Both the pros and cons of non-fixed VoIP need to be taken into consideration when setting up a virtual phone system for business.
It’s true that non-fixed VoIP phone numbers can be seen as better than fixed VoIP numbers as they:
- Offer more flexibility. You can assign and reassign them to different users easily, regardless of where they work
- Are easier to scale. Because you don’t need to firmly associate them with an address, you can get more and deploy more of these numbers more quickly
- Help you implement global communications within your organization. Even if you have a smaller budget and don’t necessarily need to have an international presence, you can still employ and work with talent from all over the world when you give them a non-fixed VoIP number.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have shortcomings. Below, we can explore the good and the bad of non-fixed VoIP phone numbers.
We’ve briefly touched upon some of these above, but let’s cover them in more detail.
Local presence across the world
With a non-fixed VoIP virtual phone system, you can request virtual phone numbers with local area codes even if you don’t have offices or physical addresses in that geographical location. That means you have access to a localized business phone number for North American, South American, European, Asian, African, and Australian customers while operating from one place.*
This is great for businesses that need global communications but also want to cultivate a local presence. All your virtual phone numbers can be managed in one account, regardless of area codes.
Communicating with customers using a local number will reassure them that you’re not a spammer, scammer, or fraudster—and it grants your business authority and authenticity in that physical location.
* Special note: Availability of a local number may depend on which areas or countries can be supported by your VoIP service provider, so make sure this is brought up when you’re exploring your options.
Send and receive texts with SMS APIs
With the help of application program interfaces (APIs), sending and receiving text messages is also possible with a VoIP phone number for business. It can be configured to send and receive text messages. Users who use mobile devices for business communications can download their provider’s app to use SMS texting powered by Voice over Internet Protocol. They can also set up their VoIP service to forward text messages their non-fixed VoIP number receives to a regular cell phone.
VoIP service providers like 8x8 offer fully integrated business telephony communications, so you can use one app and dashboard for making VoIP calls, sending texts, and video calling.
Easy to scale
Another benefit of nonfixed VoIP is how easy it is to scale. In the past, expanding your business required leasing more phone lines and even setting up offices across the world. Now, you can just contact your VoIP service provider to increase the number of users on your plan and you’re good to go.
This also makes it easy to scale your business communication needs up and down. For example, if you need more call center users during busy periods, you can increase your users temporarily and reduce back to your usual plan after.
Access a range of calling features
Non-fixed VoIP numbers can give you access to all the calling features a business needs. Caller ID, call routing, conferencing, voicemail, and call recording are all standard functionalities on VoIP phone systems.
VoIP service providers also offer smaller operations advanced features they can’t get with traditional landline phone services for SMBs. For example, an auto attendant can automate call handling by presenting a menu of options whenever a person calls your company. Using the caller’s responses, the auto attendant can route calls to the right department or live agent, giving your business a professional appearance regardless of its size.
Low-cost alternative to traditional landlines
A non-fixed VoIP number is often sold as part of the software as a service (SaaS) model, meaning customers pay for a monthly plan—no upfront costs or expensive installation and maintenance fees. Unlimited long-distance and international calls are also often offered with lower or no additional fees by VoIP providers offering non-fixed VoIP numbers for business.
While this is also true of fixed VoIP, non-fixed VoIP lines tend to cost less to procure and can sometimes even be acquired in bulk because they don’t need to be associated with a location.
This makes VoIP much cheaper to set up and scale than traditional PBX phone service.
Easy to set up
A VoIP phone system can be set up in minutes and can be immediately accessed through a non-fixed number. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, your administrator can create an account, add VoIP users, and manage the company’s VoIP service from an easy-to-use administration portal and dashboard.
This also makes onboarding a smooth and easy process. New users can be added in minutes and set up with a VoIP phone and virtual number. Employees who prefer using mobile devices instead of desktop-style VoIP phones with their VoIP service can download mobile apps so they can manage all their business communications from their smartphones.
No emergency calling
Making emergency calls to hotlines like 911 can get tricky when you’re using a non-fixed VoIP phone number. This is because it isn’t associated with a physical location, meaning emergency operators (and by extension, first responders) can’t independently trace the call to the correct location of the caller. Of course, this can be a big problem if the person calling is prevented from speaking and telling the authorities where they are. If your business has a physical office that you want to be found in case of a catastrophe, make sure you have a fixed VoIP line or a landline so you can call emergency services when you need to.
Important note: If you’re using your business VoIP phone system, make sure that you have e911 activated. This entails registering an address that you want emergency services to associate with a particular fixed VoIP number—and if you have several different offices, make sure each location is assigned a number for e911 purposes. Talk to your VoIP services vendor about their e911 implementation process.
Lacks trust factor
Because tracing nonfixed VoIP phone numbers is difficult on account of not being associated with an actual street address, they are favored by people engaged in scams and fraudulent activity. As such, non-fixed VoIP has gained a bit of a bad reputation.
You can avoid suspicion of questionable ventures while still using non-fixed numbers by displaying each of your local phone numbers on your website. That way, if a customer sees your caller ID and searches for the phone number online, they’ll be able to see it as a legitimate contact detail. That being said, this can still be a challenge if you use a lot of local phone numbers for sales and marketing campaigns—it makes publishing all your numbers on your site impractical.