Runner Up Essays
Name: Kaitlyn Watters
University / School: University of Florida
Major: Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
Essay Topics: What role can a virtual phone number play in helping a business expand to an international location?
A virtual phone number is a step forward in technology and its role in business, bringing worldwide clientele to the palm of your hand, without losing the local nature of small business. Both small and large companies can use this form of call forwarding service to expand the boundaries of their client base while still maintaining privacy and professionalism. This type of service allows customers to contact a company through a local or toll-free number which is then forwarded to a preferred line that may be in a different location. Virtual numbers can even be routed to several different numbers, creating a streamlined method of access for clients while maintaining productivity and efficiency for the average business. These numbers are an ideal method of creating a positive customer service experience with the most user-friendly means for the business itself.
Calling a toll-free or international number can be intimidating for a consumer to reach out to a customer service representative. Local numbers, like the ones offered by Global Call Forwarding, provide a more familiar outlet for a client to call. Maintaining local numbers allows a company to expand to new areas, while still being international, and keep a connection to a community on a deeper level. This also portrays a company as smaller and more accessible to the average person. A local business gives a personalized feel to the consumer and can make you feel like the person on the other end of the line is a neighbor, someone with likely a similar demographic, history, and even values in some cases. This helps a customer feel valued and as if their call will always be answered.
Privacy of the businessman is also a major benefit of a virtual local number. Many give out their personal number to create a sense of importance to their clients, however this can deprive the average person of their sense of privacy and protection. By giving out another number that privately routes to them, this preserves their safety while not sacrificing answering calls when based internationally. Traveling and living internationally can create an issue of the businessman being attached to their phone at all hours of the day trying to accommodate the vastly expanding consumer base. This offers an alternate route that doesn’t sacrifice the accountability and accessibility of the business.
Furthermore, the options for multiple line forwarding offered with a virtual number open up a realm of possibilities for customer help lines. A business can have one local number that directs to multiple lines at once, filtering down to the next available operator. This expedites the wait time for customer service, which is important because longer wait times are a major deterrent to making the client feel insignificant and impatient. Multiple number routing also means business can be spread to different time zones, even internationally, and still maintain a constant and open line of communication. Reaching a business no longer has to have specific narrow hours which coincide with the work day in the area of headquarters. Instead, there can be multiple call centers located across the globe in every time zone prepared to take calls and help the clients. Higher quality customer relationships help a company grow a loyal base to continue to help the company expand.
Expansion to new locations is a vital part of the growth of a company, but a virtual phone number keeps the local nature of customer interaction that can be lost with larger business. Productivity will increase exponentially, as less time handling phone calls takes place and outsourcing customer relationships shifts that focus to be on creating a large and global enterprise. Establishing an international presence becomes streamlined and digital with the utilization of call forwarding techniques, connecting business with customers on a worldwide scale and maintaining a small business type of relationship at the same time.
Learn more about the International Business Communications Scholarship