Video conferencing versus old school audio conferencing

Many international collaborators rely on email for corresponding with others due to time zone differences. While email gets the job done, there’s often a large lag time.

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It is cloud-based and runs in a standard web browser utilizing each participant’s onboard webcam microphone and speakers. No dial-in access numbers are needed.

There are no downloads to install, attendees simply arrive at a URL to join.

International Video Conferencing • Chat • White Board • Screen Share

It enables international video conferencing, with Chat, White Board, Screen Share from any web-enabled device worldwide.

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of International Conference Calls

Video conferencing provides business professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, celebrities, journalists, and other individuals with international contacts a cost-effective means of collaborating with their associates in other countries.

Using an international video conferencing service provider allows for feature-rich collaboration and crystal-clear connections. Whether you need to host international conferencing events on a regular basis or periodically, you can receive numerous benefits when you start holding conference calls.

As with most everything, a few downsides exist. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of international conference calls.

The Advantages of International Video Conferencing for virtual meetings

Less Time Traveling – More Time Collaborating: While meeting in person is certainly desirable, it’s not always practical. With international conferencing, you can interact with your global contacts in a group environment without having to leave the country. Instead of spending a good portion of your business week in airports, on international flights, and inexpensive hotel rooms, pick up the phone, hold your teleconference, and get to the heart of the matter. Your call can last as long as you need it to last. Even if you spend eight full hours in a teleconference, you’ll still be ahead of the game thanks to the ability to make the call from your office.

Dramatically Lower Collaboration Costs: Obviously, eliminating international travel also eliminates international travel costs, making international conferencing economically appealing. In addition to cutting your own travel expenses, you won’t need to rent meeting room space to accommodate attendees. Everyone simply dials into the international conference call from their own offices, homes, or other locations.

Review and Share Your Teleconference: You can record your international conference call with just a button click. Use the MP3 file to review the conference later or share it with colleagues who were unable to attend the call at its scheduled time. Depending on the nature of the call, you might even want to create a podcast out of it or package it into an informational or coaching product.

Video Conferencing Allows for Real-Time Collaboration

Many international collaborators rely on email for corresponding with others due to time zone differences. While email gets the job done, there’s often a large lag time. Using international conferencing, you can collaborate with others in real time. Unfortunately, this is also one of the cons of international conferencing in that some participants may need to participate in the call outside of their normal business hours.

Teleconferencing Allows for More Personal Interactions: Being able to communicate with others over the phone allows for more personal interactions. Not only can you break the ice and get to know one another over the phone, but you can also hear each other’s voice inflections. Voice calls result in fewer misunderstandings than email.

The Cons of International Conferencing

Clearly, international conferencing is an excellent choice for anyone who regularly communicates with international contacts. However, there are a few disadvantages you should be aware of. Fortunately, these disadvantages of international conferencing can be overcome.

All that’s required is the participant’s email address to send an invite.

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Time Differences Can Make Scheduling a Conference Call Challenging: If you’re in Los Angeles and the people you need to meet with are in London, Australia, Japan, and India, scheduling international conferencing is going to be challenging. Some attendees will need to call into the teleconference at a time that is outside of their normal business hours. However, attendees do not need to remain in their offices late at night in order to participate. They can call from any phone, anywhere they may be.

Dialing Conventions Vary from Country to Country: Your international collaborators are used to dialing phone numbers a certain way. Giving them an international phone number to call can cause confusion, require operator assistance, and potentially deter participation due to cost concerns. You can overcome this disadvantage by using an international conferencing service that issues local access numbers or local toll free numbers. Each participant will be given a phone number local to their country. Opt for toll free access if you do not want your participants to pay to participate in the conference.

Calling Rates are High for Some Countries: As the host of an international toll free conference call, you’re right to be concerned about the per minute calling rates for some countries. You may be used to paying less than a nickel per minute for long distance calls and be shocked at some of the rates for other countries. Check the rates for the countries involved in your teleconference and highlight those that you consider too high. For those, use the moderator dial-out feature instead of having those participants call your toll free number. Moderator dial-out means you will call them (and you’ll pay quite a bit less as a result). You can pre-program moderator dial-out so that you do not need to scramble at the last minute to gather everyone into your teleconference.

Meet with your team, partners and associates using virtual meeting service.

International Video Conferencing Can Get Loud: Imagine a conference call with 20 people, all with co-workers chatting, phones ringing, or dogs barking in the background. That call would indeed get noisy. Fortunately, mute and unmute features are easy to use and teach to the group. If any users fail to mute their lines when not speaking, the moderator can mute those lines individually.

As you can see, the advantages of international conferencing definitely outweigh the disadvantages. Plus, the disadvantages are easy to work around with the right international conferencing plan or a virtual meeting service.

Additionally, you can count on reliability with 84 cloud data servers globally adding redundancy to your important video collaboration no matter where in the world your attendees are located.

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Zoom versus Old School Audio Conferencing

Zoom video call versus Old School Audio Conferencing

By now, most working professionals, college students, parents, and even retirees are familiar with Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other popular Internet-based video conferencing apps.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting stay-at-home orders and physical distancing requirements caused a massive shift from in-person to virtual interactions.

Thankfully, technology has made it possible to work from home and stay connected with colleagues, customers, friends, and family members despite the restrictions.

Unfortunately, what looks good on paper doesn’t always play out in reality.

Zoom Video Requires Sufficient Bandwidth

For starters, video conferencing requires reliable, high-speed broadband connections, and not everybody has them.

Moreover, an estimated 47 percent increase in broadband usage in the first quarter of 2020 has strained the system for existing users.

With everyone home, we’re all watching Netflix, playing online video games, working remotely, and attending school online — we’re all power users!

Cable ISP providers serving a neighborhood or apartment building, for example, only provide so much bandwidth for that community. As more users tap into it, there’s less to go around for others.

This wasn’t as big a deal when people weren’t online all the time using bandwidth-heavy applications like video streaming and video conferencing, but it is now.

Even worse, many communities lack broadband access or have slow connections. The FCC’s Eighth Broadband Progress Report reveals that:

“…approximately 19 million Americans—6 percent of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds.

In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access to this service. In tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population lacks access.

Even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe.”

A Lack of Bandwidth Leads to a Poor Zoom Video Conferencing Experience

So let’s say you have an important Zoom meeting coming up and a DSL Internet connection that has worked fine in the past for the occasional video conference. However, your family’s home using up bandwidth.

When you join your meeting, it’s a sluggish disaster filled with a jittery video that cuts in and out, delays, frozen images, and audio glitches. You can barely make sense of what others are saying and they can barely see or hear you.

What if you live in a rural area where broadband connections and DSL aren’t available at all?

You may have to drive to a public access point such as city hall, a library, or your favorite coffee house and hope the connection is sufficient for your purposes.

Consider that you may need to maintain a safe physical distance from others doing the same thing.

We Can’t Ignore the Digital Divide

The digital divide affects people of color, tribal communities, low-income citizens, and rural residents.

Whether it’s about affordability or lack of infrastructure, the inability to participate in distance learning, remote work, video conferences, and other virtual activities puts these individuals at a huge disadvantage.

Imagine one of your key team members working from home in a rural area with limited access. She can’t fully attend your weekly video conferences, though she tries.

Glitches and garbled audio make it nearly impossible. As a result, her ideas are not being heard and she’s not learning the critical information she needs to do her job effectively. You’re both missing out.

Zoom Video Conferencing Security is Still Evolving

With the rush to Zoom and other popular video conferencing apps, video conferencing security — and its flaws — have become a major concern.

Tom’s Guide details a long list of security issues associated with Zoom video conferencing.

Here are just a few:

  • Zoom installers laced with malware — Make sure you download Zoom from the official site. Otherwise, you could expose your computer to malware such as a cryptocoin miner that takes over your computer to mine cryptocurrency. With a huge user base thanks to the pandemic, Zoom has become an attractive target for hackers and troublemakers.
  • Zoom call bombing — Public Zoom video conferences are vulnerable to a practice known as “Zoom bombing” where pranksters join the meeting and post inappropriate pictures or make obnoxious noises. To avoid this, do not publicize your meeting IDs and require a password to join.
  • Malware in shared files — A now-patched flaw allowed hackers to share malicious animated GIFs and ZIP files in Zoom’s chat feature. As with any unsolicited file, you should use care before clicking, especially in a public Zoom video conference.
  • Privacy concerns — Zoom’s privacy policy originally reserved the right to use your personal data and share it with third parties. After criticism, the privacy policy was rewritten but there are still some lingering questions about Zoom’s relationship with third-party advertisers.
  • Private Zoom chats may not be so private — If you chat privately with another attendee, the host may be able to see it in the end-of-meeting transcript sent after the video conference.
  • Meeting recordings can be found online — The predictable URL structure of Zoom call recordings make them easy to find, and many were not previously password protected. Zoom has since added a Captcha challenge to the recordings, but the URL structure remains the same.

While some issues have been addressed, video conferencing security continues to evolve. With Zoom call being a large target, you’ll want to use care when using the app and follow the best practices of securing your video conferences with a password and non-public meeting link.

Should You Go Old School With Audio Conferencing?

Audio conferencing has been a business mainstay for decades. It’s convenient, reliable, and widely accessible.

With the pandemic, however, many organizations have become enamored with video conferencing. After all, we crave face-to-face interactions with our peers, family members, and friends and we have the technology to make it happen.

In addition to the problems outlined above, there’s also a bit of video conferencing fatigue going on. What normally would have been an audio conference pre-COVID-19 has now become a video conference.

This means dressing up, de-cluttering the background, and remaining on camera for the duration of the meeting.

Holding an audio conference solves these issues beautifully. You can still exchange information with your team in a group audio call, but it’s not necessary to see each other.

Those in rural communities or without Internet access can fully participate simply by dialing a phone number on their mobile or landline telephones. Your meetings no longer leave others out due to the digital divide.


That said, audio conferencing comes in two flavors — VoIP and “old school” PSTN.

With VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) audio conferencing, the same broadband access and quality issues can occur because the data is carried over the Internet and impacted by bandwidth or lack thereof.

Thus, audio quality may be subpar with delays, echoes, muffled or garbled sounds, and other issues. With old school PSTN audio conferencing, the audio quality is far superior because the data is carried over traditional PSTN telephone lines.

Remember those old “you can hear a pin drop” commercials? That’s the type of audio connections associated with PSTN audio conferencing.

So, should you host a Zoom video conference or go old school with audio conferencing? Both have their place.

You may have some occasions where face-to-face interactions and screen- and file-sharing make video conferencing the best choice.

However, there are likely far more occasions where a simple audio conference will lead to a more productive meeting and a better user experience without potentially leaving any of your team behind.


How Small Businesses Can Use International Virtual Numbers in the United States

Virtual Numbers US InternationalIf you currently have remote call forwarding numbers within the United States, you already have an understanding of how beneficial call forwarding numbers are. However, did you know that you can use USA virtual numbers around the world?

If you’re in the United States but do business overseas, one of the smartest — and most affordable — investments you can make is in an international virtual number. USA virtual numbers can be created for dozens of countries but set up so that they ring to your office in the US.

How Can You Use USA Virtual Numbers?

Establishing a local presence in an offshore country is one of several ways that businesses in the United States use virtual numbers. For example, let’s say that you run a small web development agency in the United States and would like to begin offering your services in an emerging country such as Brazil. Instead of renting office space in Brazil, getting a landline, and staffing your Brazilian office, you could simply get a local virtual phone number (or a toll free one) for Brazil and set your ring-to destination to your USA phone. To your customers in Brazil, your USA virtual number looks local, eliminating cost concerns immediately and helping to generate more calls.

