The digital upgrade

Why your small business needs a UK virtual phone number

Posted by Shweta Raina

A virtual phone number is a phone number that isn’t tied to a fixed UK landline. This means the same number can be used on multiple devices, including desk phones, laptops, desktop computers and mobile phones. In the telecoms world, virtual phone numbers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for large enterprises, small and medium sized businesses and individual professionals seeking an affordable, secure and reliable alternative to a UK landline phone number, and something more professional than a mobile phone number for doing business. Virtual phone numbers will play an integral role in future working environments. Not only are they going to be essential going forward, but virtual phone systems also offer a host of features and functionalities to enhance internal and external communications.For remote/hybrid small businesses, startups or freelancers, bOnline's agile VoIP phone system provides all the flexibility and features you need to communicate effectively internally and externally. Moreover, it’s affordable for micro-businesses that don’t have the budget to afford enterprise phone systems.

What can you do with a virtual phone number?

A virtual phone number enables you to stay reachable anytime, anywhere from virtually any internet-connected device. One common way you can access virtual landlines is through a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider. With a VoIP phone, you can make and receive phone calls from anywhere in the world, provided you have the right software and an internet or mobile data connection. Whether you’re working from home or you’re on the go with just your mobile phone in hand, a virtual telephone number empowers you to stay connected at all times. Moreover, virtual phone numbers offer an opportunity for less sizable organisations to leverage a range of incoming call features to level up their communications.

Why do you need a UK virtual landline phone number?

Ahead of the UK landline shutdown in 2025, it’s crucial for businesses to migrate their communications from legacy systems to a digital network, switching their landline phone numbers for their virtual counterparts. But the great switch off isn’t the only motivation you need to consider a virtual phone number sooner rather than later - there are many reasons to use a virtual number for your small business. One of the most significant is that you can work from anywhere on a range of devices - which is an increasingly important requirement in today’s globally connected world. VoIP is extremely cost effective and can help you make huge savings on local and international calls. Small businesses experience a 90% reduction in start up costs when they implement a VoIP phone system. Moreover, you can eliminate costly maintenance and hardware charges as the VoIP provider will take care of system updates for you.

What types of virtual phone numbers are there?

VoIP service providers typically offer several different types of virtual phone numbers, including:

  • Toll-free numbers - These are UK 0800 and 0808 numbers where calls are charged to your business rather than to customers. Toll-free numbers are typically used by government services and customer services organisations.
  • Local numbers - These numbers contain specific area codes for different cities in the UK. London, for instance, uses the area code 020 whereas Birmingham uses 0121. With bOnline’s VoIP phone system, you can select from any UK number prefix and area code to establish a local presence where it matters most.
  • Mobile numbers - Phone numbers that can also receive text messages (SMS).

Why should your business use a UK landline phone number?

Having a local number allows you to establish a presence anywhere in the UK, which can help increase your reach and establish trust with your British customers. For example, choosing a London number can suggest that your company is of a certain size and credibility. Local numbers allow calls to be diverted. This is ideal if you have a remote team, as calls can be answered on any added device, whether it be a desk phone or softphone app on desktop or mobile. This means you won’t miss an important incoming call - which is great for business. In general landline numbers are more credible than mobile numbers for business and provide a level of trust and certainly when presenting your business as a professional operation.

Working remotely? Use any device anywhere!

Desktop

  • Make business calls from your computer
  • Available for Windows and macOS
  • Sync contacts from your mobile
  • One-click call audio & video meetings

Mobile

  • Superior call quality & HD voice
  • Available on iOS & Android devices
  • Powerful call controls in your hand
  • Join meetings from anywhere
  • Never miss a call

What features should a virtual landline service have?

One of the reasons virtual landline services stand out against legacy systems is the diverse range of features they provide. Alongside virtual numbers, enterprise-grade security and mobile & desktop calling, a great virtual phone system should offer a range of additional VoIP phone features to improve communications for you and your customers.

Some key features to look out for include:

  • Call forwarding
  • Call menus
  • Call queue
  • Call recording
  • Call reports
  • Custom greetings
  • Local and international numbers
  • Video calling
  • Voicemail to email

How does virtual phone call forwarding work?

With a virtual phone number, you can set up calls to be forwarded to a different device when you’re not available. If you or your team can’t be physically present at the office, you can still handle business calls effectively while leveraging all the features of your VoIP phone system on the go. With call forwarding, you and your team can continue to provide customer support, communicate with stakeholders and collaborate seamlessly wherever you might be. For small businesses and freelance professionals, call forwarding can be the difference between signing a new client or missing out simply because you couldn’t come to the phone.

How can I build a local presence in the UK with virtual phone numbers?

With a VoIP service provider like bOnline, you can choose between all the UK area codes to build your local presence where it matters most. Set up multiple local phone numbers to project a business presence throughout the UK and increase your reach. Moveover, selecting a phone number that’s memorable is a great way to stay at the forefront of your audience’s minds. One reason people have become so suspicious of outbound calls from businesses is due to the huge amount of deception and spoofing that occurs. Customers are more trusting of local numbers - which means they’re more likely to pick up the phone.

What other services should a VoIP virtual phone system offer?

A VoIP phone system should offer a range of services tailored to help businesses meet their communication needs. Nowadays, video conferencing has become the new normal when it comes to communicating and collaborating in a remote or hybrid workplace. A solution that offers video meetings, along with features like screen sharing and screen recording, can enhance your communications and help your team connect. Look out for systems that also offer integrations with essential business apps like Salesforce, Google Drive, Hubspot, Zendesk and more. Integrating your virtual phone system with the other tools you use enables you to create a “virtual office” where no one has to toggle between apps - which makes life much easier for you and your team.

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Benefits of having a UK virtual phone number

  • Establish a local presence - Most customers prefer dealing with local businesses that they trust. Having a UK virtual number allows you to establish a presence across the UK.
  • Flexibility and mobility - Calls to a virtual phone number can be answered anywhere in the world, on any internet-connected device equipped with the relevant app. This empowers teams to work remotely with the flexibility to make and receive calls no matter where they are.
  • Enhance productivity - A virtual phone system that offers features like voicemail to email, video calling and business app integrations help your team to be as productive and efficient as possible.
  • Improve customer service - With a virtual phone number, you can access a range of features to provide better customer service, such as global call forwarding, call recording, call menus, hold music and custom greetings. The flexibility of a virtual number means you can answer important incoming calls even if you’re not in the office.
  • Professionalism - Having a virtual phone number can enhance the overall image of your business. For instance, you might set up a toll-free number to give the impression of a successful, well-established company.

What are the advantages of virtual phone services for small businesses?

There are countless benefits of virtual phone services for small businesses, startups and freelancers. Not only does a virtual phone number enable you and your team to work from anywhere on any device, it also empowers you to work smarter and build better customer relationships with a range of features that were previously only available to large businesses with equally large budgets.

How can virtual phones enhance your customer relationships?

Virtual phone systems offer a range of call handling features to ensure customers have a convenient and seamless experience when contacting your business. You can set up a custom greeting and call menu to welcome and direct them to the appropriate department or team member. If you need to place them on hold for a few minutes, customers will appreciate some catchy hold music to hum along to.

How do virtual phone numbers make your business more professional?

Even if you’re just starting out, having a virtual phone number adds a degree of professionalism to your business. Customers are more likely to trust business phone numbers than businesses that use their mobile numbers to handle professional calls.