Pandemic Impact: 5 Use-Cases for Virtual Numbers

Businesses use virtual numbers to handle a wide range of needs to strengthen their inbound and outbound strategies. These telephone numbers use VoIP technology and because they’re not directly bound to a physical line, companies have the flexibility and cost-effective means to make, take, and forward calls to one or multiple devices anywhere around the world. 

Virtual phone numbers offer more functionality, features, and value-added services than conventional phone networks. Physical landlines have infrastructure limitations that make it more costly to operate and harder to scale as teams grow. Cloud-based phone systems only require Internet access to operate, giving your brand continuity, convenience, savings, and scalability for connecting with contacts.  

At AVOXI, we curate our bank of telephone numbers from 170+ countries to assist customers with their unique business needs. We’ve seen them use their numbers in various ways - most recently, our customers have expanded even more due to COVID-19. Below, we’ll discuss five unique opportunities for virtual numbers that have kept our customers’ businesses going strong and connected to their global contact base (even amid a pandemic). 

1. Adapting Revenue Streams

Industry: Retail

 

  • Overview: Local lockdowns kept an athletic apparel brand’s brick-and-mortar stores closed and unable to sell. As e-commerce remains in the early adoption stage in Latin America, this retailer sought a solution that could assist in merchandise sales to keep stores afloat. 

 

  • Solution: The athletic apparel brand purchased Chilean virtual phone numbers to help sustain revenue for their retail stores. These numbers were advertised to locals so customers could have an additional buying method as stores remained closed.

 

  • Result: Both parties avoided long-distance call fees because of AVOXI’s local virtual numbers. 

 

While business-to-consumer sales are typically made in-store or online, strict lockdown measures in our athletic apparel retailer’s regional Latin America (LATAM) market squashed store sales, sending them to seek a new revenue stream that would keep store sales afloat while closed to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Comparatively to the rest of the world, LATAM is just beginning to bud into the e-commerce space at 4.7% of retail sales. Purchasing Chilean virtual numbers and advertising them to customers has helped the athletic apparel retailer not only bring a localized presence to the community but also, reassurance to their customers that their orders are being placed and processed with the utmost care. 

As the brand modified its sales process to meet local expectations, they continue to drive revenue and deliver top-notch service - even without the physicality of being in-store or the reliance on the Internet. Using local virtual numbers for inbound sales has allowed our customer (and theirs) to save by removing the need for long-distance call charges thanks to numbers with local area codes. 

2. Remote Training Seminars

Industry: Nonprofit

 

      • Overview: With hundreds of employees attending video conferencing training at the same time, instructors found it difficult to present because of the insurmountable user-error continually being made by guests. 

 

      • Solution: Training seminars were voice-recorded onto a file. The nonprofit organization dispersed training phone numbers for which employees can call and listen to their training at a time and place that’s convenient for them. 

 

      • Result: By providing their employees with a call-in phone number for training, this nonprofit was able to keep training seminars current despite the business disruptions caused by COVID-19. 

 

Like several organizations, our nonprofit customer was holding in-office training seminars for their staff before the pandemic. When operations went remote, so did their training. 

Seminars were being conducted over a popular teleconferencing software, but with 300-500 employees in attendance at any given time, it became hard for instructors to present with constant disruptions like dogs barking in the background and connectivity issues afflicting those in attendance. 

Our customer knew something needed to be done, so they came to AVOXI seeking a new way to deliver training to their employees. We provided them with virtual numbers that employees can call and listen to pre-recorded seminars on their own time, on a device they prefer. A private voice recording and limited distractions gave our customer’s employees the information they needed in a convenient and comfortable setting. 

3. International Student Resource Hotline

Industry: Education 

 

      • Overview: Colleges and universities needed a fast way to get important campus information to their international students who went back home because of student housing and campus closures caused by COVID-19. With students from all over the world, access to the Internet may be limited for them because of their home setup or local government regulations. 

 

      • Solution: Virtual numbers provided campuses another way to deliver information, allowing students living abroad to dial in and stay connected on school operations, housing, health and wellness resources, etc. 

 

      • Result: The student resource hotline was set up quickly with VoIP technology, providing students with the critical information they need regardless of Internet limitations.

 

Colleges and universities were left in a state of confusion and panic when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Scrambling to convert everyone to virtual learning and resume classes, staff and students alike wondered what the fall semester would be like - if it was even going to happen at all. 

International students dealt with additional frustrations as campus housing were forced to close. With limited options, many packed up and went back home, leaving schools in need of a system to help keep their students informed of campus affairs from their native countries. 

Virtual numbers provided an easy way for students to call in and catch up on the information they needed to know: the first day of classes, campus engagements, health and safety protocols, residential services, etc. A resource hotline is a great channel to pass along pertinent information, especially to those who live in countries where Internet access may be limited. 

4. IT Helpdesk Hotline

Industry: Multiple Industries 

 

 

      • Solution: Companies are purchasing virtual numbers that route to their IT department, allowing them access to communicate quick troubleshooting tips to those employees experiencing issues regarding their computers, intranet, or business tools. 

 

      • Result: IT specialists on-call can talk through the steps with employees in a private conversation, leaving space in the helpdesk queue for more urgent cases that require observation and attention to detail. 

 

As companies continue to operate remotely, IT departments have seen a significant increase in helpdesk ticketing from employees. With strict contactless protocols in place, IT support must workaround face-to-face contact and utilize alternative solutions to handle the rise in cases.

Many companies have been using virtual numbers to offset helpdesk requests. These numbers have been distributed throughout the company, outlining the use of the numbers and connecting an employee with an IT specialist. These lines allow the specialist to talk through the steps of the troubleshoot, providing the employee with 1:1 attention. 

5. Consumer Feedback Hotline 

Industry: Pharma & Healthcare

 

      • Overview: Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies use consumer feedback to better understand and service those who use their products.

 

      • Solution: Companies assign a unique telephone number to a new product, giving consumers a platform to express their needs, concerns, and experiences using it. 

 

      • Result: Organizations can easily analyze data from their unique digit set, drilling down data to the exact product and market it was sold in. 

 

Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies rely heavily on consumer feedback to better serve those who’re actively involved in their own healthcare research. The Questions & Comments section on the back of most over-the-counter medications and medical supplies helps companies record their consumers’ adverse events, side effects, and overall product experience through direct lines of communication. 

As new products emerge into the market, especially now to help combat COVID-19, these companies are adding unique, brand-identifiable telephone numbers to the packaging. Virtual numbers, like toll-free and local, provide pharmaceuticals and medical supply manufacturers with easy data collection channels that can be tracked from anywhere, just as long as the representative has online access.

Having consistent numbers on products, delivered to countries the local area code reflects, is one of several great advantages of virtual telephone numbers. They provide companies with brand consistency and excellent call quality, but also insightful contextual details regarding the specific market and product through data activity reporting.  

Growing Your Communications with Virtual Numbers

Virtual numbers, whether they’re toll-free, local, or non-geographic, allow your business to keep running despite unexpected disruptions. Many organizations were forced to adapt to new ways of communicating or selling to their customers this year and still came out on top. As we head into 2021, start evaluating your virtual number strategy to identify new improvement opportunities like internal training, consumer feedback, and more!

When you purchase a virtual number, you get several VoIP features to put your communication strategy on the road to success, including call forwarding to multiple devices around the world, voicemail-to-email, auto-attendant, and more at no additional cost. It’s easy and fast - no setup fees or contracts required. What are you waiting for?

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