VoIP Call 101 - What Is a VoIP Number?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

It's that time of the month again, and you already sense what's coming next:

Your dreaded, expensive phone bill.

You have two choices:

One, be stoic like Ned Stark and heroically brace yourself, making minor cuts and adjustments wherever you can.

ned-start-phone-bill

Source

Two, be cunning like Littlefinger and dump traditional landlines and mobile phones in favor of far more affordable modern technology like VoIP.

The second option sounds better, doesn't it?

But won't it be really hard to implement?

Not if you have a good head on your shoulders - pun intended (GOT spoiler alert) - and a bit of help from a seasoned expert in VoIP technology.

Luckily for you, you have both at hand, so just stick with us for about 20 minutes, and VoIP is sure to become child's play.

Here's what you'll find out:

  • The answer to these fundamental questions, “what is a VoIP number?” and “what is a VoIP phone number used for?”
  • Why 31% of companies are already using this technology to cut costs and boost customer experiences
  • How VoIP can modernize your business via three inspirational case studies

Ready? Awesome, let's get this show on the road.

What is a VoIP Number?

What is a VoIP Number

This is a great question and a fantastic place to start our discussion, but unfortunately, it's going to take a lot more than a single definition to bring you up to speed.

No big deal, though.

We've split our answer into two sections - one, a super quick summary table, and two, a deep-dive into all the details - and left it up to you to decide which version best suits your level of interest and amount of free time.

A Summary of VoIP Technology

Definition of VoIP

  • VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.
  • It is a type of technology that delivers phone calls and voice communication over the Internet.

What is a VoIP number?

  • It's a real phone number that can be assigned to a user and their internet-enabled devices without requiring a physical phone line.
  • It looks, feels, and acts exactly like a traditional phone number.

What is a VoIP number used for?

  • Lowering costs and maintenance issues
  • Increasing flexibility, mobility, and convenience
  • Improving voice quality

Main types of VoIP numbers

  • Fixed (or linked to a physical address)
  • Non fixed (or not linked to a physical address)

What is a fixed VoIP phone number used for?

  • For businesses with a single location and local customers
  • For extra security (i.e., traceable 911 calls mandatory)
  • For connecting your existing PBX equipment to VoIP

What is a non fixed VoIP phone number used for?

  • For businesses with multiple locations and customers spread all over the country (or world)
  • For improving the productivity of remote workers
  • For lowering costs and quick implementation times

Feel like that was enough to answer the question?

No - keep scrolling and dive deeper into the beautiful world of VoIP.

Yes - skip the following section and learn about VoIP's eight main business benefits.

All the Details on VoIP

What is a VoIP Phone Number? And What is a VoIP Number Used For?

As we alluded to above, a VoIP number is a real phone number that looks and feels exactly like a regular phone number.

You can't tell them apart just by looking at them, well, unless you're an X-Men with an extraordinary (but useless) power.

Source

The only difference between a traditional number and a VoIP number lies in the technology that underpins how they work.

While traditional numbers rely on copper lines and private branch exchanges (PBX) to get the job done, VoIP numbers are solutions that transform human voices into data packets and transmit them over an internet or LAN connection.

This subtle difference explains why you might have never asked yourself, “what is a VoIP caller?” despite this technology being around since way back in 1995 .

But don't get discouraged; most people have only started adopting VoIP over the last decade. In addition, growth is predicted to boom well into 2024, when the global VoIP market should reach a mind-boggling $194.5 billion.

So what factors are convincing this many companies to finally move to VoIP?

  • A growing need for cheap international and long-distance calls
  • The exponential growth of remote working
  • The added credibility associated with a local number
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and its squeeze on balance sheets
  • The abundance of superfast internet connections

To put it simply, a VoIP number now makes solid business sense for essentially all organizations, from enterprises to one-person shows.

But before anyone makes the switch, there's one more factor to consider - the difference between the two types of VoIP numbers (fixed and non fixed).

Let's elaborate.

What is a Fixed VoIP Phone Number?

A fixed VoIP number is as close as you can come to a traditional phone number with an internet-based line.

It requires a connection to the physical address of the account holder, be that their company headquarters or home address.

This means the number is traceable to a single location and the service provider creates it with the location's relevant area code. If you'd like to move this number to a different area, you must undergo a (slightly painful) process called number porting .

What is a Non Fixed VoIP Phone Number?

A non fixed VoIP number is precisely the opposite of a fixed VoIP number.