Another way you could use a USA virtual number is to set up a toll free hotline with a recording. In countries with limited Internet access, getting information isn’t as easy as we’re accustomed to. If you provide informational services, you could create a recording directly from within your USA virtual numbers account and set up your auto voice response system accordingly. From there, publish the toll free number in the target country and begin sharing your message.

If you travel frequently, you could use your USA virtual numbers when visiting your target markets. For instance, if you’ve already set up a virtual number for Brazil and will be spending a few weeks touring factories and networking with local business contacts, you could make cheap phone calls back home by setting up the ring-to number so that it rings to the appropriate person in the USA. From there, dial your virtual number and connect with your US-based contacts. You’ll get your same low international call forwarding rates and be able to dial a toll free number when in Brazil. If you use your USA virtual numbers to make cheap international calls, make sure to change your ring-to number back to the desired phone number when you’re done.

Whether you want to expand your market, better serve international customers, or make cheap international calls, getting a USA virtual number is a great way to do so. Test the waters by signing up for an affordable, month-to-month plan with no contract.

Have you ever used a virtual number to make a cheap international phone call?

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Virgin Island (British) Conference Calling and Remote Call Forwarding Tips

Using a British Virgin Islands call forwarding number in this manner allows you to take advantage of your existing staff and facilities back home and keep your costs down.

British Virgin Islands CollaborationAccording to the Government of the British Virgin Islands, if you intend to do business in the British Virgin Islands, you’ll need a trade license.

If you are an individual from outside the territory – even if you are a British citizen – and intend to work there, you’ll need a work permit.

Once you’ve established your business and fulfilled all of the obligatory business filing details, you’ll need a convenient means of communicating with your colleagues, partners, customers, and other individuals around the world.

Both international conferencing calling and international call forwarding in the Virgin Islands can help. Use the tips below to communicate with international business associates from the British Virgin Islands.

1. Make calling your BVI business easy with virtual phone numbers – As savvy as your business contacts may be, they may have an aversion to calling foreign phone numbers. First, there’s the cost concern.

People who have never called the British Virgin Islands will wonder how much it will cost to call you. Some will overestimate the cost of the call and avoid dialing altogether.

Even if money were not an issue, the phone number will look different to overseas callers. Those who rarely make international phone calls to the British Virgin Islands, or anywhere else for that matter, may not understand the appropriate procedure for dialing out of their countries.

British Virgin Island virtual phone numbers solve these problems. For example, if most of your contacts are in the UK, you could get a UK virtual number and set it up so that it rings to your British Virgin Islands office.

To your British contacts, your British Virgin Island virtual phone number looks and acts like any other UK phone number. Calling you is as easy as calling a local business.

2. Be mindful of time differences – Chairing a British Virgin Islands conference call is a great way to bring together a geographically diverse team into a group phone call. However, with participants located in various time zones, you’ll need to be mindful of these time differences when scheduling a conference call.

For example, since there’s a five-hour difference between the British Virgin Islands and London, you may want to schedule a conference call with your UK team to take place at 10 a.m. BVI time, which would be 3 p.m. their time.

3. Leverage existing resources – If you’ve built a qualified staff of customer service representatives at your home office, it often makes more sense to use remote call forwarding numbers in your new market than it does to establish physical numbers and staff a call center.

For example, you could establish a local British Virgin Island call forwarding number for your island business and route those calls to your main office in London. Using a British Virgin Islands call forwarding number in this manner allows you to take advantage of your existing staff and facilities back home and keep your costs down.

Do you have any communications tips for those doing business in the British Virgin Islands?

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Virtual Number Australia

a virtual number for your Australia calls will save you a ton of money — and your customers won’t know that they’re calling another country.

Sydney, Australia Skyline HarbourNeed to help customers in Australia but hesitate to establish a branch office down under?

Whether you export products to Australia, offer consulting services to Australian businesses, or are thinking about entering the Australian marketplace for the first time, you could quickly establish a business presence with a virtual number. Australia toll free and local virtual numbers are available.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#f2e989″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]In addition to ordering city-specific virtual numbers, you could also order a toll free virtual number and forward any calls from that phone number to your call center or office phone located anywhere in the world.[/dropshadowbox]

What is a Virtual Number (Australia)?

A virtual number is a remote call forwarding number that is not tied to a physical location. In the case of Australia, you could get a virtual number for Sydney complete with its local area code of 28, and set it up so that any calls made to your Australian virtual phone number would be call forwarded to the phone number of your choice.

Local virtual numbers for Australia are available for dozens of communities throughout the country including Sydney, Perth, Cape River, Liverpool, Adelaide, Sunbury, Swan Hill, and Wagga Wagga to name a few.

Use Cases for a Virtual Number in Australia

Perhaps the best way to see the value of an Australian virtual phone number is by seeing how others have used their virtual phone numbers. Below are a few use cases to inspire you:

  • Set up an Australian call center in the United States — In this example, you have an established call center in the United States and need to set one up in Australia as well. As you know, building, equipping, and staffing a call center is expensive. Instead of going to the trouble of doing all that, get a local virtual number for Australia, hire a few Australian CSRs, and route your Australian calls directly to your Australian CSRs desks in your US call center.
  • Set up an Australian tech support line based in India — This scenario is nearly identical to the call center scenario, only it involves technical support calls to your tech support center in India. Again, a virtual number for your Australia calls will save you a ton of money — and your customers won’t know that they’re calling another country.
  • Set up a personal Australian virtual phone number and forward it to your personal cell phone — In this case, you might have family, friends, or colleagues in Australia who need to call you on your personal cell phone. However, you want to save them the trouble and cost of an international phone call. By getting a virtual Australian phone number and routing it to your personal cell phone, you can make their lives easier and be easy to reach no matter where in the world you may be.

