International phone numbers make it easy for businesses to expand and extend services to new markets globally. But how do you use these numbers effectively so that they get in front of the right audience at the right time?
Many of our customers use their international numbers to research, test, and enter new markets. Others assign different numbers to separate distributed service centers or individuals. Some others even use it to outsource support in more cost-friendly regions.
We’ve put together a list of different business use cases for international phone numbers, so you have a place to start.
Before we get started, however, here’s a quick overview of the types of phone numbers used for international calling. Want to skip ahead? Jump to the 9 Use-Cases now.
Using International Phone Numbers for Business
International phone numbers are typically local and toll-free numbers with recognizable area codes and prefixes. This familiarity encourages locals to answer or return your calls.
And when you use virtual international numbers, you add more benefits to your international expansion plans. Virtual numbers work through the internet. In other words, you can make and receive calls using these international numbers. All you need is a VoIP-based phone number from your desired country and a stable internet connection.
Then, you can receive calls in any location by simply forwarding them to your preferred device or destination number. The best part? You don’t have to worry about building physical offices in all these different locations.
Cloud telephony is designed to help businesses operate from wherever they want without sacrificing their ability to communicate globally. And that’s where international VoIP calling comes in.
Different Types of Numbers for International Calling
Now, there are a few different types of international numbers that allow businesses to communicate across borders. Each type has its own distinct functionality but at the core of it, all number types are virtual and easy to use. Let’s look at the most common types:
1. Local phone numbers: These numbers have local area codes for their respective cities or states, and calling these numbers incurs a common local calling fee. Locals in these areas will recognize these codes as local codes. For example: New York City has the 212 and 646 codes while Dubai has 4. You can purchase local phone numbers for your target regions from any international phone service provider.
2. National numbers or non-geographic numbers: National numbers – also called shared cost numbers – are tied to specific countries but not to specific local cities or states. This similarity means that calls made to a national number also incur local calling rates.
3. International toll-free numbers (ITFNs): Country-specific toll-free numbers with 3-digit toll-free prefixes are free to call from within the respective country. Most businesses use these numbers to make it easy for their customers to call for support and assistance. Global Call Forwarding offers ITFNs from over 150 countries around the world. This way, you can pick numbers for your target countries.
9 Business Use Cases for International Phone Numbers
So, what are some successful ways to use your international phone numbers? Here are 9 common use cases we’ve seen in our 27 years of providing global numbers:
- Support Different Countries
- Establish a Local Presence in Foreign Countries
- Give Access to Individual Departments
- Advertise on Business Cards and Email Signatures
- Implement an Internal Help Desk
- Boost Localized Content ROI
- Outsource Support
- Set Up After-hours Support
- Consolidate Contact Center Operations
1. Support Different Countries
With international numbers from different countries, you open new channels of communication between your business and customers in these regions. This allows you to provide additional support in these different countries by listing contact phone numbers on your website, email communication, support documentation, and social media. And you can do this with either local or toll-free numbers.
2. Establish a Local Presence in Foreign Countries
Similarly, you can use local numbers to create a local presence in target regions and offer local customer support. Customers calling these numbers for support don’t have to pay high calling fees. Even if your business forwards calls internationally, customers still only pay local rates. Depending on the city, state, and country, local rates stay as low as 2.5 to 10 cents per minute per call.
3. Give Access to Individual Departments
By assigning individual numbers to critical departments and individuals, you can improve call management and overall productivity. For example, when you assign and share numbers to each sales and support person, customers can call them directly and get support faster. Plus, you can track these numbers to understand how customers find your business and how associated employees are performing.
4. Advertise on Business Cards and Email Signatures
You can go on to display these international numbers and individual contact numbers on your marketing materials. This lets you add an accessible and personal touch to business cards, email signatures, and other critical touch-points. Prospects coming across these channels will find a direct line to your agents, making your business more reachable.
5. Implement an Internal Help Desk
The most common use case we’ve seen recently is using international phone numbers to access internal help desks. Businesses with international teams and customers can use a global service desk hotline to help employees access additional assistance.
In this scenario, businesses have an internal technical or IT support-related help desk. And they use international numbers so employees in different regions can phone in for technical support.
6. Boost Localized Content ROI
More and more global companies now use a variety of localization strategies to increase visibility in target markets. However, it can prove difficult to track, measure, and improve localized strategies.
One way to do so is by using local phone numbers alongside country-specific campaigns. As calls come in, your teams can better determine which global strategies and campaigns are working and which need work.
You can do this for content (blog posts, product pages, social media posts) on a country or city level. For example, promote a Mexico toll-free number on your Spanish content and France toll-free number on your French content. Then, study call records to understand who’s viewing your online content more. On a smaller scale, you can use city phone numbers to see if your marketing materials are easily visible in different parts of the country.
7. Outsource Support
Another common application of international numbers is to outsource sales and support services.
Growing businesses can easily outsource with call forwarding and international numbers. Most businesses outsource to different countries with low labor and manufacturing costs or where desired talent is better available. They then forward calls from the main service line to these distributed service centers, wherever they are located.
Plus with advanced call routing strategies, you can route calls based on schedules, location, and more.
8. Set Up After-hours Support
The routing strategies mentioned above can also enable you to set up after-hours support. In this scenario, you can choose to route calls during certain hours to remote agents or call centers. As with the follow-the-sun support model, you can route calls to where your teams are actively working instead of offices closed for the day.
Or, you can route calls to your online support center. Here, you give them the option to leave a voicemail, chat with an assistant who can direct them to online resources, use an automated service to generate a ticket, and so on. All of this, of course, depends on your communication infrastructure.
9. Consolidate Contact Center Operations
You can also integrate your international phone numbers into your contact center software or pair them with other UC applications and build out your contact center operations. This way, you can upgrade your communication stack and use these services from one platform.
This way of centralizing business communication can help improve productivity and efficiency.
Get International Phone Numbers with Global Call Forwarding
With all these options and possibilities available, where do you start? Every business has a unique selling point and it’s your job to find that and bring it to the forefront so your customers can find you and trust you.
Let us help you get to the right place with our vast inventory of international phone numbers. Check out our Country Coverage to see if we cover your target countries. Or, speak with our global communication experts. They’re here to help you find the right communication solution for your business needs.
Call us today or chat with us online!