A virtual phone system is an internet-based phone answering system whereby you can either have a new phone number assigned to you or you can transfer your existing number to the new system.  It will then answer that number automatically and/or route your calls to any other land line, mobile or VoIP (voice over IP) phone number you have.

 

The first advantage is that you don’t need a dedicated receptionist.  The virtual phone system will answer your incoming calls and depending on how you program it, will direct your callers to the actions you want them to take which normally is to dial the extension of the person they are trying to reach.  These voice prompts are completely programmable and as simple to do as pressing a button and speaking into your phone.

 

They also offer a dial by name directory so that if your caller does not know the extension number they need.  Each extension, 1, 2, 3 etc., is setup independently so that you can have one for each person working in your company.  You program each extension with the phone number to which you want that extension to forward your calls.  You can for example forward to just your home phone number, or have the system forward to first your home phone, and then if you do not pick up, forward to your cell phone, and if you don’t pick up to as many phone numbers as you wish.  You can also have the system forward your calls to all of your phones simultaneously and you simply pick up whichever phone you are closest to.

 

Virtual phone systems work particularly well with companies whose employees are not all in the same location.  Since you can direct your extensions to ANY phone number, you can be very flexible in terms of where your team works.

 

When a call is not answered, your caller can be directed to leave a message (all in your voice of course) and that message can be retrieved just like any other voice mail system.  But an added advantage is that the virtual phone system will email you with an audio file recording of the voice message.  All you need to do is to double click on the file from your computer and you can listen to your voice mail messages.  How cool is that!