It's not tied to any geographical location, and all it usually needs to function is an associated email address. Because of this, non fixed VoIP numbers are often referred to as virtual phone numbers.

Sometimes these numbers are even offered for free. Think of programs like Google Voice and Pinger (btw: definitely click here if you've ever wondered, “what is a Pinger VoIP number?”).

Non fixed VoIP numbers come with two disadvantages that you need to be aware of:

  1. Scammers often use them because of how easy it is to get a number.
  2. They're not easily traceable in case of emergency calls.

What is a Fixed VoIP Number Used For?

A fixed VoIP phone number is preferable in the following cases:

  • If you operate from a single location
  • If the vast majority of your clients are within your local area
  • If security is your number one concern
  • If you plan on connecting your existing PBX equipment to VoIP via SIP trunking
  • If you require a number that's traceable by 911 and other emergency services

What is a Non Fixed VoIP Number Used For?

A non fixed VoIP phone number is preferable in the following cases:

  • If you operate from multiple locations
  • If you'd like to have a local number for multiple locations
  • If you have a large number of remote workers
  • If budget and speed of implementation are your number one concerns
  • If you can live with untraceable calls in case of emergencies

Now that the difference between fixed and non fixed VoIP numbers is all clear, it's time for us to move on to the most exciting part of this blog post:

Why are VoIP phone numbers making such a commotion in the business world?

The Eight Main Benefits of VoIP for Businesses

What is a VOIP Caller

1. VoIP Is Budget-Friendly

Everybody loves a good deal.

Come on, just think back to the last time you secured a 50% discount on your cable bill.

Didn't it feel great? You bet it did.

And that's why all businesses, no matter their size and financial situation, appreciate the fact that VoIP usually drives an impressive 30-50% savings on telecom costs.

How's that even possible?

  1. Long-distance and international calls are charged at the local rate.
  2. Call rates are cheaper because there's no expensive infrastructure to maintain.
  3. VoIP hardware is cost-effective.
  4. There's no need to install new lines every time you expand.
  5. You can slash mobile phone bills by encouraging employees to use VoIP via their smartphone's internet connection.

Take Ringy (our CRM with a built-in cloud VOIP softphone) as an example:

For only $109 a month, you get:

  • A VoIP softphone that works from your laptop, tablet, and mobile phone
  • 1,000 SMS credits
  • 1,000 voice minutes
  • Detailed analytics
  • And a fully kitted-out CRM

That's pennies in comparison to an average business phone bill.

2. VoIP Is Super Simple

Raise your hand if you hate it when people overcomplicate things.

🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️🖐️

We hear you loud and clear, and we're with you.

Nobody wants to learn the meaning of a thousand acronyms just to understand what the heck their telephone installation (or repair) service is talking about.

VoIP makes things as simple as plug-and-play.

Want to scale your operation and add a few new lines? Click a button.

Want to downsize your operation and remove a line or two? Click a button.

Want to access your VoIP number from anywhere in the world? Find an internet connection and then click a few buttons.

Want to transform your analog phone into a VoIP phone? Plug your phone's cable into an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and the ATA into an internet connection socket.

Want to have a conference call? Click a few buttons and dial your colleagues.

Life can be that easy.

3. VoIP Offers Superior Call Quality

VoIP has the advantage of youth over traditional phone lines.

Think about it: VoIP is 25 years old and constantly improving, while the traditional landline is a ripe old 145 and pretty much satisfied with just being alive and kicking.

And this age difference shows when it comes to voice quality.

VoIP has now overtaken traditional phone lines thanks to the proliferation of stable, high bandwidth internet connections and the latest sound compression technology.

You can expect HD call quality and crystal-clear connections when you switch to VoIP.

4. VoIP Allows You To Be Local from Anywhere

Did you know that 82% of consumers patronize local businesses, and 48% plan to shop local even more often in the future?

It's true, and it's a tremendous proxy statistic for demonstrating that people trust local businesses more than those from further afield.

But what does that have to do with VoIP?

VoIP providers allow you to do a bit of magic - you can choose any area code you like for your non fixed VoIP phone numbers.

This feature lets you build up a repertoire of local numbers for all of the most significant locations you do business in, regardless of whether or not you have a physical presence there.

This, in turn, helps you establish local street cred and demonstrate an extra level of commitment to your customers without any of the costs of opening a local branch.

5. VoIP Is Packed with Features

Traditional phones are boring.

