Updated: 2017.02.14 This article covers: What an interactive voice response is and how it works; What benefits IVR provides to business; How to create a professional voice menu; MightyCall’s virtual phone number ― an option to consider 5 steps to a perfect voice menu When a person dials a company’s business number, the first thing…
How Startups Can Compete with Big Rivals Using Virtual Phones
Think bootstrapped startups can’t compete with big brands?
Virtual phone systems are ironing out the differences and creating a more level playing field. They’re making sure that startups have access to a large global audience without having to spend a large amount of money.
By leveraging this technology, startups have the opportunity to cut through even the fiercest of competition and expand.
Want to know how?
In this article, let’s take a look at how startups can benefit from virtual phone systems. But let’s first begin with the basics.
What Are Virtual Phone Systems?
The concept of virtual phone systems is similar to that of hosted websites. It’s a number that is hosted on your behalf by another company in the Cloud. You don’t have to worry about setting up a complex phone system. Instead, it’s all done for you.
In plain terms, these systems are like remote servers, hosted by a company, to receive your calls. There are multiple systems out there, and the simplest ones will forward a call to a toll-free number that sounds professional.
From there, it gets routed to your personal number. You can also choose to set up additional extensions for your departments and employees.
Also known as VoIP or “Voice over Internet Protocol,” the system makes it very easy for you to receive and make international calls.
Let’s say, you get an incoming call from Singapore. You can receive the call on your American line and even forward it to an Australian line.
Busting Misconceptions Regarding VoIP
If you are new to the concept of VoIP, you may have certain questions about it. There are also multiple misconceptions floating around related to VoIP.
Let’s get them cleared up right away.
- Your virtual phone number is NOT fake. It’s legit and works on the Cloud. It gives you a lot more flexibility than a regular phone number.
- No one can take away your number. When you buy a virtual phone number, it becomes yours for the stated duration.
- You can use a virtual phone number on multiple devices. However, this feature depends on the company that you sign up with and the plan you register for.
Why Your Startup Needs to Leverage the VoIP Technology
Using a virtual phone system can open up a world of opportunities for startups and small businesses.
It can go a long way in giving you an edge over your contemporaries. If you want to be able to give stiff competition to big brands, it’s definitely worth having.
Still on the fence?
Here are some of the main benefits you can get from leveraging VoIP technology:
1. You Can Lower Your Business Costs
The biggest benefit of using VoIP technology is that you don’t need any physical set-up. Even if you don’t have a physical office space or an office phone, you can grow your business with this technology.
And if you have a lean setup and a tight budget, it’s a technology that you can use without any worries. For startups that don’t have a physical office in another location or country, this can be a major advantage.
The cost difference is actually startling. To establish an office and equip it with phone hardware, you may have to spend more than $100-$200.
On the other hand, setting up an office with a virtual phone system can be anywhere between $20-$30 per month. As you can see, cutting down on expenses is possible with a virtual phone system.
2. You Can Work Remotely
An extension of the previously mentioned point, VoIP technology enables you to take calls from anywhere in the world. You’re not restricted to a physical office space. If you’re on the go, you can still take business calls.
Considering that remote work is the new norm, mobility is the buzzword for businesses now. That’s where VoIP technology totally wins. It makes sure that you can make the most of mobility.
The calls that you get on your virtual phone number can be easily forwarded to any cell phone. So, you can answer them while you are taking a walk or running an errand. It gives you the freedom to not be stuck in your office chair for the entire 9-5 rut.
Some startups also may have a team spread out across different parts of the world. For them, VoIP can be an invaluable tool for business communication.
3. You Can Scale Your Business Easily
Startups who are looking to explore new markets and scale their business can do so easily with virtual phone systems.
As discussed earlier, this system isn’t linked to a traditional phone line. So, you don’t have to maintain expensive devices or cables to keep your office running in different parts of the world.
Without incurring any additional cost, you can set up a virtual phone system. What’s more, you can also forward your calls to another number of your choice.
This makes team collaboration very simple.
With this system, it becomes easier to establish a local presence in a foreign country and promote your startup. Through VoIP, your startup can also appear more professional in a new market.
Working with VoIP can help to improve your customer service, which results in a better customer experience. Happy customers are loyal customers, and those are the ones that keep most businesses going.
What to Look For When Choosing a Virtual Phone System
Now that you already know about the benefits of virtual phone systems for startups, let’s dig deeper. There are multiple options out there for virtual phone systems.
How can you pick the best one for your business? Before you finalize a plan or service, make sure you are clear on what your startup needs.
Here are some of the features you should look for:
- Devices allowed: Try to find a system that enables you to make phone calls via desktops, mobile phones, or other devices connected to the internet.
- Flexible pricing structure: The virtual phone system that you use should enable you to scale or upgrade your plans easily.
- Call queue option: If you get a lot of calls, you need to find a system that has a call queue option. It enables you to organize all your calls as per your convenience and priority.
- Auto-attendant feature: If you want to provide pre-recorded messages to some of your calls, the auto-attendant feature is what you need. It can help you free up a lot of your time.
Some of these features can help you reduce the overall waiting time for callers and help you improve your customer service.
A virtual phone system can help you run your business more efficiently and economically. It also enables you to work remotely or explore international markets without having to spend a ton of money on infrastructure.
If you want flexibility, scalability, and a low-cost solution, you should definitely get a virtual phone number for your business.
About the author:
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram.