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A Guide to Telecom Compliance in the US and Globally

As a global business, maintaining regulatory compliance can be a major challenge; especially when it comes to telecommunications.

Most businesses are unsure where to start and how to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Some may even wonder if it is their responsibility or their provider’s. And although providers and carriers are well-versed in global telecom compliance and regulations, it helps to know what you need to use your phone service securely.

While understanding and managing telecommunications compliance can seem like a daunting task, this article will help you understand the core concepts you need to know. Let’s have a look!

Understanding the Basics of Telecom Compliance

Whether you’re buying international phone numbers, global SIP trunks, or local calling from a carrier, it is important to understand what regulations go into creating a safe and reliable service. This is especially critical for global communications as international laws can often interfere with your service.

Phone number regulatory compliance and telecom regulations are designed to protect voice and data transmissions and, by extension, safeguard your business. But, if somehow, you end up on the side of non-compliance, your business will experience service interruptions, downtime, and even legal issues.

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the basics of telecom compliance:

  1. Know Your Customer (KYC) Requirements
  2. Number Activation Requirements
  3. International Emergency Regulations
  4. Lawful Interceptions
  5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU
  6. Federal and State Laws

1. Know Your Customer (KYC) Documents and Requirements

KYC information helps your telephony provider validate and verify your business. For this reason, they will require documents proving your identity, such as:

  • Proof of identification — This includes your legal IDs, such as a passport, driver’s license, government- or state-issued ID, and documentation related to company authorization.
  • Proof of business address — Official document with company name and address. Information should relate to the company and not the individual person. In other words, your personal address won’t work. You may even be asked to provide business registration and ownership documents.

You can find out what specific documentation you will need to provide from your provider.

2. Number Activation Requirements

Next, different phone number types from various countries will have varying requirements for activation. It helps to research before purchasing a phone number, so you know what to expect. You can also ask your new provider’s sales representative how long it takes them to activate your desired phone number.

Learn more in our international number ordering requirements guide.

3. International Emergency Regulations

Governments around the world require phone service providers (even virtual number providers) to have the ability to make emergency calls to respective emergency services. In other words, every in-country number should allow users to call local emergency services.

Examples of emergency numbers include 911 in the US, 100 or 112 in India, 110 for police or 112 for ambulance/fire in Germany, and so on.

So, as part of global telecom compliance, virtual telephony numbers must be configured in the in-country database with the correct user identification and physical address. This emergency service access ensures employees in a business can find help during a crisis.

Now, every country will have different requirements to activate emergency services for their numbers. Most carriers will bundle emergency calling along with number provisioning during your number activation phase to make this process easier.

This is what the general process looks like —

A diagram of the telecom compliance process.

You purchase a number and provide the necessary documents > Your provider verifies your identity and business > Your provider/carrier will upload the necessary information to an in-country, non-real-time database.

4. Lawful Interception (LI)

Lawful interception is legally sanctioned access to voice, email, and chat conversations for police or security purposes. This security process requires carriers to provide law enforcement agencies access to individual or business communications. To comply with this, businesses using cloud communication solutions across workspaces and locations must ensure their carrier can support LI requirements in their target countries.

5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU

Another key telecom compliance regulation is the GDPR. Put into effect in 2018, the GDPR is a data security and protection regulation that charges fines against companies and institutions that violate its privacy and security standards. According to the GDPR Article 5.12, its core principles are lawfulness, transparency, data minimization, storage limitation, accuracy, confidentiality, and accountability.

Whether your company resides in the EU or does business with EU citizens and residents, the GDPR applies to you. So, any business that is a data controller or collector must show that they are GDPR compliant.

6. State and Federal Laws

In addition to the above, you’ll also want to be aware of the necessary national (federal) and state laws your business must follow with regard to telecommunications. This will differ from country to country and also from industry to industry.

You can find this information with a simple Google search for “[country] telecom regulations.” However, it is a good idea to speak with your legal counsel and look at business resources to help you fully understand what compliances are essential to run your business.

