How to choose the right type of service number
Choosing the right type of service number for your business can be difficult, especially if you’re entering new countries. There are several options around, which don’t always have the same name and they all have different price tags. Which number range is used for a specific kind of service can differ per country. Plus there is usually local legislation you need to be aware of. How do you pick the right one?
Several ways to begin
There are several ways to begin to find out which service number would work best for your company and the service you want to offer. An easy one way is to start by deciding if your customers should pay (part of the costs of) for calling you. The price a consumer pays to call a number is different per type of number and can roughly be divided like this:
- Free to call:
- Toll-free (Freephone)
- UIFN (Universal International Freephone Number)
- Local/regional calling costs:
- Business (National / Non-geographic)
- Choose your own rate (per call or per minute):
- Premium numbers
As you can see, some ranges are referred to with different terms. This can vary per country. Be sure you know if the term used in a country has the same consumer price as you have in mind.
Differences between the types
As you can see, there are 2 options for both the free to call numbers and the numbers with local/regional calling costs. The most significant differences between the types are:
- Toll-free numbers usually can only be called within a country, so you need a new number for each country you enter. These numbers are the most customer-friendly for callers as they are well-known for being free to call. You can have the same UIFN number for several countries but they are more expensive and take longer to activate than toll-free numbers. Also, UIFN numbers aren't available worldwide and the number format can confuse customers as they are less often used.
- Geographic numbers are great if you want your company to have a local or regional feel as they are tied to a specific area. Business numbers give the impression of a nationwide presence and aren’t tied to a specific area. When moving to another part of the country, you won’t have to change numbers.
What do your competitors do?
Another way to determine the type of number is to do a little investigating and find out what kind of numbers your competitors use that deliver a similar service. You can easily find it online these days and it’s an easy way to see what is common in your business or in a specific country. Especially the latter is important to keep in mind; the type of numbers that are common in a specific country can be totally different in another country or much harder to obtain.
Don’t forget about local legislation
It’s important to also keep an eye on local legislation. Especially with premium numbers, there are often rules regarding the rates you are allowed to charge and for which services they can be used. Check out the websites of the national regulator to find out if these rules apply to you or if you use a service provider, make sure they are aware of this.
Ask for help
Of course, you don't have to find it all out by yourself. Yes, you are the one deciding which rate you want your customers to pay for calling you but there are several service number providers who can advise you. They know which numbers to use, where to obtain them and are happy to take all registration, activation and routing work out of your hands. This will not only save you a lot of work but very likely also save you money as they can often supply better rates as well.
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