In this digital age, virtual phone numbers have become an essential tool for businesses and individuals who need to stay connected with their customers and colleagues, regardless of their location. Virtual phone numbers offer a range of benefits, including increased privacy, flexibility, and convenience. They allow businesses and individuals to maintain a professional appearance and manage their communication channels more efficiently.
When selecting a Virtual Phone Number or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider, it can be difficult to know which one has the features necessary for text messages, phone calls, and other business needs. It is important to evaluate different options in order to ensure that you get the most value for your money, as well as a platform that supports future needs for scaling.
Comparing business phone services can be daunting but with careful consideration and knowledge, you can distinguish the good from the great. We have done most of the work for you, in this article, we explore five of the best phone apps for business calls and texts in 2023.
Virtual Numbers and Why You Should Care
From a business perspective, virtual phone numbers are a powerful tool for improving communication and enhancing customer service. By using virtual phone numbers, companies can maintain a professional image and keep personal phone numbers private while still being easily accessible to customers. Additionally, virtual phone numbers can be configured to forward calls and messages to different devices, ensuring that employees are always reachable, even when they're not in the office.
This flexibility can be beneficial for businesses with remote workers or multiple locations. Moreover, virtual phone numbers are cost-effective, making them an ideal solution for small businesses and startups looking to reduce their expenses without sacrificing functionality.
Before we go any further, let’s brush up on some basics so we can better understand what virtual numbers are and what they can mean for your business.
What are Virtual Phone Numbers?
Virtual phone numbers are telephone numbers that are not tied to a specific physical phone line or device. Instead, they use the internet to forward calls and messages to different devices, such as smartphones, laptops, or tablets.
What is a VoIP?
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is an umbrella term to describe a group of technologies that allow communication by voice over the internet. VoIP allows users to talk to one another like a phone call but without the use of traditional analog phone lines. It uses the internet and a number of complex processes and protocols to encode the audio signal as digital code, send it via the internet and again convert the digital signals back to audio form.
As VoIPs become more popular, virtual phone numbers are increasingly in widespread usage; over 350 million people globally have adopted them.
VoIP business phone numbers offer several advantages compared to traditional landlines, such as cost savings of up to 90% for small businesses and the ability to make international calls, use call screening, and call transferring technologies with just an internet connection.
Some of the advantages virtual phone numbers allow are:
- Increased privacy: Virtual phone numbers allow you to maintain privacy by keeping your personal phone number separate from your business or professional contacts.
- Global accessibility: Virtual phone numbers can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, making them ideal for international business.
- Cost-effective: Virtual phone numbers can be much cheaper than traditional phone lines as they don't require any hardware or infrastructure, making them ideal for small businesses and startups with limited budgets.
- Flexibility and portability: Virtual phone numbers can be easily configured to forward calls and messages to different devices, allowing you to stay connected even when you're on the move.
- Professional image: Using virtual phone numbers can create a professional image for your business, making it easier to establish credibility with clients and customers.
5 Best Virtual Number Apps for your Business
We have compiled an analysis of five virtual phone services, ordered from highest to lowest in regard to price, functionality, and integrations. It aims to provide a comprehensive review for those seeking help in simplifying their business communications.
Here are the five best virtual phone apps to use in 2023:
Limephone is a communication service that provides accessible and efficient solutions to global communication for business owners. The platform offers multiple local virtual numbers, accessible through mobile, desktop, and browser apps. The service features internal threads, contact notes, and call recordings that streamline communication for teams.
Limephone also integrates with popular platforms like Slack, HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier, and Google Contacts.
- HD Quality Calls: LimePhone provides crystal clear calls via the nation's premium networks, ensuring that businesses can communicate with their customers effectively.
- Number Transfer: Businesses can keep their existing numbers and benefit from lower call rates, eliminating the need for a complete overhaul of their communication systems.
- No extra overhead: LimePhone's fully self-serve platform ensures that prices are kept as low as possible without the need for additional salespeople or support staff.
- Click to Call: With the ability to receive calls from web and meeting links, businesses can be contacted from anywhere, at any time.
- Advanced routing: Businesses can set up random or simultaneous dialing sequences to ensure that calls are answered quickly and efficiently.
- Receive calls on the web: The ability to receive incoming calls directly on a web browser from anywhere ensures that users never miss an important call.
- Add or remove users: The admin dashboard makes it easy to add and organize users, ensuring that communication channels are always kept up-to-date.
- Custom caller id: Users can choose the number they want their customers to see when they call, ensuring that their branding is always consistent.
- Voicemail transcription: The ability to receive a transcribed email of voicemail messages makes it easy to keep track of important information.
- Scheduled text messages: The ability to schedule one-time and recurring text messages makes it easy to stay on top of communication with customers.
- The Starter plan cost is $9.99 per user per month.
- The Team plan subscription costs $14.99 per user per month.