Be Proactive About Regulatory Compliance

Don’t let telecom compliance be an afterthought. Set your business up for success by considering and preparing for critical and necessary regulations. Do your due diligence to ensure your business is not lacking in any way. This will not only protect it from liability and non-compliance but also build credibility and trust among your customers.

Prepare for the PSTN and ISDN Phase-Out

While the world relied on PSTN’s ability to help us communicate effectively across continents, we’re now heading towards newer, more reliable technology. With the advent of advanced cloud communication solutions, PSTN and ISDN tech is becoming less and less relevant.

In fact, Europe is on the path to completely replacing the PSTN by 2025, while other global nations plan to phase out PSTN by 2030. This phasing out of outdated communication technologies means we’ll see a growing migration to IP networks and cloud communications.

And businesses switching to new technologies — with advanced services and features — will need to re-evaluate their compliance regulations. This is because new tech and solutions, like VoIP, come with new regulations.

Regulatory Compliance Checklist

When evaluating your company’s compliance with telecommunications regulations, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Take time to research and learn about telecom compliance regulations (specifically for VoIP) in countries you operate in or want to expand to.
  • Understand compliance requirements for your specific business type, industry (Dodd-Frank or MiFID), and data collection and submission.
  • Make KYC information easily available to your provider/carrier.
  • Choose a provider/carrier that understands telecom compliance requirements and can help you comply accurately.
  • Speak with your legal team to better understand how these regulations can affect your business.
  • Set up emergency service access as required by each country you operate in or plan to expand to.

Work with a Provider that Understands Telecom Regulations

The best way to ensure your business maintains telecom compliance in the US and globally is to work with a provider that knows the importance of regulations. You can then lean on this provider to stay in compliance and use your phone service without any hiccups.

As part of finding the right provider, ask them how their service complies with global and local regulations and how they can support your business. To learn how Global Call Forwarding works, call us or chat with our global telephony experts today!

13 Ways to Manage High Call Volume

Lengthy hold times frustrate your callers – leading to poor customer experiences and low satisfaction rates. And after just one bad experience, 61% of consumers report they would stop purchasing from that company.

But, what if your business faces high call volumes? How do you handle unexpected spikes in order to prevent long wait times and poor caller experience?

These high-traffic periods are when your business gets the most out of its customers. But if you can’t handle the volume of calls, you may end up losing valuable customers.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into fluctuating call volumes, why they happen, and 13 ways you can manage them. This way, you can quickly prepare for volume surges and resolve customer queries with call management tools and tips.

Issues with High and Fluctuating Call Volumes

Call volume is a metric that measures the number of calls received in a given period of time. As such, a high call volume is when a significant inbound call spike occurs that exceeds the amount you’re accustomed to or capable of handling.

The industry standard for high call volume begins when your business experiences a 10% increase from your normal rate. But, it’s important to note that it may start sooner or later, depending on your organization’s size and available resources.

While they might mean an increase in sales, fluctuating call volumes can also cause major issues for your business and teams, including:

  • Extended wait times for callers
  • Stress on agents and teams
  • Increased customer frustration and poor caller experience
  • Higher call abandonment rates
  • Inflated average handling times
  • Loss of business and revenue
  • Damaged brand reputation, trust, and loyalty.

Why Do These Spikes in Call Volume Occur?

So, why are you experiencing spikes in your call volume? There are many factors that contribute to a fluctuating call volume, including predictable and unpredictable causes.

Predictable Influxes

At times, spikes in your call volume may be foreseeable, allowing your business to prepare for a surge before it begins. Examples of predictable reasons for fluctuating call volumes include:

  • Holidays and seasonal fluctuations
  • New product launches
  • Product updates or upgrades
  • Marketing campaigns and initiatives
  • Promotions, discounts, sales, etc.

These situations are all within your business’ control. You typically know when these events begin and end. And thus, you have plenty of time and opportunity to develop a game plan.

