What is a virtual phone number – and should you get one?
From globalisation to the increase in remote working, we look at why virtual phone numbers are on the rise, and how they can improve the way you live and work today.
One of the great benefits of the world’s technological advances that we enjoy today is communication. No, not TikTok – though it has its place – but the improved cost, convenience and flexibility of phone calls and messaging.
The days of baulking at the cost of making an international call from your work phone, or paying for an expensive public payphone card to call home while travelling are long gone.
More and more people – from those living abroad to travellers to business owners to workers – are using virtual phone numbers to save money, work remotely, run businesses and communicate across the globe in ways that were simply not possible in decades past.
Together with telecommunications provider Zadarma and its nomadic entrepreneur and co-founder Dmytro Tokar, The Local fills you in on what a virtual phone number is and why this easy and inexpensive piece of tech is worth adopting.
So, what is a virtual phone number anyway?
Instead of needing a fixed and physical connection, a virtual phone number is cloud based and uses the internet. This means you can use the number for calls and messaging from any device that has internet access.
Calls can be redirected or routed from the one number to another device, IP address or number. So the same number could be seamlessly carried from the phone in your office across to your mobile phone if you are out and about, for example.
“You can think of it as a regular phone number with additional perks. It is easy to connect a number from another country, calls will be coming in via the internet and the caller will never feel the difference,” explains Zadarma’s Dmytro.
Why get a virtual phone number?
For travellers and people living internationally, avoiding roaming charges and enjoying cheaper call rates is a big bonus.
Using a company like Zadarma, for example, setting up a virtual phone number takes just five minutes – so it is very easy to be up and running quickly and from almost any country in the world.
“At Zadarma, we take safety and security of our services and clients very seriously, so there are no risks associated with virtual number connection. Having a number in a different country can be beneficial for a variety of reasons from bureaucracy and banking to getting a call from your food delivery service,” says Dmytro.
Remote worker benefits
At Zadarma, many staff members work “nomadically”, something that Dmytro is very familiar with himself. It’s a set-up that suits the business and employees and hasn’t changed their performance, he says.
“We do not see the reason to limit our employees in any way. Some currently live and work from other parts of the planet.”
The key to making it work? Communication. “Communication cannot be overrated when it comes to remote employees. There can be months before meeting a new employee, but making the effort to establish a connection can ensure that everyone on the team is working towards advancing the company.”
For entrepreneurs like Dmytro, using Zadarma's own communication tool and virtual phone numbers means he can connect all his employees to the one network, no matter where he or or his workers are based.
And Zadarma is obviously not alone in this way of working – 69 percent of 1,300 CEOs surveyed in 2021 are moving toward a virtual workforce, according to KPMG.
Virtual phone numbers are particularly well-suited to remote workers, startups, remote companies, and people, whether working or not, who are regularly travelling.
In today’s modern world, where people are often not working from a fixed office, it is important for companies to adapt and use the tools available to them.
“Work processes will never be the same. For most companies, the lockdown has proven that having all employees working from the same space is not a key to success,” says Dmytro.
“I believe the most important tool of all is a communication tool. Finding the one that can both accommodate the changing lifestyle of a firm's employees and maintain quality communication standards within the company and with clients can be challenging, but it truly makes all the difference. That is why for the past several years we have been focusing on making Zadarma's offering ideal for companies with all types of needs.”
Using a virtual phone number for your business means you can assign the number to a specific region, which is beneficial if you are running your business across more than one location but still want to establish a local or regional presence. There is flexibility but customers feel reassurance and trust in calling you. Professionalism is established and exorbitant long distance phone call costs are non-existent.
Zadarma's flexible business solutions mean connecting yourself or your team, with easy integration to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and messenger programs.
Safety and security
Working and living across borders, accessing devices in different locations using free wi-fi and the onslaught of people using digital tools with malicious intent can all lead to data and security breaches.
Having a virtual phone number is an extra level of security to put your mind at ease. It means you can still be reached on your personal device, but without potential mobile hackers seeing your private number.
“Being cautious can go a long way in protecting one’s privacy and securing the data. The internet can be a wonderful place with a variety of free tools but you always have to note how your information is handled,” cautions Dmytro.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.