Toku’s Customer Engagement Report 2022 has striking insights into how consumers are responding to the barrage of scam calls and SMS in Singapore.
The era of Digital Transformation has drastically changed how people interact with each other, get work done and collaborate together. No longer are employees tethered to hardware or – in the case of distributed teams – do they need to be located in a central office.
Advancements in technology have had a significant impact on productivity, efficiency and automation. This is largely due to the implementation of mobile solutions built upon a cloud infrastructure. Few sectors have been as impacted as the telecommunications industry, which is now rapidly transitioning towards cloud-based frameworks.
The face of cloud telephony
From both a consumer and business perspective, the humble virtual number has – in many ways – become the face of cloud telephony. A virtual number is simply a number that is not directly associated with a telephone line; it can be assigned to any device, such as a mobile app or hardware IP phone.
When used correctly, virtual numbers can transform how businesses of all sizes can engage with customers and partners while positively influencing how companies are perceived on a local, regional and global scale.
In this article, we will have a look at 5 specific benefits that virtual numbers bring to the table.
1. Virtual numbers create a local presence at scale
Customers love the concept of local representation, it creates an unspoken bond cemented by familiarity.
Virtual numbers empower companies to create a local presence in markets that may be far-flung from their headquarters. Though no brick & mortar presence exists, the mere fact that an access number specific to a city or region is available can have a profound impact on establishing customer trust.
The most obvious practical benefit is that customers do not need to pay long-distance charges when contacting a business. Since virtual numbers rely on a cloud infrastructure, the provision of local numbers across multiple geographies is both scalable and affordable, effectively enabling a company to expand into untapped markets without incurring the cost of setting up a traditional physical presence.
2. Establishing a professional image
For small to mid-sized businesses, perception is key when building industry credibility. Investors and future partners/customers need to know that a company is reliable and has the resources to make its business plan a reality.
Virtual numbers, particularly when coupled with a virtual office, have the effect of transforming a local business into a regional – or possibly global – player. Internationally-deployed virtual numbers act as a communications stepping stone for potential stakeholders in new markets.
The obvious benefit is that an overseas virtual number can ring to any device no matter where the location. When combined with other advanced cloud telephony, such as API-powered IVRs (interactive voice response) and call forwarding, virtual numbers can transform even the smallest of companies into a legitimate contender.
3. Tracking for marketing
When a CPaaS (communication platform-as-a-service) player uses a robust cloud infrastructure for product deployment, the possibilities for creative virtual number implementations increase substantially. Being cloud-based means that any organization can quickly provision virtual numbers for a variety of use cases, particularly when it comes to marketing campaigns.
For example, a Malaysian-based accounting software company may seek to market its product across multiple verticals (e.g., the healthcare, construction and facility management sectors) in the metro Jakarta, Indonesia region. In support of their marketing research, the company provisions a range of Jakarta-based virtual numbers and then assigns numbers to specific marketing campaigns for each vertical.
By aligning virtual numbers with marketing initiatives, the Malaysian software company is able to easily track customer interest across their target markets while analyzing the effectiveness of specific marketing collateral.
4. Using dedicated lines
Having access to a wide variety of virtual global and regional numbers enables companies to provision numbers for dedicated purposes.
Some examples include:
- Customer Support Hotline: Companies can assign a dedicated support hotline for both local access and regional/global usage;
- Language: Target markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, are comprised of customers who speak a variety of different languages. API-based telephony offers multiple solutions to this challenge: a virtual number could automatically connect to an IVR that directs callers to menu options in different languages or, in regions where there is no dominant base language, virtual numbers can be dedicated to specific languages;
- Departments / Employees: Company departments could be assigned their own unique virtual number. Alternatively, a primary virtual number could be used as a singular point of connection and each department and/or employee could be assigned their own unique extension.
5. Integrating virtual numbers with other services
Virtual numbers, while incredibly useful as a standalone product, are often used as core components of an integrated cloud telephony system. Features within such systems offer significant capabilities to businesses that seek to implement cloud telephony in their engagement with customers, partners and investors.
Examples of features that integrate with virtual number technology can include:
- Call Recording & Storage: Protect against liability and remain compliant with regulations by integrating auto or on-demand call recording with virtual numbers. Store all content in the cloud for auditing and training purposes when needed;
- Number Masking: Protect your customers’ sensitive data by implementing number masking. This technology, used by food delivery & ride hailing providers, facilitates secure communication via mobile devices while keeping the customer’s mobile number private;
- Text-to-Speech Conversion: Convert SMS texts to speech. This enables companies to keep communication channels open with customers, such as when an important SMS message goes unanswered. In these scenarios, the customer can be called and the text automatically read back when the phone is answered (e.g., overdue bill payments); and,
- Two-factor Authentication: Support engagement with mobile users by using SMS technology to authenticate user identity. One-time passwords can be used to verify identity as well as sending client credentials directly to a mobile app.