Step-by-step guide to setting up a virtual phone system

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Virtual phones aren’t just for large-scale contact centers. A virtual phone system provides the indispensable features of an all-in-one communications system for small businesses too. Thanks to rapid implementation and affordable monthly subscriptions, the virtual phone is transforming small business communications and offering small business owners flexibility and control over their dialing lines—Ideal for customer support teams with call handling and call forwarding capabilities, remote working, and so much more. 

In this article, we’ll lay out a comprehensive guide to virtual phone services, answer virtual phone system faqs and help you set up your very own virtual business phone.


What is a virtual phone system?

A virtual phone system handles your business calls over the internet. This means that you’ll be able to make calls from any device (cell phone, laptop, computer, softphone) with your cloud phone. 

A virtual phone, as a cloud-based phone system, does more than just facilitate calls. You’ll be able to manage your incoming and outbound calls, send internet faxes, text messages, voicemail messages, and join live telephone or video meetings, whatever your location. 

Adopting a virtual phone saves businesses the hassle and costly pricing associated with setting up complicated landline phones. Instead, your virtual system acts much like a hosted website. You won’t need to maintain any hardware. Simply use the remote server for simple call management on a phone line of your choice.

Remote team using RingCentral to have online team meetings

Incoming callers will be answered by queue greeting messages or phone tree functions on your professional virtual number, and you’ll be able to pick up from your business line from any device—even your personal cell phone. 

A virtual phone is ideal for small business entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small teams in need of flexible, scalable, and inexpensive business phone options and team messaging. RingCentral MVP’s virtual phone services provide full HD VoIP solutions across all devices. With a virtual PBX system, auto-attendant, and advanced call routing capabilities, you’ll be able to forward incoming calls to your virtual business phone number.

How does a virtual phone work?

Virtual phones work by connecting calls between toll-free phone numbers and users. Powered by Voice over Internet Protocol (and your business VoIP provider), virtual phone extensions replace physical telephone networks. VoIP systems provide the same telephony functionalities as a standard landline PSTN but with added flexibility. Because virtual phones exist on the internet, users can set up VoIP to forward and direct calls from any device, whether an office phone or mobile phone.

The benefits of using a virtual phone system

There are many variations on the business phone model, but virtual phone systems offer some tremendous benefits—especially for small businesses and startups in need of flexible, scalable solutions to their call handling needs.

The benefits of using a virtual phone system
Easy to set up One of the best things about a virtual phone is how easy it is to set up. Traditional phone systems like private branch exchange (PBX) systems usually come with lengthy and expensive installation processes.

But with RingCentral as your business phone service provider, your virtual phone can be set up in minutes. You just need a high-speed internet connection.
Low cost Virtual phones are significantly cheaper than other business phone systems. You can access virtual phone systems from your business phone provider for a manageable monthly subscription fee. Plus, you won’t have hardware to maintain—meaning even more savings.
Flexible You can use your virtual phone from any internet-enabled device—iOS, Android, you name it. You won’t be limited to your desk phone, making virtual phone setups ideal for agile, remote teams, and freelancers.
Professional Virtual phone infrastructures offer the professionalism of a business phone set (complete with toll-free number and call routing capabilities) but without being weighed down.

Even though your virtual phone can be accessed from an existing phone or mobile device, each member of your team will have their own unique professional identity when using their business lines.
Collaborative Virtual phones are highly collaborative communication systems. Thanks to advanced features like SMS messaging, call recording, real-time video conferencing, and voicemail transcription, it’s so easy to collaborate with team members even if they are in dispersed locations. Team collaboration is just a click away.
RingCentral’s call function is available in different devices

RingCentral’s virtual phone service is built to support businesses with unlimited calling, VoIP phone capabilities—including business calling, virtual toll-free numbers, caller IDs—and additional features like text messaging, faxing, HD video online meetings, and call analytics and reporting. 

With RingCentral, you’ll be able to build a national or local presence with virtual phone numbers and use your business telephone numbers anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

How to set up your virtual phone

Ready to set up your very own virtual phone?

That’s great news. You won’t regret it. With RingCentral, you can even integrate virtual phone services with your custom apps and existing business applications like Salesforce, Box, Google for Work, Microsoft 365, or your existing CRM. All without sacrificing call quality. 
Here’s how to get started.
Employee calling their manager using a using RingCentral

Step 1: Select a business phone plan & phone number

Once you’ve chosen a business phone plan, it’s time to select a phone number. With RingCentral, this is very simple.
  • Log in to your RingCentral account. 
  • Navigate to phone system.
  • Select phone numbers on the sidebar.
  • Navigate to the assigned tab.
  • Select add number and select the relevant country. 
  • Select local number, toll-free, or vanity number, as applicable.
  • Select a number from the list and confirm by clicking add numbers.

Step 2: Manage your phone extensions

Next, it’s time to manage all of your phone extensions. You’ll want to assign extensions to your team members so that they can receive inbound phone calls and forward calls to their colleagues. Once you’ve set up your business phone number in your RingCentral account, simply assign your new number to one of the following, then click next.
  • Auto-receptionist
  • Extension 
  • RingCentral Audio Conferencing
  • RingCentral Meetings
At this stage, you can also start to route calls according to your individual preferences. This is a great way to manage call handling while creating a highly professional customer support experience for your callers. 
You may wish to set up a voicemail or—even better—an interactive voice response (IVR) to help callers select the department or person they want to speak to by selecting a number on their keypad call menu. 
Alternatively, call queuing is another excellent option—especially if you’re expecting to receive calls on mass.
Using intelligent routing with virtual phone systems to manage inbound calls

Step 3: Record a phone greeting

Last but not least, record your custom greetings. This is what incoming callers will hear when they dial your business line. With RingCentral, you can set up your very own auto-attendant. RingCentral Auto-Receptionist is a virtual receptionist service that greets your callers and routes them directly to your employees on any phone anywhere in the world.

Step 4: Start receiving calls

You’re all ready to go. You can connect to your line via a desk phone, mobile app, desktop app, or web browser from any area code, anywhere in the world, for affordable and reliable international calling. In fact, you can activate your RingCentral virtual phone from any of over 100 countries, including the US and Canada.

Your virtual phone is just seconds away

Your phone system should make running your business easier. With RingCentral, setting up your virtual phone system for your business is super easy. In fact, your new virtual phone line is just a few seconds away. Virtual phone systems cost very little and provide small companies with agility, flexibility, and scalability. Virtual phones allow small businesses and startups to meet all their business needs.

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