They're only good for making and receiving calls.

You can spruce them up a bit by adding a couple of extra features (like call display, call forwarding, and call holding), but that'll cost you quite a bit more.

So, rather than going through the hassle of contacting and negotiating with your telecoms provider, why not trade up and get a more powerful VoIP solution?

The business case adds up, especially if you consider the sheer number of features most VoIP providers offer either straight out of the box or for a tiny added fee.

You can expect functionality like:

  • Instant messaging
  • Teleconferencing (and video conferencing)
  • Voicemail via email (as a voice message or a voice-to-text transcription)
  • Faxing via email
  • VoIP caller ID
  • Smartphone and tablet support
  • Call forwarding and call holding
  • Toll-free numbers

6. VoIP Is Reliable in a Pinch

Relying on traditional phones leaves you with no backup option when a storm takes out the telephone towers.

Well, aside from going full Lion King:

Lion king signal

Source

But most of the time, your arms aren't as long as Rafiki's, and you simply have to wait for the repairs before you can resume your daily routine.

VoIP offers you a plan B.

There's no need to panic if your internet connection goes down.

You just need to set up VoIP call forwarding and get your calls routed to a different device.

If your office internet is down, you can answer your calls via your mobile phone or home broadband connection.

If your mobile signal is gone, you can push the calls back to any device with a functioning broadband connection.

If everything is gone, you can forward your calls to a colleague in a different location.

You're covered in any event short of nuclear warfare or the apocalypse, at which point your VoIP being down would be the least of your worries.

7. VoIP Comes with Powerful Analytics

Call analytics are often overlooked by businesses thinking about switching to VoIP.

It's easy to understand why - most people don't expect their phones to come with powerful insight capabilities because that's what they've been conditioned to expect by traditional analog systems.

But luckily, gone are the days in which only larger enterprises could afford to pull actionable call data by hiring expensive data experts.

And it's all thanks to VoIP and its democratization of call analytics.

Nowadays, any employee can log into the analytics program of their VoIP solution and get immediate access to a wealth of data, including real-time call logs, call recordings, and call tracking metrics like:

  • Total calls
  • Inbound calls
  • Answered calls
  • Missed calls
  • Talk time
  • Calls in queue
  • Local/international calls

Just remember to make time for analyzing them, spotting trends, and improving your customer experience (CX) and outbound/inbound performance.

Speaking of CX brings up our last benefit, and arguably the most important one:

8. VoIP Helps You Deliver a Better Customer Experience

We're sure you've heard all about the importance of improving customer experience.

CX is easily one of the biggest business trends of the last decade, and despite industry leaders kicking it around like a hacky sack, it isn't just a buzzword. Don't believe us?

Then take it from one of the world's leading consulting firms, McKinsey & Company , that revealed that improving CX helps you grow revenues by 10-15% and cut costs by 15-20%.

Imagine how good that would look on your next profit and loss statement.

One thing though, how can a simple VoIP system get you closer to these impressive results?

You should already know the answer (hint: it's in the seven benefits above), but since repetition is the mother of learning, we'll give you a quick recap anyway.

  1. Advanced call analytics enables you to pinpoint customer pain points (i.e., long queue times, overuse of interactive voice response (IVR)) and resolve them.
  2. VoIP cuts costs and allows you to offer toll-free numbers and cheaper services.
  3. Local caller ID brings you closer than ever to your customers.
  4. VoIP technology underpins crystal-clear call quality and reliable service.
  5. Call recordings help you improve scripts and suggest solutions faster.

Industries Where a VoIP Number is Commonly Used

VoIP is sounding pretty sweet at this point, or are we wrong?

We don't think so. 😊

But is this cost-saving and performance-improving technology for everyone?

The short answer is yes: VoIP can help any type of organization.

The longer answer is: it helps a certain set of industries even more, making it an absolute must-have if you're working in one of the sectors mentioned in the table below.

Industry

Why VoIP makes a difference

Sales and recruiting

  • Salespeople spend the entire day on the phone, so cutting telecom costs is a big deal.
  • It's perfect for remote sales teams.
  • Local VoIP caller ID increases the odds prospects will pick up the phone.

Customer service

  • The phone is a crucial part of customer service, with 76% of consumers preferring this medium.
  • Keeping operational costs low is on the mind of all call center managers.
  • You can use call analytics to cut waiting times and improve customer satisfaction.

