Not every small business has a brick-and-mortar location. Even with companies that do, employees may not be onsite. So how do customers talk to you and your staff? A non-fixed VoIP system, which is a type of business phone system, may be the solution.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also known as “IP telephony,” is a technology primarily used to deliver voice communications in packets of data over the internet. With non-fixed VoIP, you can communicate on a phone through an internet connection instead of through physical wiring (like a landline). This lends itself well to businesses without physical locations or companies with distributed call centers. Instead of communicating through a desk phone or another type of phone tied to a particular location, you can make and receive calls from anywhere through a mobile phone, computer or tablet.
When you have multiple non-fixed VoIP numbers set up, you can digitally connect them to form a virtual phone system for your business. While the person on the other end of the call likely won’t be able to distinguish between a non-fixed VoIP phone call and a regular call, there are a number of pros and cons to weigh when determining which type of VoIP technology is the best fit for your business, employees and customers.
A non-fixed VoIP number is often referred to as a “virtual phone number.” They can be assigned to a specific user or device as opposed to a physical address, which is required for fixed VoIP lines and landlines.
All you need to get a virtual phone number is an email address and sometimes a payment method, making it far easier to obtain than a fixed VoIP number or a traditional landline. Even better, in some instances, non-fixed VoIP phone numbers don’t require payment, making them even simpler to get and use.
What’s more, non-fixed numbers can be created with any area code, which can give callers on the other end the impression that you have a local presence. The familiar local area code increases the likelihood that a customer or sales lead will answer your call. [Find out more reasons why VoIP makes sense for businesses.]
The biggest difference between a fixed VoIP and a non-fixed VoIP number is the requirement of a physical address for the fixed option. Both allow calling through the internet, but you still need an actual location for fixed VoIPs. In contrast, businesses with a non-fixed VoIP phone number or system don’t need to be tied down to a specific location.
Non-fixed VoIP calling also differs from fixed VoIP in the way the phone number is assigned. In a non-fixed scenario, your VoIP number, or “virtual number,” is assigned to you and can be used to make and receive VoIP phone calls from anywhere in the world as long as the user has a decent connection to the internet. With a fixed VoIP service, your phone number is assigned to a physical location – think of a traditional landline phone setup.
As far as the person on the other end of the line is concerned, both VoIP calling options provide clear and reliable communications as long as there is a strong internet connection to support the non-VoIP side of the call.
The physical address requirement is the most significant difference between a fixed VoIP and a non-fixed VoIP phone number.
Call centers, managed service providers, messenger apps and businesses with remote workforces all frequently use non-fixed VoIP services to make phone calls. In each of these use cases, the ability to provide a local number for incoming and outgoing calls is incredibly valuable for customer convenience and trust. Businesses that need to communicate with people around the world often rely on non-fixed VoIP phone systems to build large teams nationally and internationally.
The ability to quickly build an international customer service and support team without paying the significant overhead for multiple office buildings and business phone systems across the globe makes this flexible option incredibly useful and cost-efficient. The option to spread your staff across the country or around the world also increases the speed at which you can build and staff a large virtual call center without relying on job applicants in one location near a physical office. [Learn more factors to consider in our guide to choosing a business phone system.]
Messenger apps that use the internet to connect phone calls and send both MMS and SMS messages also use non-fixed VoIP to handle voice communications. Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Voice and Skype rely on non-fixed VoIP numbers to handle voice communication from within the app. However, some service providers and financial institutions won’t accept non-fixed VoIP numbers as a business’s official line of communication.
Non-fixed VoIP numbers are easy to attain, move and set up through any number of VoIP service providers. Their low barriers to entry and flexible features have made them equally useful for companies growing quickly and for scammers engaged in fraudulent activities. Here are the biggest pros and cons of this kind of phone system.
Some service providers can tie a physical address to your non-fixed VoIP number for use in emergencies.
Still not sold on a non-fixed VoIP number for your business? Fixed VoIP phone numbers provide a few very strong advantages over their fully virtual counterparts with minimal added expense. In fact, their requirement to be tied to a physical location brings several valuable benefits, although some cons do remain.
Communication is paramount in a small business. Whether you’re keeping in touch with employees or reaching out to customers, it’s important to have open, reliable lines of communication. For many companies, that means relying on non-fixed VoIP to talk via phone regardless of location. Whether you ultimately decide to go with fixed or non-fixed VoIP, make sure everyone on your team knows proper phone etiquette. That’s essential for small businesses regardless of which phone system you choose.