How have you used a virtual phone number for Australia or any other country? We love the creative uses our customers have shared with us and would love to hear your ideas. Connect with us on Facebook.

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International Conferencing and Communication Tools for African Startups

It’s an exciting time to be an African entrepreneur. Extend your reach with international conference calling, mobile international conferencing solutions, and international virtual numbers

Africa is a hotbed for entrepreneurs right now. Last year, Tony Elumelu, an economist, philanthropist, and advocate for entrepreneurship, declared 2015 the year of the African entrepreneur. In a recent commencement address, Elumelu said, “All they need is a business idea and the commitment to succeed.” That’s the simplified version, but the climate is ripe throughout Africa for startups and entrepreneurs to succeed.

While ideas and commitment are essential ingredients, mobile technology has played a prominent role in facilitating entrepreneurship in Africa — and it will continue to do so now and in the future. Below are some of the most important international conferencing and communication tools for African entrepreneurs and startups:

International Conference Calls

Africa is a complex continent with 54 member states of the United Nations from Algeria to Zimbabwe. While many African entrepreneurs may start local businesses, others may interact with customers, business partners, mentors, and suppliers throughout the continent — or around the world for that matter. International conference calls in Africa allow participants to connect to a group phone call by dialing either a local or toll free number specific to the country that they are in.

For example, an African entrepreneur in Ghana could host an international conference call with participants located in Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia. Instead of requiring each to dial a Ghana phone number, the entrepreneur would issue local or toll free phone numbers for Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia — making it easy and affordable for all participants to call. If that same international conference call has participants located in the United States, Spain, China, and elsewhere around the globe, the host of the call could issue additional local or toll free numbers specific to those countries.

Mobile International Conferencing

As important and convenient as international conference calls are to African entrepreneurs, mobile international conferencing tools are even more important.

Last year, according to StatCounter, mobile Internet usage soared by 67 percent around the world with mobile usage having overtaken desktop usage Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Mobile Internet usage in Africa is certainly helping to fuel entrepreneurship throughout the continent.

For entrepreneurs hosting conference calls, it’s more likely than not that their go-to device is a smartphone rather than a desktop. Thus, international conferencing services catering to this market need to make it easy to schedule, coordinate, and manage international conference calls via mobile apps and mobile-friendly sites.

International Virtual Numbers

Finally, African entrepreneurs can benefit from international virtual phone numbers. While an entrepreneur may be physically operating from Ghana, for instance, he or she could also set up local phone numbers in other countries throughout Africa. Callers from Nigeria would dial a Nigerian phone number, but the call would be forwarded to the Ghana business.

International virtual numbers can be used for convenience — to make it easier for international callers to reach your business — or to create a local presence in locations outside the country.

It’s an exciting time to be an African entrepreneur. Extend your reach with international conference calling, mobile international conferencing solutions, and international virtual numbers — each of which can save you money as well as give you access to superior telecommunications networks than may be available to you locally.

How have you been using international conferencing or virtual phone numbers in Africa?

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Global Virtual Numbers

Global Conferencing


Call forwarding lighten your load

Mobile call forwarding is the ability to take your existing mobile phone number and redirect the calls to another telephone number.

As the popularity of mobile phones has grown, more and more people are eliminating their land lines and exclusively use their cell phones. Many smaller companies even advertise a cellular number as their businesses main contact.

While the use of mobile phones is increasing within the business community, the need for mobile call forwarding has increased also. Mobile call forwarding is the ability to take your existing mobile phone number and redirect the calls to another telephone number. Companies are often in need of call forwarding in order to have their mobile phones answered when they are not in the office.

When you travel, you can then set up the cell phone to call forward to a virtual number.  The virtual number then redirects calls to any other number you chose, in any country, which could be a disposable cell phone that you purchase inside another country, your international branch office phone, your hotel room phone, or any other phone you may have access to.

In order for this to work, your cell phone in your home country must support call forwarding. Once set up, your contacts back home can dial your cell phone number as usual and reach you.

We welcome any posts if you have a story regarding personal experience using call forwarding virtual numbers with your own business use.

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What You May Not Know About International Call Forwarding

For example, if the person who usually handles all incoming calls from Italy calls in sick, you could change the ring to number for your Italian call forwarding number to ring to another qualified, Italian-speaking person in your company.

What You May Not Know About International Call ForwardingThink that all there is to using an international call forwarding number is getting the number and then setting its “ring to” number? Think again. Yes, setting up an international call forwarding number can be as simple as that.

However, to squeeze the most value out of your global phone number, you may want to learn more about international call forwarding and the numerous features available to you.

Make an Impact with International Call Forwarding

Getting a global call forwarding number could immediately transform your local business into one with international appeal. For example, if you’ve recently begun selling products in Brazil, listing a toll free Brazilian number on your product packaging would reassure consumers that your business is readily accessible. In contrast, listing a number for a company located in North America, Europe, or Asia may cause Brazilian consumers to reconsider their purchase.

Sound Local with Local Ring Tones

Did you know that the sound of a ringing telephone varies from region to region? A caller may hear a different ring tone when dialing London than when calling Hong Kong. For those who frequently call specific countries, a mismatch between ring tones could be jarring. Avoid confusing callers by using local ring tones whenever possible.

Handle Global Phone Calls Night and Day with an Auto Attendant

One of the biggest potential problems with issuing an international call forwarding number and answering it on the other side of the world has to do with time zone differences. Fortunately, this problem can be handled by an auto attendant. For example, you can set up your global call forwarding number so that it rings to different phone numbers (such as various call centers located around the world) based on the time of day a call comes in. You could also roll calls to voicemail at a specific time.