- Customization options are available for large-scale Enterprise plans.
2. Google Voice
Google Voice is a popular business solution that complements the G Suite of tools. It is Google’s answer to the business phone service market, hosting many impressive features.
Google Voice offers a free personal phone number, but businesses must pay a minimum of $10 per user per month. An additional fee of $6 per user per month is required for an active Google Workspace account.
Additionally, Google Voice does not provide toll-free numbers or a distinction between personal and secondary phone calls.
- Free Phone Number: Google Voice provides users with a free phone number that can be used for calls, texts, and voicemails. This number can be used on any device, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- Call Forwarding: Google Voice allows users to forward calls to any phone number they choose. This feature is particularly useful for people who have multiple phone numbers or who want to route calls to a specific device.
- Voicemail Transcription: Google Voice can transcribe voicemail messages into text, making it easier for users to read and respond to messages.
- Spam Filtering: Google Voice includes spam filtering to help users avoid unwanted calls and texts.
- International Calls: Google Voice allows users to make international calls at low rates.
- Group Texting: Google Voice supports group texting, allowing users to send messages to multiple contacts at once.
- Call Recording: Google Voice can record calls, making it a useful tool for business or personal use.
- Integration with Google Apps: Google Voice integrates with other Google apps, including Gmail and Google Calendar, making it easy to manage communication across different platforms.
- Custom Greetings: Google Voice allows users to record custom greetings for voicemail messages, giving them more control over their communication.
- Call Screening: Google Voice can screen calls, giving users the option to answer or send calls to voicemail based on who is calling.
- The cost for the Starter plan is $10 per user per month.
- The subscription fee for the Standard plan is $20 per user per month.
- The cost for the Premier plan is $30 per user per month.
- There is an additional fee of $6 per user per month for Google Workspace.
Grasshopper is a VoIP provider that has been operating for many years. It offers users a choice of virtual business phone number plans and can help to reduce costs.
Grasshopper's features are limited when compared to other providers discussed in this article. Although they offer extras such as auto-replies, their capabilities are not complete; for instance, auto-replies only go out to first-time callers and not whenever someone reaches out via calls or texts.
Limitations in phone numbers (max of 5 on the highest plan without additional fees) and lack of integration capabilities might become a problem for businesses as they grow, and there is an extra cost associated with shared responsibility for incoming calls ($10 per month) on their platform.
- Multiple Phone Numbers: Users can choose a local or toll-free phone number for their business and add extensions for team members or departments.
- Call Forwarding: Grasshopper allows users to forward calls to any phone number or device, including mobile phones, desk phones, and laptops.
- Voicemail: Users can set up personalized voicemail greetings and receive voicemail messages as email attachments.
- Call Screening: The system allows users to screen incoming calls and choose whether to answer or send to voicemail.
- Business Texting: Users can send and receive SMS messages from their business number using the Grasshopper app or web interface.
- Conference Calling: The system allows users to host conference calls with up to 10 participants.
- Call Recording: Grasshopper provides call recording and playback for quality assurance and training purposes.
- Auto-Attendant: Users can set up an automated attendant (IVR) to handle incoming calls and provide callers with menu options.
- Mobile App: The Grasshopper mobile app allows users to manage their business phone system from their smartphone.
- Integrations: Grasshopper integrates with popular business tools like Zapier, Slack, and Hubspot.
- The Solo plan costs $26 per account per month.
- The Partner plan is priced at $44 per account, per month.
- The Small Business plan costs $80 per account, per month.
- There is an option to get a custom quote for a personalized plan.
Nextiva specializes in video calls and screen sharing. This communication platform is designed for businesses such as IT and e-commerce, and it offers 10-digit and toll-free numbers. Integrations with popular platforms like Salesforce, Zen desk, and CRM are available on higher-tier plans.
- Auto Attendant: Nextiva's auto attendant feature lets you create custom greetings and menu options for incoming calls, directing them to the appropriate person or department.
- Unlimited Calling: Nextiva offers unlimited calling within the US and Canada, allowing businesses to make as many calls as they need without incurring additional charges.
- Advanced Call Management: Nextiva provides features such as call forwarding, call hold, call transfer, and call park, making it easy to manage incoming calls.
- Mobile App: Nextiva's mobile app allows you to make and receive calls, send texts, and access your voicemail from your smartphone or tablet.
- Team Collaboration: Nextiva provides tools for team collaboration, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and screen sharing.
- Voicemail-to-Email: Nextiva's voicemail-to-email feature automatically sends your voicemail messages to your email inbox, making it easy to keep track of messages when you're not available to answer the phone.
- Integration: Nextiva integrates with a variety of popular business applications, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace, allowing you to manage your business phone system alongside other tools you already use.
- Analytics and Reporting: Nextiva provides analytics and reporting tools that allow you to track call volume, call duration, and other metrics, giving you insights into your business's communication needs.
