say. But with a properly-set call centre comes at least a certain number of service agents stationed in a single workspace to keep the infrastructure fully utilised. The call centre strategy suddenly becomes an inflexible extension of your business, coming in a hefty capital investment on all the hardware, manpower and office rental!
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, companies have increasingly turned to remote work with virtual numbers, questioning if traditional call centres are becoming obsolete when they can benefit optimised business operations and communication from a virtual office with virtual numbers:
- Business mobility and flexibility: The cloud-based, quick-to-deploy virtual office solution lets agents nimbly resume and maintain their customer service from home. It gives businesses the mobility to deliver service with only internet access.
- 24/7 customer service: Companies can allocate resources better and enable round-the-clock customer support with smart routing. For example, companies can forward calls based on the time of the visitor to a distributed team in the closest time zone.
- Multilingual teams for a diverse customer base: Why put your eggs in one basket, when you can distribute them in multiple ones? Thanks to the flexibility of a virtual office solution, you can hire just enough agents in different target markets to build a multilingual, globally scattered team for a more diverse customer base!
- Keep it under your close monitoring: Instead of outsourcing your call centre to an overseas third-party, you can deliver the best customer service under your own close monitoring. A unified communications platform with a virtual PBX system helps remote agents discuss internally how to follow up on an inquiry. The platform dashboard also gives supervisors a bird’s eye view on the handling of inquiries.
All things better with a unified communications platform!
Combining your virtual numbers with a unified communications platform takes your customer engagement and team collaboration to the next level through innovative technology.
When multiple communication channels, telecom and digital, are brought to a single dashboard, companies can easily streamline all business conversations, including intelligent routing, in one go on an intuitive user interface. Supervisors can also have a centralised and real-time visibility to all inquiries and monitor agent activity with call reports.
International Toll Free Numbers and DID numbers can be good additions to omnichannel marketing campaigns, as companies use a unified communications platform to coordinate their marketing channels. Assign a virtual number to a campaign segment and gauge which channel performs better by the number of calls coming in through different numbers. Businesses can also benefit from an informed marketing strategy with real-time call reports.
Manage virtual numbers with maaiiconnect
The road to global expansion is a marathon. Instead of just focusing on business strategies, don’t miss out on the little, yet impactful and scalable things that help streamline your communications — such as virtual numbers!
maaiiconnect provides virtual office versatility with virtual numbers to let you make, manage, and route calls. Directly integrated with 160+ tier-1 carriers, the powerful unified communications platform provides International Toll Free (ITFS), local DID and UIFN (universal Toll Free) numbers from 150+ countries with A to Z voice termination. The solution also supports a full array of PBX features such as call controls, call ID masking, voicemail and call recording; as well as any SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based system integration.
Contact us now to learn more about our virtual number offerings!
This article was originally published in the maaiiconnect blog, by Emily Shu.