I get asked “How do OFS make phone calls to the US?” all the time!
Recently, I got this email:
Can you put out something on how to allow Filipino VA to make calls to the US and to answer calls from the US (without incurring calling fees ideally)?
To answer that question, the first thing you need to do is figure out why you need phone service to begin with.
Do you need a phone service so your OFS can make and receive calls for you or just make calls? Do you want these calls to come from your number?
Or do you need a phone service for your customer support or outbound cold-calling team?
These questions are important because they will determine the phone service you’ll need.
If you are looking to have your OFS make calls, there are simple services like Skype and Viber.
Skype provides a very simple solution as it provides two services: Skype to Phone and Skype Number.
Skype to Phone allows a Skype account to call cellphone and landline numbers. For US-only subscriptions (calling US and US Territory numbers), it’s priced at $2.99 per month. There’s also a North American subscription that can call US and Canadian numbers, as well as subscriptions for making calls to other countries (rates vary).
Skype allows you to also get a local phone number, which can be set as the Caller ID number. Skype Number can also receive calls from regular phones. Skype Number has a separate fee from Skype to Phone.
Viber has a cheap Viber Out feature that allows a Viber account to make calls. The downside is, unlike Skype, you cannot get a different number than the one registered.
When making Viber Out calls, the call recipient will see the phone number associated with the Viber account or “Private Caller.” This means a phone call from a Philippine-registered Viber account may get blocked for being an international call or because it’s a private caller.
For customer support, you’d want a more robust phone service with some of these features:
- Multiple users
- IVR (interactive voice response)
- Custom Greetings
- Call Forwarding
- Call Transfers
- Simultaneous call handling
- Business Texting (SMS)
- Virtual Fax
We searched for phone services with some of these features and polled our Facebook jobseeker group to know what phone services would work in the Philippines. These are the ones they recommended, but you still need to do your own research to figure out which one best suits your needs.
- RingCentral – https://www.ringcentral.com/office/plansandpricing.html#office
- Vonage – https://www.vonage.com.ph/unified-communications/
- OpenPhone – https://www.openphone.com/product/calling
- GoTo – https://www.goto.com/pricing/connect
- Linkedphone – https://linkedphone.com/pricing/
- Zoom Phone – https://explore.zoom.us/en/products/zoom-phone/
- Cloud Talk – https://www.cloudtalk.io/call-center-software
- Google Voice – voice.google.com
- Grasshopper – https://signup.grasshopper.com/plans
Because these are all business phones; they will have fees. People often ask me for a free phone service. I don’t have one and you don’t want one. Free (in this case) probably means unreliable.
What phone service are you using with your OFS?
Is there something you recommend or don’t recommend?
Let me know.
Agree with you completely John. My VAs use RingCentral to answer the phone and make calls. I’m pretty pleased with it. Not very expensive.
My VA uses Ooma office. It works very well. It’s about $30 a month with taxes with unlimited calling to the US and Canada. It includes a fax line with a different phone number, texting, voice mail, and zoom-like conference service that I use. She can use it from her computer or with a VOIP phone. My wife and I spent time with her when we were in the Philippines last month, and we gave her a phone to use, but she can make calls from her computer.
I tried MagicJack before, but they shut me down because my VA was making too many calls, so I don’t recommend it.
Thank you for this! I’ll add it to my update email