Create a Virtual PBX with an International Call Forwarding Number

You can take call routing even further by configuring your international call forwarding number so that it serves as a virtual PBX system. For example, you could set up your call forwarding number to greet callers with a recorded greeting. From there, the auto attendant could instruct callers to push specific buttons on their keypads in order to: speak with a customer service representative, reach technical support, get directions to your office, leave a message, or anything else.

Never Miss a Call with Simultaneous Ringing

What happens if ten people call your international call forwarding number at the same time? One option is to set up simultaneous call forwarding to multiple phone numbers at the same time.

Eliminate Your Fax Machine

Tired of paying for an extra phone line for a fax machine that rarely gets used? Your global call forwarding number can accept faxes. Any incoming fax will be converted to a PDF or image document and then emailed to the email address of your choice.

Month-to-Month International Call Forwarding

International call forwarding numbers can be ordered and used on a month-to-month basis with no long term contracts. If you need a temporary or long-term call forwarding solution, these plans provide fantastic features, low rates, and the flexibility your business needs.

Change Your Ring To Number On the Fly

It’s possible to change your ring to number quickly and easily, and as often as you’d like. For example, if the person who usually handles all incoming calls from Italy calls in sick, you could change the ring to number for your Italian call forwarding number to ring to another qualified, Italian-speaking person in your company.

These are but a few of the many ways you can use international call forwarding numbers. Don’t just “set it and forget it,” take advantage of your global call forwarding plan’s advanced features.

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International Call Forwarding – A Frugal Tool for International Calls

You will be billed by the global call forwarding service provider for the call forwarding service at its low per minute rates.

International Call Forwarding - A Frugal Tool for International CallsYour college student just announced that she’s been accepted at a prestigious international university.

Though everyone’s excited, you may wonder how you’ll stay in touch or be concerned about the cost of international phone calls.

International call forwarding is a frugal option for international college students and their parents.

Low Cost Ireland to US Phone Calls

Let’s use Ireland and the United States as an example. If your college student will be attending a semester in Ireland, she’ll need an inexpensive way to call her family and friends in the United States. Likewise, you’ll need a cheap way to call her in Ireland.

Start by ordering an international call forwarding number that is local to the city in Ireland where her university is located. Set the “ring to” number to your home phone number. When in Ireland, she will dial a local Irish phone number whenever she wants to call home. The phone will ring at your house in the United States. In Ireland, that call will be treated as any other local phone call. Her local phone carrier will not impose international long distance charges because it is essentially a local call. You will be billed by the global call forwarding service provider for the call forwarding service at its low per minute rates.

Low Cost US to Ireland Phone Calls

Next, set up an international call forwarding number that’s local to your family in the United States. For example, if you live in San Diego, get a local San Diego phone number in your local calling area. Set up this number’s ring to number to your daughter’s dorm room number back in Ireland. Since you’ll dial a local San Diego phone number each time, your phone company will treat it as any other local call. Again, your international call forwarding service provider will bill you its low-cost international call forwarding rates.

Depending on how generous you want to be, you could share this local phone number with your college student’s friends who remain in the area. Keep in mind, however, that you will be billed for any calls others make using your call forwarding number.

Using a global call forwarding service while your college student is studying abroad is a fantastic way to keep your communications costs low during the school year. Month-to-month plans and low international call forwarding rates make global call forwarding a fantastic, frugal choice.


Virtual Business Tools: How International Call Forwarding Can Help

Whether you need to be available for calls from important clients or your family members back home, an international call forwarding number makes reaching you a simple matter with no additional work or international long distance expenses for your callers.

Did you know that a single phone number can partially automate your business?

Getting an international call forwarding number is like having a virtual secretary who can track you down no matter where in the world you may be.

Not only can your global virtual phone number ensure that you can be found, the right international call forwarding service can also deliver a fantastic user experience to your callers.

How a Virtual International Phone Number Can Find You

An international call forwarding number is a virtual phone number that is local to a given country. It does not have a physical location connected to it. Instead, it can be configured to ring to any phone that you designate. For example, you could get a virtual phone number for Ontario, Canada and set it up to ring to your main office, your mobile phone, your home office, or any other phone number you choose – at any time.

You can also set your virtual number to ring to ALL of your designated ring to numbers at once or to ring them sequentially until you pick up. Having a number follow you around is ideal for business professionals who frequently work at different locations. It also allows you to reduce your reliance on your cell phone for business calls when sitting behind a desk. Thus, you can conserve your mobile phone’s minutes. A virtual number also allows you to receive mobile phone calls when necessary while simultaneously keeping your mobile phone number private.

What happens when you need to leave the country? Your international call forwarding number can find follow you. Simply change the ring to number to your overseas contact number such as the phone in your hotel room or temporary office space. Your colleagues back in Canada would call you as they always do by dialing the same phone number. Meanwhile, you would receive the call in a different country. Callers may not even realize that you’re not in your Ontario office!

Virtual Number Benefits to Callers

This brings up another important point about international call forwarding: your callers’ experience. Whether you need to be available for calls from important clients or your family members back home, an international call forwarding number makes reaching you a simple matter with no additional work or international long distance expenses for your callers. They simply call you as they normally do using the same local or toll free number.

On your end, you can configure your virtual number in a variety of ways to enhance the caller’s experience. For example, if you’ve traveled out of the country and into a different time zone, you might want to set up time of day routing so that calls are routed to voicemail while you sleep.

Creating a Virtual PBX

Whether traveling abroad or setting up your main office, you may want to create a virtual PBX with your international call forwarding number. Advanced auto attendant features allow you to greet callers and prompt them to make specific choices such as “press 1 for sales; 2 for service.”

