Should You Use a Free Virtual Phone Number for Business Text Messaging

Virtual phone numbers offer several advantages for businesses using text messaging, including privacy for small business owners and independent contractors who want to separate personal and professional communications. However, some customers may perceive the use of virtual numbers as untrustworthy and raise concerns about the legitimacy and safety of their personal information. Additionally, the use of a virtual number can cause confusion for customers who may not recognize it as a legitimate business line, potentially leading to missed opportunities.
April 21, 2023
Should You Use a Free Virtual Phone Number for Business Text Messaging

What is a virtual number?

Virtual phone numbers or virtual text-only phone numbers are telephone numbers that are not directly tied to a physical phone or landline. Instead, they operate strictly through a cloud-based platform and can be managed through software. Virtual phone numbers are cost effective and provide a level of privacy when communicating with others as the number may not be associated with a physical name or a location. 

What are the advantages of using a virtual phone number for text messaging?

Using a virtual phone number for text messaging can have several advantages for businesses. One benefit of using a virtual phone number for texting is that it provides a level of privacy for the business sending the text message. This is particularly helpful for independent contractors or small business owners who want to keep their personal number private while separating their personal and professional communications, especially if they don't have an office phone number.

However, it's important to note that texting with a virtual phone number doesn't necessarily make you completely anonymous. While the virtual phone number may not be directly linked to your personal information, it can still be traced back to you through various means such as your IP address, usage patterns, or through the service provider.

Additionally, virtual phone numbers are cloud-based and can be managed from anywhere, providing business owners with flexibility and mobility. Finally, virtual phone numbers can be cost-effective as they do not require additional hardware or software and can often be obtained for free or at a low cost.

Are there any disadvantages of using a virtual text only phone number for business text messaging?

Although using a text-only number has many benefits, there are also some significant disadvantages to using a virtual text-only phone number for text messaging, including:

  1. Trust issues: Customers may perceive businesses that use virtual numbers not trustworthy, which could affect their willingness to engage in conversation.
  2. Security concerns: Using a virtual number can raise security concerns for customers who may be unsure about the legitimacy of the business or the safety of their personal information.
  3. Confusion: Customers may not recognize the virtual number or be unsure if it is a legitimate business line, leading to confusion and possibly missed opportunities.
  4. Challenging to use: While texting short messages back and forth with friends and family is a great way to keep in touch, it may not be ideal if you need to text with many customers throughout the day using your smartphone app. Typing on a smartphone can be challenging for many people compared to typing on a computer.
  5. Limited functionality: Using virtual text-only phone numbers may not be ideal for business use due to their inability to make voice calls and restricted access for only one person.
  6. Dependence on technology: Businesses that rely on virtual numbers for communication may face security risks, especially if they use free texting services that monetize through ads and selling customer information.
  7. Limited availability: Some virtual number providers may not offer coverage in certain areas or may have limited compatibility with mobile carriers, which could limit a business's ability to communicate with some customers.
  8. Issue with number portability: While some providers may allow you to take your phone number to another provider, not all of them offer this feature. Therefore, it's important to research and choose a provider that offers number portability if this is something that's important to you. However, keep in mind that there may be fees or restrictions associated with porting your number, so it's crucial to review your provider's terms and conditions before making any changes.

How to set up a free virtual phone number for text messaging

Setting up a free virtual phone number for text messaging is a relatively simple process. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose a free virtual phone number provider: There are many free virtual phone number providers available, such as Google Voice or Talkatone. Choose one that suits your needs and sign up for an account.
  2. Verify your account: After signing up, you may need to verify your account by entering a OTP code sent to your mobile phone number.
  3. Choose a virtual phone number: Once your account is verified, you can choose a virtual phone number. Most providers allow you to select a phone number from a list of available numbers. Choosing an area code that matches your location would be the most ideal.
  4. Download the app: You must download the app to your smartphone or computer to send and receive text messages using your virtual phone number.
  5. Start texting: After setting up your virtual phone number, texting becomes just as easy as it is with a regular phone number. Instead of using your phone's native text messaging app, all you need to do is utilize the downloaded app. Additionally, some providers offer features such as free or cheap calls and voicemail services.

