What Is a Virtual Phone Number?

Have you been trying to work out exactly what a phone number is and what it can be used for?

Well, you’re not alone. A virtual phone number is a great way to set up an alternative phone number that isn’t connected to an actual phone line. Any calls made to that number then get forwarded to another designated line.

But what are the uses of this setup?

The truth is, there are a lot of them. So, let’s dive straight in and work out exactly what a virtual phone number is and what it can be used for.

Table of Contents

1. What Is a Virtual Phone Number?

2. The Purpose of a Virtual Phone Number

3. Do I Need a Virtual Phone Number?

What Is a Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual number is an actual telephone number that people can call, but it doesn’t have an attached phone line. This might seem like a bit of a contradiction. How can people call the number if there isn’t an actual phone line?

What happens is that the calls get redirected to another phone line, or to a mobile device. You set this redirection up when you take out a virtual phone number. For this reason, the concept of a virtual phone number is also sometimes called direct inward dialing or DID for short.

The virtual number can be redirected to one or more numbers. You have full control over the redirection when you set one up.

It is also possible to forward calls to different phone numbers depending on particular conditions. For example, you can redirect the call to a different phone number depending on what time of the day it is (this is good for businesses who have an in-hours and out-of-hours phone number).

The Purpose of a Virtual Phone Number

So, now we know the basics of how a virtual phone number works, but what is the purpose of it?

The purpose of a virtual phone number depends on its particular usage. So, let’s go through the main instances in which a virtual number is used these days.

1. Organize Business and Personal Calls on One Phone

We all lead busy lives and, on any one day, we might receive multiple calls from clients as well as kids and spouses. A virtual phone number allows you to keep your work life and personal life separate, while still only using one device.

So, you can keep your normal personal number for family and friends. But you can also add a virtual number for work that gets redirected to your mobile.

When calls come in, you will know which number they are coming in on. This will mean you can simplify your life and keep up a good professional image.

2. Better Organized Business Setup

Even if you just use your phone for business calls, a virtual number can help you organize your communications.

For example, you can have multiple numbers that you advertise in different places (e.g. social media platforms, websites, email campaigns). By keeping separate numbers, you can then do a much better job of tracking where your customers found your business.

This will help you improve marketing tactics and personalize your response to each pool of callers.

A further benefit is that you can redirect callers according to various factors, such as the time of day at which they are calling, the country from which they are calling, or their responses to voice prompts.

3. Avoid Investing in Telecommunications Hardware

An advantage of a virtual phone number is that you can operate multiple phone lines while only using one phone. This can save significantly on costs, either for your business or personal life.

4. Create a Virtual Fax Number

A further benefit of a virtual phone number is that it allows you to send faxes without a fax machine. This is particularly important for professions such as medical services, where fax machines are used every day.

You can send messages to other fax machines without using the paper process on your end. This can actually contribute a lot to ensuring your business stays more secure online.

When combined with cloud computing, you can better protect your data and avoid leaving sensitive documents around your home or office.

5. Avoid International Calls Costs

A virtual phone number is a good way of being reachable without your contacts or customers having to pay international call costs.

For example, you may wish to set your business up overseas and take calls from local customers. But it’s not good for your brand image to make those local customers make an international call to you.

You want it to seem like you are actually there, on the ground, ready to serve them.

A virtual number gives you a local phone number but allows you to redirect all calls to your phone number in another country. So, you can effectively set up a virtual office wherever you want in the world and manage everything through your own phone number, or other numbers you designate.

Do I Need a Virtual Phone Number?

The thing about virtual phone numbers is that they are incredibly flexible and customizable. So, it’s not a simple question of whether you do or do not operate a business overseas.

A virtual phone number can help you elevate your brand image by conveying a message of professionalism. It can also help you organize your business much more effectively, even if you are only operating in a local area.

In short, a virtual phone number gives you greater control over your business planning and operations.

But the same goes for personal uses of virtual phone numbers. Having one or more virtual phone numbers just gives you a further element of control over your communications and lets you organize your life more thoroughly.


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Authored by Keily Atterberg
a freelance writer specializing in content creation for mobile security. She also writes for many local & national publications.
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