A single international call forwarding number can serve a variety of purposes and partially automate your business. Use a virtual number to receive calls no matter where you may happen to be, to ensure a consistent caller experience, and project a professional image.

Best of all, international call forwarding plans are affordable and available on a month-to-month basis – and hundreds of countries are supported.


Types of Virtual Numbers

Virtual numbers with simultaneous call processing also ensure that callers do not hear a busy signal.

Types of Virtual NumbersVirtual numbers come in two basic flavors

Local and Toll Free. With a local virtual number, you are not restricted to numbers available to your locally. In other words, if you live in San Diego, California, you are not restricted to San Diego numbers. You can get local numbers for cities all over the world and have them ring to any phone you choose.

Toll free numbers are toll free versions such as 800 and 888 numbers. Like local virtual numbers, you can get toll free virtual numbers for various countries including the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and dozens of other countries.

Both local and toll free virtual numbers involve routing calls to the phone number that you designate. As the virtual number account holder, you would be responsible for paying the costs associated with forwarding those calls to your ring-to number.

You can choose a plan that includes monthly minutes or begin with a buy-the-minute plan and can decide to change the plan later after you know your typical usage pattern.  The plans are month-to-month so there are no long term contracts.

How Virtual Numbers Make You Look More Professional

Having a toll free number for your business immediately makes your business look larger and more professional. It shows that you are serious, and it eliminates any concerns callers may have about dialing long distance.

If you’d like your business to appear more professional, consider setting up your virtual number with an auto attendant. This is an affordable alternative to a traditional PBX. You could assign separate mailboxes for individuals or departments and have the auto attendant route calls based on the caller’s choices. For example, your auto attendant could prompt users to “press 1 for sales, 2 for accounting, and 3 for shipping.” This is an efficient way to route calls to the appropriate person, and it can also give the illusion of a larger operation.

In addition to routing calls based on caller input, you could also take advantage of a lesser known feature called time of day routing to route calls. For example, if a call comes in after 5:00 PM, you could have it automatically sent to voicemail. You could do the same at lunch time.

Virtual numbers with simultaneous call processing also ensure that callers do not hear a busy signal. When several callers dial the virtual number at once, the extra calls will be sent to the next available extension or voicemail.

In addition, virtual numbers can also double as fax numbers. Whenever someone needs to send you a fax, they can fax documents directly to your virtual number and you’ll receive it as an email attachment. You’ll never miss a fax again due to a lack of paper, toner, or ink. Plus, you’ll no longer need to maintain a separate fax line and fax machine.

Virtual numbers can also make you look local which in turn can increase your credibility.

For example, if you run a small mom-and-pop graphic design firm in a rural community, you may have difficulty competing with firms from New York City simply because of your rural location. By ordering a virtual number with a New York area code, your business can overcome this perceptional problem.

Overseas example

You offer a service on the Web and are located in London.  Since your customers are located worldwide, you want to make it easy for a customer in Argentina or Costa Rica to reach you.  You have the option to own an Argentina local number in Buenos Aires or an Argentina toll-free number.  For Costa Rica, choose from Costa Rica toll-free or a national Costa Rica number.  The possibilities include your ability to acquire a local number in a country of your choice spanning most of the civilized world.

From setting up a toll free number to creating a virtual PBX system and beyond, virtual numbers can help small businesses and solo professionals look more professional. Even better, virtual numbers are an inexpensive alternative to traditional phone systems and fax machines.

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10 Ways to Use Global Call Forwarding

Use global call forwarding numbers to appear larger and more capable.

10 Ways to Use Global Call ForwardingGlobal call forwarding using virtual phone numbers can be used in a variety of ways, allowing you to connect with international friends, family, colleagues, partners, and customers using a single virtual phone number. Below are 10 ways to use global call forwarding to connect with others around the globe.

1. Use a global call forwarding number to keep in touch with family members living abroad. If you have family members living in another country with high international calling costs, consider ordering a global call forwarding number that’s local to that country. Once established, your family members would dial a local phone number that forwards to the destination number in your country. You would pay a fixed per minute price that’s typically much lower than the host country’s rates.

2. Using a virtual number to stay connected when traveling the world. If you travel around the world, you could order a global call forwarding number that’s local to your home country and give that number to your family, friends, and colleagues to call.

As you move from one country to the next, simply change your ring-to number to your new local phone. Your contacts back home would dial a local or toll free number and you’d pay a low per minute rate.

3. Set up shop in another country. Want to start offering products and services overseas? Instead of setting up a physical location in another country, consider setting up a virtual location with an international call forwarding number. Your customers would dial a local phone number to reach you no matter where in the world you actually are.

4. Use a global call forwarding phone number to receive international faxes. Instead of maintaining separate international phone and fax lines, sign up for a global call forwarding number with a fax-to-email feature. Whenever someone needs to send you a fax from that country, they’d simply fax the document to you using the call forwarding number. You’d then receive an email containing a PDF of the faxed document. Not only does this eliminate the need for a separate phone line, it also means that you can get rid of your fax machine and its ongoing expenses.

5. Use global call forwarding numbers to appear larger and more capable. If you would like your business to appear larger, ordering several virtual phone numbers can instantly give your business an international boost.

6. Use virtual numbers to establish yourself in a given country. Are you headed to an international conference where you have the potential to close business deals with partners around the world? Consider establishing global call forwarding numbers in your target countries and then print up business cards with your new phone numbers. Your prospects will likely feel confident calling you from their home countries thanks to your local presence.

7. Use global call forwarding to avoid costly international roaming rates. When traveling internationally, your mobile phone may or may not work at your destination. Even if it does work, you could be faced with sky-high international roaming rates. A better option is to order a global call forwarding number and then buy a disposable cell phone at your destination. You can then designate your new mobile phone as the ring-to number and receive your calls no matter where you go.

