Buying local phone numbers
To maximise engagement with local customers use a suitable local phone number. Where you want to target business in other areas adding a local number will increase your credibility in that area. People are more likely to answer calls from local phone numbers. If you want to target other countries you can buy overseas numbers, for example, a +33 number for France.
How does it work
Businesses usually buy either single local phone numbers or blocks of ten contiguous numbers for a monthly fee. Larger blocks are available, but when more local numbers added at a later date, they are unlikely to continue the same range.
These numbers are either added to an existing account or set up as a new account depending on several factors. The main being the choice of provider and call tariff. If you plan to use an existing provider, then adding the local numbers to that account is the best option as it minimises admin and simplifies billing. If you want to change your provider for some reason like reducing costs, then setting up a separate account will be necessary. You might choose to port your existing numbers to the new provider at a later date.
Your phone system uses rules to route calls which is critical to the efficiency of the phone system. Each local phone number is assigned to an extension, hunt group or service. The rules can vary call routing based on time and date. An example is a number allocated to a sales group would ring all extensions in the sales team during business hours but ring the support team at other times. Businesses can direct calls to interactive voice menus or professionally recorded messages depending on the business need. Hunt groups offer various strategies, including in order, random or depending on who has taken the most calls. Most of us hate talking to Interactive voice menus, but when properly designed they will give an excellent caller experience as well as business efficiencies
Routing calls to services can include conference calling or fax to email. Many companies pay for a third-party conferencing service when they have this built into their phone system. Double payment happens because users are unaware of the features offered by their system and is typical with sales focused phone system providers. To get the best out of your local phone numbers, it is better to deal with a phone company who offers ongoing support and training.
Fax to email is still relevant and even if only used occasionally is a feature of most modern phone systems. If you use a third party for fax to email, it adds another cost where using the functionality built into your phone system is already included.
Beware cold-calls and long contracts
Companies who cold call you, sell on a headline price are not interested once they have made a sale. They want you to sign a very complicated contract for sixty months or more and don’t care if you get the best solution.
Planning local phone number use
Atomik.biz will plan the best use of local phone numbers for your business and make sure you have a credible plan before you spend any money. The design of the call routing is the most critical factor and will make a huge difference in business efficiency as it means getting the best out of your staff.