- The price for the Essential plan is $17.96 per user per month*.
- The cost for the Professional plan is $21.71 per user per month*.
- The Enterprise Plan pricing is $29.21 per user per month*.
- These prices apply to teams with between 1 and 4 users.
Ooma's VoIP mobile app was developed for small businesses, offering inbound and outbound calling at no charge in North America and Mexico. Additionally, extension dialing and call forwarding functions are included for all users.
Ooma may prove restrictive for businesses that reach a certain size. The lack of analytics may make it hard to measure activity on the second phone number. Upgrading is necessary to access their desktop app, which allows users to call and text from their computer. Text messaging requires a higher-tier plan payment. Further upgrades are necessary for voicemail transcriptions or call recording software.
- Unlimited calling: Ooma offers unlimited calling within the US, Canada, and Mexico, which means you can make as many calls as you want without worrying about extra charges.
- Virtual receptionist: This feature allows you to create a customized greeting for your callers and direct them to the appropriate person or department.
- Caller ID: This feature allows you to see the name and number of incoming callers so you can decide whether or not to answer.
- 911 calling: Ooma allows you to make emergency calls to 911.
- Mobile app: With the Ooma mobile app, you can make and receive calls from your smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device.
- Conference calling: This feature allows you to host a conference call with multiple participants.
- Virtual faxing: With Ooma's virtual faxing, you can send and receive faxes from your computer or mobile device without a fax machine.
- Keep your existing phone number: You can transfer your existing phone number to Ooma so you can keep the same phone number when you switch to Ooma.
- Advanced features: Ooma also offers advanced features like call recording, ring groups, and integration with popular business apps like Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and G Suite.
- The cost of Ooma Office is $19.95 per user per month.
- The cost of Ooma Office Pro is $24.95 per user per month.
- The Ooma Pro Plus plan costs $29.95 per user per month.
Things You Should Consider
Before you choose your virtual phone solution, there are a few points to consider. Each of the options discussed above has its own set of merits and demerits. Some are catered towards personal use, startups, and small businesses while others are geared toward large-scale corporate use. Some of these provide 24/7 customer support while others provide hands-on technical assistance.
Keep in mind that your decision should be the one best suited for your business. Take stock of what your requirements are and keep the following criteria in mind:
- Features: Look for a virtual phone service that provides the features you need, such as call forwarding, voicemail, auto-attendant, call recording, conference calling, and texting.
- Pricing: Compare pricing plans of different virtual phone services to determine which one offers the best value for money. Make sure to check for any hidden fees or additional costs.
- Ease of use: The virtual phone service you choose should be easy to set up and use, with an intuitive user interface.
- Reliability: Look for virtual phone service with a reliable network and uptime guarantees to ensure that you don't miss any important calls or experience downtime.
- Customer support: Make sure the virtual phone service you choose has responsive customer support available to help you troubleshoot any issues.
- Integrations: Consider if the virtual phone service integrates with other business tools you use, such as CRM software or project management tools.
- Scalability: Choose a virtual phone service that can grow with your business and accommodate more users and features as needed.
- Security: Look for a virtual phone service that uses encryption and other security measures to protect your communications and data.
Consider these factors carefully and weigh the pros against the cons before making your decision.
- What is a VoIP?
- VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that enables voice communication over the internet, allowing users to make phone calls and conduct video conferences without the need for traditional phone lines. It converts audio signals into digital data that can be transmitted over the internet, providing a cost-effective and flexible alternative to traditional phone systems.
- Can I only make calls to other virtual phone numbers?
- You can make calls to any phone number using a virtual phone number. However, international calls may be limited according to the vendor and package.
- What are the advantages of VoIP phones over traditional landlines?
- VoIP phones offer cost savings, flexibility, advanced features, scalability, and integration with other communication and collaboration tools, making them an ideal choice for businesses looking to modernize their communication channels and improve efficiency over traditional landlines which lack these benefits. They can be used from anywhere with an internet connection and offer a range of advanced features such as call forwarding, voicemail transcription, and video conferencing.
- Can I make 911 calls?
- It depends on the specific virtual phone number provider and the regulations in your country or region, but in general, most virtual phone number providers do not support emergency services such as 911 or 112.
- Are Virtual Numbers secure?
- Virtual numbers can be secure if proper security measures are taken such as using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and encryption. However, if not protected, virtual numbers can be vulnerable to cyber threats such as hacking and phishing. To stay secure, it is important to choose a trusted virtual number provider and follow cybersecurity best practices.
LimePhone: A Simple Yet Superior Solution
At Limephone, we offer a range of transparent price plans, features, and integrative options that provide value for our customers. We are always working to expand our offerings to create better experiences.
Limephone offers a seven-day free trial that enables you to test out their calls and texts. You can also request a demo to find out why so many businesses choose Limephone as their go-to provider.