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Having a way for customers to contact you is essential for any successful business. This could be via email address, online messaging, or even your social media pages.
However, when it comes to getting an instant response, business phone numbers tend to be the most popular option. These are also the preferred channels to contact customer services for 62% of customers.
Telephone numbers play an important role in presenting your business to its audience, both in terms of features and the number itself. For example, when approaching a small business, customers want to be certain of its legitimacy and be able to talk to professionals.
Having call routing features to avoid customers being directed to voicemail or a custom number can improve the customer experience and make your business more memorable and professional in appearance.
Reasons why you need a custom mobile number
So, why do you need a custom mobile number?
1. Customers can call without fees
Using a local number allows customers with the same area code to call your business at a reduced rate.
Similarly, other special numbers with the prefix 0800 provide free calls for customers across UK networks, whether calling from a landline number or mobile phone number.
When forwarding calls onto other phones, the service provider still won’t charge the caller. This encourages customers to call your free phone service and makes it much more accessible.
2. An improved business reputation
Using a custom mobile number makes small business calls more trusted, as freephone numbers with the 0800 prefix are already established as belonging to professionals.
You can also make numbers more memorable with a gold number. The use of this sort of easy-to-remember, personalised number improves brand awareness and reputation, although they may be more pricey to secure.
3. Showcases local expertise
Local numbers with an area code in their prefix show where a business is located. This can appeal to customers who are looking for local assistance or require a company to have knowledge of the surrounding area.
There’s no point in calling to ask about a store they’re intending to visit in person if the area code is in a different county. Handy, then, that local numbers can direct customers to businesses in their area with the geographic expertise and/or availability they need.
4. Customers will reach your specialised support line
Personalised numbers for different business departments also ensure customers are immediately connected to the right person. This prevents customer service lines from being forced to deal with sales or checkout queries or having to reroute calls and leave customers on hold.
Your business can use this sort of custom number to provide tailored support that improves the customer experience.
5. Enhanced flexibility
Phone numbers with the 0800 prefix can route customer calls too, directing them to employees with relevant expertise. This provides free calling options even if redirected to other mobile numbers or landline numbers.
Special numbers can also route incoming calls and spread them evenly among available customer support representatives. This gives your business the flexibility to manage large quantities of incoming calls and minimises the number of customers sent to voicemail.
How to set up a custom landline or mobile number in the UK
So, how do you set up a custom landline or mobile number? By following these three steps:
Identify the custom number combination you want
As mentioned, your custom number combination can be used to create a more memorable number, incorporate a local area code, or include an 0800 prefix. However, your first choice of UK mobile number may not always be available.
VIP numbers, including gold or platinum numbers, use memorable number sequences, making them especially popular.
On the contrary, you may decide against a brand new number and opt for porting with your already-known, existing number instead.
All new numbers require a new SIM, which have different plans and pricing depending on your service provider. Some custom number options may even come with a free SIM card.
Gold and platinum SIM cards for VIP numbers can be expensive as they’re highly sought after. Alternatively, if you stick with your current service provider and existing number, you won’t need a brand new SIM.
Review plans from different providers
There are a range of contracts available for your custom mobile number, depending on your service provider and mobile network. Pay-as-you-go options allow you to pre-pay for the calls you make and top up as needed, charging according to your usage with a PAYG SIM. Another option is to pay monthly, purchasing a certain amount of calls according to your monthly contract.
These options don’t necessarily require a new SIM if you stay with the same service provider or an existing contract. However, if using your custom mobile number with a new mobile network or porting to a different service provider, you’ll likely need a new SIM and an authorisation code (such as a PAC code) to do this.
Your SIM will ensure incoming calls to 0800 numbers are free for callers across the UK network. On the other hand, local rates will be incurred if using local numbers.
Forward calls to a regular phone.
From here, you can build your phone management system, forwarding calls to the landline phone or mobile you want to use. Some service providers may allow you to forward calls onto multiple devices i.e. not only Apple or Android phones but also softphone computer interfaces.
Other features may also be available from your service provider to help with your inbound contact centre call management, including virtual receptionists and call recording.
Getting started with a custom mobile number in the UK
When selecting a custom number – whether to aid your small business credibility, improve accessibility to customer services, or establish yourself as a local business – there’s a lot to consider. How you hope to use your personalised number will affect the type of contract and number you choose, as well as the service provider you opt for.
Nonetheless, getting your business telephone number sorted is the first step to serving customers wherever they are across the UK network. By connecting you and your customers and enabling you to better provide them with expertise and assistance, a custom phone number will help kickstart your customer relationships.
Get your small business communications up and running by finding the right personalised number for your business.
Originally published Feb 24, 2022