8. Use global call forwarding to control when and where you receive international phone calls. International call forwarding plans typically allow you to change the destination phone number on the fly. In addition, many plans have a “time of day” routing feature where you can preprogram how calls are handled based on the time of day they are made. For example, if you do not want to be disturbed between 6:00PM and 5:00AM local time, you can configure your phone number to route any calls between those hours to voicemail.

9. Use global call forwarding in an international call center. Global call forwarding numbers can be routed to an international call center where you can have customer service agents available to handle incoming calls. If you have multiple call forwarding numbers, you may want to route calls to specific agents based on country codes. Similarly, you can route calls to different call centers based on time of day.

10. Use global call forwarding to reduce international calling costs. With low international calling rates and the ability to switch ring-to numbers on the fly, many people have found that global call forwarding is a cost-effective way to make international long distance calls. Rather than dialing directly, you can change your ring-to number to the number you’d like to call and then dial your global call forwarding number. This bypasses the traditional system, puts you on your call forwarding provider’s network, and gives you access to low per minute international calling rates for dozens of countries around the world.

Global call forwarding is a versatile solution to a number of international calling scenarios.

How will you use your global call forwarding number?

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Virtual Numbers for Startups and Small Businesses

After all, some callers won’t think twice about calling you at all hours. By giving callers your virtual number, they can call you 24/7 yet you won’t necessarily have to hear the phone ring while you’re trying to sleep or spend quality time with your family.

Virtual Numbers for Startups and Small BusinessesStartups and small businesses need to be accessible, yet they often run on a tight budget. Virtual numbers allow entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners to receive phone calls professionally without the expense of a PBX system. Not only that, virtual numbers are highly portable.

Whether you need to work out of a temporary location at first before moving into your office, your virtual numbers can follow you wherever you may go – and your callers will never be aware of your movements.

How Virtual Numbers Work

Virtual phone numbers are essentially call forwarding numbers that are not associated with any given phone line or device. You can order virtual numbers with specific country and area codes so that they are “local” to a given region. For instance, you could order a virtual phone number for Los Angeles and another for Ireland and then set both of those numbers to ring to your New York apartment.

People in LA would see a familiar area code and think that they’re calling your Los Angeles office. At the same time, your contacts in Ireland would see a familiar local number and feel confident dialing your Ireland office without any concerns about paying international long distance charges.

As the account holder of those numbers, you would pay your virtual call forwarding service provider for each minute of service. Depending on the plan, you’d likely pay different rates based on the country of origin. Virtual numbers are quite similar to toll free numbers both in terms of how they work and how they are billed.

With a virtual number, you have complete control over the destination phone number. You can change this number at any time online. If you plan on working at the local coffee house for a few hours, you could change the ring-to number to your cell phone.

When you return to your home office, you could then change the ring-to number to your home office phone. Similarly, if you need to leave the country, you could change the ring-to number to your hotel room or temporary office space.  Meanwhile, your callers will not notice any disruptions because they can reach you as they normally do.

Virtual numbers are available for locations around the world. In addition to domestic and international virtual phone numbers, you can also get toll free virtual phone numbers if desired.

Benefits of Using Virtual Numbers for Your Startup or Small Business

Using virtual numbers can deliver several important benefits for startups and small businesses. Below are just a few to spark your imagination:

  • They can help you compete with “local” bidders. If you’re bidding on a project in another city or country, decision makers may have a preference for doing business with local companies. Getting a local call forwarding number, even if it’s just for short-term use as part of the bidding process, can give your business a local credibility boost.
  • Easy split testing. Use different virtual numbers to split test your advertisements and landing pages. Which phone number receives the most calls? Which phone number generates the most sales?
  • Look bigger. While your startup may be excelling despite the fact that you’re running it out of your garage, you may not want to appear as though you’re working out of your garage. By establishing a toll free number and a few virtual numbers in major cities, you can instantly appear to be a larger company. Many virtual number service plans include auto attendant, music on hold, and multiple mailbox features that can also help your company to look bigger than it currently is.
  • Protect your privacy. As an entrepreneur, you need to be readily accessible, but you may not want to give out your personal mobile phone number or home phone number. After all, some callers won’t think twice about calling you at all hours. By giving callers your virtual number, they can call you 24/7 yet you won’t necessarily have to hear the phone ring while you’re trying to sleep or spend quality time with your family. You decide when to accept calls from your virtual number and when to send them to voicemail or to an assistant.

Virtual numbers are ideal for startups and small businesses alike. With one or more virtual numbers, you can immediately establish your business in a given community as well as appear bigger than you are.

You can also move from one location to another, control where those calls go, compete with local bidders, test your ads, and maintain your privacy. Best of all, you can get virtual numbers on a pay-as-you-go basis with no contract or minimum usage requirements.

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Virtual Call Forwarding Numbers and Enhancing Customer Service

For example, your callers in Italy would dial an Italian toll free number which would then be forwarded to your designated ring-to number in the US.

Virtual Call Forwarding Numbers and Enhancing Customer ServiceDo you serve an international customer base?

Global call forwarding can play an important role in your customer service strategy as well as deliver several important cost advantages. Whether you run an international call center or a small business that serves a couple of different countries, using call forwarding smartly can improve service levels.

Connecting with Customers with a Global Call Forwarding Virtual Number

When properly configured, global call forwarding can ensure that your customers from around the world can reach a customer service representative with minimal hassles. Did you know that a toll free number issued in one country doesn’t necessarily work for callers in another country? While you may have a US or Canada toll free number, callers from other countries such as Italy, Egypt, or China will not get through if they attempt to dial that number.

If you want callers from other countries to be able to reach your business without incurring toll charges, you will need to establish toll free global call forwarding numbers specific to each country. For example, your callers in Italy would dial an Italian toll free number which would then be forwarded to your designated ring-to number in the US.