Financial services

  • Financial services companies usually have multiple branches/offices spread across the country.
  • Recording all aspects of conversations is pivotal for compliance.
  • Virtual fax capabilities still matter.

Insurance

  • Insurance agents often sell across state lines and need multiple local numbers.
  • Calls can be forwarded to any device, so agents can be lightning-fast at responding to queries.

e-Commerce

  • VoIP comes with CRM integration, enabling:
  • Support agents to pull up time-sensitive customer data.
  • Efficient outbound marketing.
  • Call analytics offer valuable insight into the performance of click-to-call marketing campaigns.

Small businesses and startups

  • VoIP can reduce a startup's initial telecom costs by up to 90% .
  • VoIP empowers small businesses and startups to hire talent from all across the world.

Law firms, real estate, and other agencies

  • Law practices and agencies need a reliable way to communicate with clients no matter the situation.
  • Virtual fax capabilities still matter.
  • Local numbers help smaller agencies gain credibility in the eyes of sellers.

Healthcare and higher education

  • Higher education and healthcare institutions need efficient IVRs to route calls into the right departments.
  • VoIP offers CRM integration, which makes pulling patient or student files a breeze.

Need a couple of VoIP case studies to seal the deal?

Here you go:

Three Incredible VoIP Success Stories

Fixed VOIP number

1. Zapier

Zapier is a workflow automation app that integrates over 3,000 web apps, making it possible for end-users to connect programs and streamline processes without the help of developers.

By the way, you'll find Zapier's logo at the bottom of our homepage because Ringy is one of their integrated apps.

They started small in 2012 with only three founders, but they've since grown to over 500 employees in 28 different countries. And all those international calls mean a traditional phone system doesn't cut it for them - they need VoIP, and that's exactly what they have.

Their VoIP system allows them to:

  • Keep costs low and productivity high.
  • Offer 100% remote working.
  • Disseminate a solid corporate culture that boosts morale and camaraderie despite people living thousands of miles away from one another.

Not bad at all for a technology that used to be a simple (and often choppy) phone line in its previous reincarnation.

2. Fashion One

Fashion One is a fashion television channel with over 120 million viewers worldwide.

They also started out small, but before they knew it, they opened 19 offices spread across 15 nations in the Americas, Asia, and Europe - talk about long-distance surcharges galore!

They needed help modernizing their communication infrastructure, so they turned to VoIP as a solution to ballooning communication costs and a lack of central control.

After a short implementation period, they eliminated the need for traditional landlines and mobile phone contracts in their offices by integrating 838 telephone numbers into a single VoIP account with over 50 individual IVR systems.

This change had three significant effects:

  1. It increased productivity by 60% as staff could now handle more calls more efficiently.
  2. It radically decreased costs and complexity.
  3. It improved reliability and flexibility.

That's a win, win, win for Fashion One and VoIP.

3. Nordic International

Nordic International is a tiny journalism and translation business based in the village of Gilfach Goch in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales.

If you need some help pronouncing that, we suggest you ask this non-native speaker for a couple of Welsh language tips:

Source

Impressive, right?

Now back to the case study:

Despite being small, Nordic International manages a network of about 70 independent journalists and translators spread across the UK and Northern Europe.

And take it from a writer; we never stop chatting. So what did Nordic International do?

They've implemented VoIP and reduced their phone bills from £500 a quarter to £60 - that's a £1,760 saving over one year. Big stuff for a small business.

Conclusion: You Need To Get Started With VoIP ASAP

By now, the hardest thing left about VoIP technology should be pronouncing the name of that village and county in Wales.

It's “gil·vak gok” and “ron·thuh kuh·nuhn taf.”

But don't worry if transliteration doesn't help; rather focus on the fact that you're ready to find a VoIP provider and equip your business with VoIP.

You know which type of VoIP you need (fixed vs. non fixed), and you're clear on the eight benefits that you should use to populate your business case:

  1. Lower costs
  2. Simple to implement and use
  3. Phenomenal call quality
  4. Local numbers from anywhere
  5. Feature-rich
  6. Reliable
  7. Actionable insights
  8. Better customer experience

So get out there and find your company a solution.

We'd love it if your first stop was a two-week free trial of our very own Ringy - it's a powerful sales CRM that has a cloud VoIP softphone built-in, so you can get the best of both worlds without having to play around with integrations and multiple bills.

But no hard feelings as long as you find a rocking VoIP system!

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