What is a Virtual Number?
Virtual Numbers are also referred to as dedicated numbers or long codes, they look like a regular mobile/cell number and are used to send SMS from, receive SMS, receive MMS or have inbound calls forwarded from. With a VN, recipients identify your message immediately, they can reply or just text-in anytime, and now if they call it, the call is forwarded to a voice service of your choice.
What Type of Virtual Number Should I Buy?
There are 2 types of numbers available for purchase – Standard Virtual Numbers and Call Forwarding Virtual Numbers.
Standard VNs allow you to send SMS and receive both SMS and MMS.
Call Forward Virtual Numbers (CFVN) have sending/receiving SMS capabilities only and allow you to forward calls made to this number, to a landline or mobile/cell number of your choice.
NOTE: CFVNs are currently Australian numbers only.
Both types allow you to set up Keyword and Auto Reply options.
If you are happy to simply send SMS and receive SMS/MMS, a standard Virtual Number should be your choice. On the other hand, if you prefer to give your recipients the ability to text in and call you on the same number, you should purchase a Call Forward Virtual Number.
How do Virtual Numbers work?
Virtual numbers are exclusively assigned and managed from your touchSMS account. Once approved and activated, you will be able to send individual or bulk SMS from this number and receive inbound SMS or replies to your messages back into the platform.
If your customers or staff elect to call rather than reply to your message, a CFVN will also give you the ability to forward calls to this number to a landline or mobile/cell number.
Inbound SMS or replies are visible in your touchSMS Web Inbox and SMS Chat, along with a notification sent to your email so you’ll never miss a text in. Opt to “Allow” touchSMS browser notifications to receive prompts from Chrome when you receive inbound also.
How virtual numbers can help your business
SMS sent from the same number creates familiarity, generates credibility and makes you more accessible to your customers and staff. All communications will appear in the same thread on the recipient’s phone.
Customers can initiate communications
With virtual numbers, your customers and staff can initiate the conversation by sending you an SMS or MMS. You can advertise your virtual number, allowing your customers and staff to reach you at any time via SMS.
Keyword or Auto Reply Automation
You can set up multiple keywords with customised responses. Each time your customer ‘texts in’ a keyword the system will send your automated response immediately. Set up an Auto Reply, to send the same message in reply to any message sent to your number.
Receive picture or multi-media messages from your customers or staff using a standard Virtual Number. Inbound MMS will appear in your SMS Chat thread and Web Inbox for download.
How you can use your Virtual Number
Build your Database
Using your virtual number, allow your customers to opt-in to receive updates and special offers. Advertise your number in marketing collateral or online and watch your database grow.
SMS Marketing Campaigns
Send bulk, personalised SMS marketing campaigns. Encourage customers to text in a keyword, which can trigger an automated response.
Bulk Alerts & Notifications
Send updates, notifications and alerts using a single number your customers, staff or community can identify and trust.
Feedback & Surveys
Follow up with a survey to your customers and allow them to reply directly to your virtual number. Set up SMS keywords to handle specific responses or an Auto Reply message to thank them for their submission.
Keep track of appointment confirmations, rescheduling or cancellations and reduce no-shows by sending appointment and booking reminders.