Unpredictable Influxes

On the other hand, other situations may arise unexpectedly. This means your business and teams must react to the rise in calls with little to no warning. Reasons behind unpredictable spikes in call volume include:

  • Service disruptions
  • Infrastructure maintenance
  • Faulty products or mass recalls
  • PR crisis
  • Emergency situations and call center disasters
  • Inclement weather
  • Repeat callers

While these are unexpected scenarios, some may offer your teams a short preparation window. For example: If a hurricane is forecasted to hit one of your Florida branches, you can quickly prepare for potential power outages and branch closures. However, even with a little preparation time, unpredictable spikes in your call volume are primarily out of your control.

Overall, understanding the reasons behind spikes in call volume can help businesses plan for and manage them more effectively.

13 Ways to Handle High Call Volume and Traffic

Depending on the type of business you run, your employees may deal with varying levels of call traffic. This means a high volume of calls at certain times of the day or certain days of the week. Or, high call traffic during holidays and when your business runs promotions.

These high call volume periods bring a lot of customers to your business. However, if you are not equipped to handle high call traffic, then your business can lose out on potentially valuable customers.

So, what are some proven ways to better manage a high volume of incoming calls?

  1. Schedule Agents and Employees
  2. Add New Contact Channels
  3. Route Calls Based on Time
  4. Route Calls Based on Location
  5. Design an Effective IVR System
  6. Let Callers Know
  7. Implement Call Groups
  8. Focus on First Call Resolution
  9. Offer Self-Service Options
  10. Pay Attention to Call Center Data & Metrics
  11. Offer Voicemail & Callback Options
  12. Create a Knowledge Base or Support Center
  13. Consider Outsourcing and BPOs

1. Schedule Agents and Employees

Well-planned schedules go a long way in enabling agents and employees to offer quick and responsive service. The way you distribute workload can determine how well your business or call center manages high call volume. If there are too few employees at a time, then they will be overburdened by calls and may not provide the best service. Similarly, if calls are not distributed equally, then some employees will work harder than others. Pre-planning schedules can help distribute the workload appropriately.

2. Add New Contact Channels

If your business is using only 1-2 contact channels and is unable to resolve interactions within the time promised, then you may need to consider adding new channels. For example, it is most common for businesses to offer phone, live chat, and email as customer channels. However, more and more businesses are using conversational AI or chatbots, trouble tickets, and video conferencing as customer service channels.

Offering more convenient and preferable ways to connect with your business not only helps manage call volume but also gives customers options to choose from. Not every customer prefers phone conversations. In fact, customers now expect live chat and chatbots to ease the process of inquiring about products or getting support. And so, your business can meet customer expectations while reducing the burden on employees answering phone calls.

3. Route Calls Based on Time

Call forwarding and routing options allow businesses to route calls based on the time a call is coming in. This is called time-based routing. You can set up time-based routing to forward incoming calls during specific time periods to different locations. For example:

  • Route calls to different office locations
  • Route calls to remote teams assisting in customer service efforts
  • Forward calls to voicemail where callers can leave a message or request a callback
  • Forward calls to an offshore BPO to assist with high volume of calls

This helps your business distribute incoming calls across different platforms based on predetermined rules. By doing so, your employees and customer service teams are better equipped to manage high call traffic.

4. Route Calls Based on Location

You can also route calls based on the location of the caller: location-based routing. This is a helpful feature for companies that want to adopt a follow the sun support model to provide global customer service.

You can set this feature up beforehand, just like you do with time-based routing. Then as callers call, they will be routed to the customer service team closest to them, in their time zone and language, as well. This can help reduce the stress that might otherwise fall on the main customer service office.

5. Design an Effective IVR System

A cloud IVR system can go a long way in effective call management. An IVR is an automated voice response system that interacts with callers to assist them either by transferring them to the right agent and department or by offering self-service options. Here are some ways an IVR system enables better call management:

  • Transfer callers to the right agents
  • Offer troubleshooting assistance
  • Offer information about the company (hours, locations, etc), key products and services, and more

A well-designed IVR system can help callers with common or simple questions as well as self-service options so agents and employees are available to assist customers with more complex questions and processes.