Setting up a global call forwarding number is not difficult. In fact, the process is similar to setting up a traditional toll free business number. Like a traditional toll free number, toll charges for an international toll free call forwarding number are paid by the account holder and not the caller.

By setting up a toll free global call forwarding number for each country that you serve, your international customers will not need to incur any long distance charges to call your customer service center.

In addition, seeing a local number overcomes potential concerns about calling outside of the country as well as gives callers the impression that they are dialing a company located within their country.

While global toll free numbers work in much the same way as domestic toll free numbers, time zone and language differences add complexity to the equation. If you are serious about serving a global audience, consider staffing your call center with native speakers during hours that coincide with business hours in the callers’ countries. Depending on where your call center is located, you may need to schedule native speaking CSRs to answer calls in the middle of the night.

To ensure the best service possible, you can set up calls to ring to specific extensions based on their country codes as well as route calls based on the time of day they are made. For example, if a call originates in Spain, you could route that call to one of your Spanish-speaking CSRs.

Similarly, if a call from Spain originates after-hours, you could send that call to voicemail as callers are not expecting to be served after-hours.

Global call forwarding isn’t just for large businesses who can afford to staff international call centers. Small businesses often use call forwarding on a smaller scale. For example, if you’re a business consultant with clients in the Philippines, you could establish a phone number in the Philippines and then route those calls to your home office.

Your clients will appreciate being able to call you without incurring high costs, and you can become more accessible. In fact, you’d likely have an advantage over a business consultant who has not bothered to establish a local presence.

Because time differences are a major concern, consider adjusting your work schedule to accommodate clients in your target country. You may have just a small window of time each day that works for both you and your clients. However, by letting them know the best time to reach you, you’ll be better able to connect.

Another option is to use an answering service to prescreen calls that arrive in the middle of the night. Provide your answering service with guidelines as to when to notify you of an urgent call. This can ensure that you’re available to handle emergencies yet not constantly bothered at all hours with non-urgent matters. At the same time, your international callers will reach a live person regardless of when they call you.

Cutting Costs with Global Call Forwarding

Many businesses use global call forwarding as an alternative to physical locations. The cost savings can become significant. It is far more efficient to have a central office than it is to lease office space and staff offices around the world. By keeping operations central, you can also reduce your travel costs as you will no longer need to travel from one office to the next.

Whether you run a large business with international call centers or a one-person consultancy that caters to international clients, global call forwarding is a great way to deliver customer service.

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Become More Flexible with Global Call Forwarding

At the same time, you could establish several international forwarding numbers in countries around the world and have them ring to your call center.

Become More Flexible with Global Call Forwarding

Whether you run a small business or an enterprise organization, global call forwarding can help you become more flexible and agile.

With global call forwarding, you have several options. For example, you could establish a virtual number that follows you no matter where in the world you may happen to be.

At the same time, you could establish several international forwarding numbers in countries around the world and have them ring to your call center.

Imagine the possibilities! Below are just a few examples of how your company can take advantage of global call forwarding.

Using Global Call Forwarding to Stay in Touch Globally

As an individual who travels frequently, you may want to check into using global call forwarding as a means of staying in touch with employees, clients, and family members back home when you travel overseas. As you know, your cell phone doesn’t always work in  other countries, and when it does, international roaming rates make accepting calls from people back home an expensive proposition.

Many business travels find it cheaper to buy a disposable mobile phone once they arrive in a country but that brings problems of its own. For example, you need to inform everyone that you have a new number for them to call if they need to reach you when you’re in that country. Since the phone number is local to the country you’re in, your contacts will face international long distance charges should they need to call you. Plus, once you dispose of that phone, you’ll need to tell your contacts that that phone number is no longer valid.

With global call forwarding, you establish a local phone number within your own country (or a toll free one depending on your preferences). You can keep this virtual number indefinitely. The beauty of global call forwarding is that you can change the “ring to” number on the fly. When you purchase a disposable mobile phone in a new country, you simply switch the global call forwarding number’s ring to number to your new mobile phone. You do not need to inform your contacts. They simply dial the same number they always dial. Since the virtual number is local to your own country, your in-country employees, clients, and family members do not need to worry about international dialing costs.

Meanwhile, if you use a reliable, low-cost global call forwarding service, the rates that you are charged will be far more affordable than international roaming rates. In fact, you can view per minute rates for each country you frequently visit before you sign up for a plan.

Using Global Call Forwarding to Establish an International Presence

Another way to use global call forwarding for your business is to establish local phone numbers in the countries that you serve and then have those calls diverted to your call center or main office. To customers in various countries, the phone numbers are completely local. They may even feel as though they’re dialing a business across town thanks to the way the number appears and even the sound of the ringtone. However, the phone will ring to your designated number whether it’s in the same country or not. This provides your business with a flexible alternative to setting up physical locations around the world.

Using Global Call Forwarding to Route Calls by Time of Day

Using Global Call Forwarding to Route Calls by Time of DayHaving a global call forwarding number in a different country does bring with it one challenge: global time differences. However, those differences can be dealt with using time of day routing. For example, if a caller calls you during local business hours, how do you want the call handled if it’s the middle of the night your time?

With time of day routing, you can send calls to a live answering service, call center, or voicemail based on the time of day calls take place. Since callers don’t expect to be helped after business hours, you could send those after hours calls to voicemail as expected or, if those calls occur during your normal business hours, you could exceed expectations by handling those calls in real time.

Time of day routing is a flexible feature that allows you greater control over how incoming calls are routed based on the time of day they occur.

Global call forwarding is a convenient, low-cost choice for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a globetrotting executive who needs to stay in touch at all times, a mid-sized business owner who wants to make it easy for international customers to reach your office without investing in a physical location, or a call center manager who needs to staff a call center to handle incoming calls around the clock, global call forwarding can help you become more flexible.

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