It's important to note that while free virtual phone numbers are a convenient option, they may come with some limitations, such as limited features, advertisements, and potential privacy concerns. It's important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to use a free virtual phone number for your business.

Should I text customers from my personal number?

Texting customers from a personal phone is strongly discouraged as it blurs the line between your personal and professional life and may make it difficult to maintain appropriate boundaries. Consumers today often communicate during non-traditional hours due to their limited personal time. If you use your personal phone to communicate with customers, you may receive text messages and phone calls during non-traditional hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. This could lead to regret about your decision to use your personal phone for business purposes.

Additionally, using your personal number for business communications can potentially put your personal information at risk. It is better to use a separate business number or a business text messaging service to communicate with customers. This allows you to maintain a professional image and protect your privacy.

Additional considerations for texting using a virtual phone numbers

When it comes to using virtual phone numbers for texting, there are additional considerations beyond just the advantages and disadvantages. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Fees and limitations for free plans: While many virtual phone number providers offer free plans, it's important to read the fine print to understand any limitations or fees associated with using the service. For example, free plans may have limits on the number of texts you can send and receive each month or may include personalized ads based on your text message conversations.
  2. User Experience: Smaller development teams or individuals may lack the same resources and experience as larger developers, impacting the quality and usability of their apps. Additionally, apps designed exclusively for use on mobile devices can be challenging to use due to the limited functionality of a smartphone keyboard, which can result in slower message typing and potential errors from autocorrect features. The smaller screen size of a smartphone can also make reading and composing longer messages difficult, which is often more convenient on a larger computer screen.
  3. Customer service and support: As with any service, it's important to consider the level of customer service and support provided by the virtual phone number provider. Look for providers with responsive customer support teams that can help you troubleshoot issues or answer questions.

By considering these additional factors, you can ensure that you choose the right virtual phone number provider for your business's text messaging needs.

Is there a better option over using a virtual number for texting with customers?

If you already have a business phone number through a landline or VoIP phone service provider, there is a much better option available for your business. Texting from a computer using your existing business phone number. When you register for a business text messaging service, you can enable your business number for texting and use it to interact with your customers via text messages from your computer. This approach helps you maintain consistency in your communication channels and ensures a more professional and reliable means of communication with your customers. With the advanced features of a business texting service, like scheduling messages, automated replies, and shared inboxes, you can enhance your customer engagement and experience.

Business text messaging service for landlines and VoIP numbers

Using a business text messaging service for landlines and VoIP numbers can be a better option for businesses as it enables them to send and receive text messages through their current landline or VoIP phone numbers. This service enables businesses to communicate with their customers via text messages without having to share a personal mobile number or purchase a separate virtual number.

Text from computer to cell phone

Business texting services typically provide web applications that enable you to send and receive text messages from your business number using a computer. This can be convenient for businesses that want to manage their text messaging communications from a centralized platform, or for individuals who prefer typing on a keyboard rather than a smartphone. You can also use a texting service to send and receive messages using your business number on-the-go by downloading an app on your smartphone.

What are the advantages of using a business text messaging service

Using a business SMS text messaging service such as Texty Pro to text with customers using your landline or VoIP number can provide several advantages for businesses, including:

  1. Professionalism: Using a business phone number for texting can add an element of professionalism to customer communications. Customers may be more likely to view text messages from a business number they recognize as official and reliable, rather than a personal or unknown number.
  2. Convenience: Many people prefer texting over phone calls or email, and using a business text messaging service allows businesses to communicate with customers through a channel they are comfortable with.
  3. Efficiency: Texting can often be quicker and more efficient than phone or email communication. Businesses can quickly send and receive important information or updates to customers without the need for lengthy conversations.
  4. Automation: A business texting service offers auto-reply features that can be very efficient for businesses. With this feature, businesses can set up automated messages that are sent as replies to incoming texts. For example, a business could set up an auto-reply message that is sent to customers when they text outside of business hours. The auto-reply message could provide the customer with useful information, such as when the business will be open next or provide a link to the business's website. Another use of auto-reply is greet both new and existing customers automatically using different greeting messages to acknowledge receipt of the customer's message and to let them know that their request or issue has been received and is being addressed. This can help customers feel reassured that their message has been received and will be acted upon.
  5. Text message scheduling: This feature allows businesses to compose and schedule text messages to be sent at a specific time and date in the future.
    This can be useful in a number of ways. For example, a business might use this feature to schedule a reminder message for an appointment or event, or to send a promotional message at a specific time when they know their customers are more likely to be engaged.
    Scheduling messages can also help businesses to maintain consistency and save time. Rather than manually sending messages at specific times throughout the day, businesses can schedule all of their messages in advance and then focus on other tasks. This can help to streamline workflows and improve overall efficiency.
  6. Collaboration: Business text messaging services like Texty Pro offer a shared inbox feature, which allows multiple users to access and respond to messages sent to a single phone number. This is particularly useful for businesses with a team of customer service representatives or sales staff who need to collaborate to provide efficient and effective customer support. Personal signatures can be added to all outgoing texts in order to prevent confusion among customers when texting with other team members. With a shared inbox, all team members can view the conversation history and ensure that each customer inquiry is addressed promptly and professionally.
  7. Organization: Using a business text messaging service can also help businesses keep track of customer communications in a more organized manner. Messages can be archived and easily searchable, making it easier for businesses to reference past conversations or customer interactions.

Are there any disadvantages of using a business text messaging service

Like any business tools, you’ll find that there are some potential disadvantages of using a business text messaging service. Here are a few: 

  1. Cost: Depending on the provider and the plan you choose, using a business text messaging service may be more expensive than using a free virtual number. Texty Pro offers flexible plans that costs as low as less than a dollar a day.
  2. Limited availability: Not all landline or VoIP phone numbers are compatible with business text messaging services. Services using VoLTE do not allow third party services to text enable their phone numbers.
  3. Learning curve: Adopting a new communication tool may necessitate significant time and effort for employee training and adaptation, unless the service is designed to be user-friendly.
  4. Potential technical issues: Like any technology that relies on cloud computing, there is a chance of encountering technical difficulties, such as system downtime or malfunctions, that may impact your ability to send or receive text messages. To ensure reliability for your business, it is important to review the customer service policies of potential services.

Can I really use my landline number for texting?

Yes, you can use your landline number for texting by signing up for a business text messaging service. This will text-enable your landline number and allow you to send and receive text messages just like you would with a mobile number. When you text from your landline number using a business texting service, the recipient will see your landline number as the sender of the text message. The message will appear on the recipient's mobile device just like any other text message, and they can respond to it as they would with any other text message. The recipient will not know that you are sending the text message from a computer or a business texting service.
With Texty Pro, registering your business line is quick and simple, allowing you to start texting with customers immediately using your landline or VoIP number. You can try it for free for 14 days with no commitment, and cancel anytime. Many reviewers have praised Texty Pro for its excellent user experience, reliable performance, and great customer service.

Conclusion: using a virtual phone number vs texting service for business use

In conclusion, while texting with a text-only number may seem like a quick and cost-effective option, it does come with its limitations and potential downsides, such as trust issues, security concerns and limited functionality.

On the other hand, using a business text messaging service for landlines and VoIP numbers has several advantages. It allows the use of existing phone numbers, shared inbox feature, and automated responses. Choosing a provider with good customer service policies ensures that the service is reliable. Therefore, it is recommended to use your landline or VoIP number for business texting instead of a virtual number to maintain a consistent level of professionalism, improve customer communication, and enhance business efficiency.

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