How Can Your Business Benefit From the PSTN Switch Off? The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is the system of analogue lines that has been pow...
The globe really is incredibly small now! Remote working is something that we have all had a taste of and businesses are looking at more efficient ways to operate as well as expand their customer base. One of the ways to expand your customer base is to uncover a global presence, however, that global presence does not need to be physical. Whilst geographically you may not be in the country you want to deal with, you can have a virtual presence. How? Well, international phone numbers allow any business to compete in any market, worldwide. In the past, consumers would know from your phone number that geographically and physically you had no presence in their region. But now anything is possible with the ability for businesses to buy and operate via local numbers digitally.
Digital technology allows businesses to link their incoming and outgoing voice calls via the internet, rather than the PSTN. There are numerous advantages to digital communications at a local level and one of the benefits on top of this is access to international numbers.
A virtual international number adopts the local numbering format of an overseas country or city i.e. a local number in the chosen country you wish to do business. This allows companies to create a presence in many countries without ever leaving the office. Utilising an international number, businesses can appear to have a presence in any country of their choosing. This means international numbers are a fantastic tool for virtual global expansion.
There are three categories of international numbers available:
In-Country Local Numbers
In-country local geographic numbers are exactly like the local numbers of the country or city you’re targeting. Calls are charged at the same rate as a local number, which means consumers won’t know that you may be picking their call up in another country.
Achieve instant presence in over 145 countries and 7,500 cities across the globe with an in-country local number. Answer calls from the country you are based or switch to any other destination seamlessly using a cloud-based call management platform.
Ideal for global call centres as well as any business that wants to operate in multiple countries, an in-country local number is a cost-effective way to achieve a global presence without setting up international offices.
International Toll-Free Numbers (ITFN)
ITFNs adopt the structure of your target country’s toll-free numbers. This means your number will look and perform just like a local toll-free number no matter where you are based geographically and as such, consumers won’t be charged.
Available in over 100 countries, your calls can be answered in either the country of origin or switched to any alternative destination seamlessly using a cloud-based management platform.
Universal International Freephone Numbers (UIFN)
Just like international toll-free numbers, UIFNs are also free to call. Unlike ITFNs, UIFNs are not country-specific, which makes them excellent for businesses looking to establish themselves in various countries simultaneously. Universal International Freephone numbers are perfect for businesses wanting to show a global presence.
Use one toll-free number across multiple campaigns in multiple countries. As its name suggests, a UIFN is free for callers to use no matter where they are located. A universal freephone option allows you to use one global toll-free number rather than having to set up a separate number for each country. You can allocate a unique number that is the same in the 40 countries that support universal freephone activation.
Using the “00800” prefix, your UIFN can be used across all your international marketing collateral.
The number category which best suits your business will vary dependent on your business’s particular requirements and outcomes. If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness overseas by getting international customers to think they are calling a local office or just wanting to dominate the globe, an international phone number is for you.
In-country local numbers are ideal for multilingual/global call centres and businesses that want to operate in numerous countries – without having to pay the overheads associated with setting up additional offices.
International toll-free numbers are an effective way to attract customers to contact your business via a free call option. The number looks and behaves just like a local toll-free number giving the impression that you’re operating locally, increasing the number of inbound calls by assuring consumers they won’t be charged.
You want your international customers to know they are calling a trustworthy, freephone number, and you want a single number that can be used across multiple countries, then Universal freephone numbers are for you.
So, if your business is looking for global domination or a subtle move into an international region then one of the international phone number choices will be for you.
They are the perfect way to expand operations utilising the digital realm at a much lower cost than having to set up in a new geographical location.
FYI as a side note. Here are some national and international numbers to keep in mind if you need information or help in the UK.
1: 123 (Speaking Clock)
Ninety-one years ago, BT launched their speaking clock service.
Most modern phones display the time. But, if your screen’s broken, and you desperately need to know the time, just dial 123 and voila – a robotic voice will tell you the exact time.
Just remember, the talking clock service isn’t free. In fact, it costs anywhere from 39p per minute depending on your provider.
2: 141/1470 (Withhold/Provide Identity)
As every prank caller knows, dialling 141 before making a call will withhold your identity on a call-by-call basis. This means your number will be displayed as “unknown” to the person you call, even if they dial 1471.
If you’ve chosen to permanently withhold your identity, dialling 1470 will allow whoever you’re calling to see your number on a call-by-call basis.
3: 1471 (Reveal Identity of Last Caller – Only Available on Some Networks)
As everyone who’s received a prank call knows, dialling 1471 will tell you the number of the last person who called (unless they’ve chosen to withhold it). If you dial 3 while on the line to 1471 you will place a call to the last number that phoned you.
4: 999 (Emergency Number)
The world’s oldest emergency telephone number, 999 was first introduced in London in 1937. Dialling 999 will take you through to one of the following emergency control centres: police, ambulance, fire or coastguard.
Additional services can also be reached via the number. These include lifeboat, mountain rescue, lowland rescue, cave rescue, moorland search and rescue, quicksand search and rescue, mine rescue and bomb disposal.
If you have a speech or hearing impediment, you can sign up to the emergency SMS service. To do this, text “register” to 999 and follow the instructions.
5: 999 + 55 (Silent Solution)
Here’s one many of you may not be aware of.
In certain situations, a 999 call will be required, but the caller may not be able to speak – perhaps because doing so will put either themselves or someone else in danger. But staying silent on a 999 call does not mean someone will not come to your aid.
Unfortunately, 999 responders will not automatically respond to a silent call. To make it clear you need assistance when talking could worsen the situation, you need to enter 55 when prompted which will route the call to the police.
6: 101 (Police Non-Emergency Number)
101 is the national non-emergency police phone number. You can use 101 when you need the police but not an emergency response. As such, use 101 if you’ve had a minor traffic accident, for vandalised property, if your car has been stolen, if you suspect someone of drug dealing, if you’ve witnessed a crime, if you’ve seen a missing person or if you want to speak to a local officer.
7: 111 (NHS 24/7 Service)
NHS 111 is a free to call number for people with an urgent but not emergency health issue. The service puts callers in touch with a fully-trained adviser who can give self-care advice, connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP, book an appointment, send an ambulance and direct you to other resources.
8: 116 123 (Samaritans)
Samaritans offer a safe place to talk any time you like, on your own terms. The service was founded in 1953 in London by a vicar called Chad Varah who wanted to help people in distress but who had nowhere else to turn. More than 20,000 people volunteered for the Samaritans in 2017, and a call is made to the service every six seconds.
Calls placed to the Samaritans are not shown on phone bills.
9: 0800 1111 (Childline)
Childline is a free, private and confidential service for children in distress. Aimed at anyone under the age of 19, Childline offers a counselling service that is non-judgemental, isn’t easily surprised, gives children time, understands the issues kids face today and is open and friendly.
Calls placed to the Childline are not shown on phone bills.
10: 0800 111 999 (Gas Emergency)
Operated by SGN, the gas emergency number is a toll-free number for people who smell gas or are worried about a gas emergency. The SGN agent will ask a series of questions to ascertain the severity of the situation, before offering advice and sending help when it is required.
11: 112 (Global Emergency Number)
Different countries have different emergency numbers. This can be an issue for frequent travellers or those travelling through multiple countries. Luckily, so long as you’re travelling in one of the 127 countries which use it, you only need to remember one: 112. Handy!
Elite Group is one of the UK’s leading unified communication providers, supplying reliable and professional IT and telecoms services to organisations seeking Business Mobile, Cloud, Networking, Connectivity, and Telephony solutions.
For more information on how Elite Group can power your unified communication solutions, call us or request a quote today