6. Let Callers Know

To prevent high call volumes, consider sending your customers email and text message blasts. This allows you to communicate emergencies, holiday closures, and more to your entire customer base simultaneously instead of fielding individual calls. Additionally, place a message on your website to make visitors aware of the issue or change.

With these explanations in place, customers are less likely to bombard your call center looking for answers. And this leaves more time for your teams to focus on complex issues.

Still experiencing high call volumes? Let callers know you’re experiencing a surge as well as the predicted wait time. And direct them to alternative communication channels, callback options, and support resources, if applicable. This helps minimize customer frustration and can even reduce the amount of calls you receive.

Here are some examples of scripts to get you started:

“Thank you for calling [business name]. We are currently experiencing high call volumes. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. Our estimated wait time is currently [wait time]. If you would like to avoid the wait, you may also reach out to us via email at [customer support email], or through our website’s live chat service. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to assisting you.”
“Thank you for calling [business name]. We are currently experiencing high call volumes. Our estimated wait time is currently [wait time]. We apologize for this inconvenience. Don’t want to wait? You can request a callback option. All you have to do is provide us with your phone number and the best time to reach you, and one of our representatives will call you back as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can find answers on our website’s support and FAQ page. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to assisting you.”

7. Implement Call Groups

Call groups, also called ring groups, enable you to automatically send callers to a specific group of lines based on the IVR option selected or the number dialed. These groups can include certain agents, entire departments, or multiple teams.

You can use this feature to streamline your call management efforts by effectively distributing calls and ensuring callers reach the most qualified reps.

And if callers swarm your ring groups, you can establish backup groups for overflow management and failover strategies. This assures that calls are answered, even if all other agents are unavailable.

8. Focus on First Call Resolution

If a customer’s issue isn’t fully resolved during their initial call, they will likely call your business back to follow up. When this happens, it leads to multiple calls, higher call volumes, and time wasted for both the customer and the call center. On top of that, it’s important to note that every time a customer must call a company about the same issue, customer satisfaction drops by 15%.

To minimize the impact of repeat callers, companies must focus on first call resolution by:

  • Providing clear and concise information
  • Addressing all of the customer’s concerns at once
  • Encouraging customers to use self-service options
  • Tracking customer history and previous interactions using applications like a CRM
  • Establishing quality control and follow-up procedures to ensure issue resolution and customer satisfaction.

9. Offer Self-Service Options

Another way to manage high call volume is to offer customers self-service options so they don’t need to call your business each time they need something. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Setting up an auto-attendant
  • Creating a support center
  • Allowing customers to submit trouble or issue tickets
  • Writing guides and how-tos on your blog that customers can follow
  • Developing online processes that are easy-to-follow
  • Using content and UX writing to make processes more user-friendly

The goal is to enable customers to help themselves by making clear and easy processes or by providing guides. This way, they don’t have to always rely on your customer support teams for assistance.

10. Pay Attention to Call Center Data & Metrics

Analyze data and metrics to identify when and where there was a spike in call volumes. Was there a promotion running or a new product roll-out? Did a feature have issues? Was it the holiday season? Which locations received the most calls? What times did your business experience high call volume? And so on. This data can help you better prepare for the future.

11. Offer Voicemail & Callback Options

As with other communication channels, it is a good idea to also offer voicemail and callback services. Some phone service providers offer a callback feature with their service. This could be a widget placed on your website or a button that customers click to receive a call or schedule an appointment with a representative.

For example, Global Call Forwarding offers a CallMe Click service. This is a widget that you can place on your website. Web visitors can click on it and include their contact information to receive an automatic call back from your business.

Voicemail and callback options help callers leave a message or schedule a time to talk with a representative. This is a good option during periods of high call traffic so customers know that your business will return their call or get in touch with them soon.

12. Create a Knowledge Base or Support Center

As mentioned above, a knowledge base or support center can help your customers use self-service options to resolve their issues. A knowledge base is a series of posts or articles published on your website that answer common questions, offer how-to-use guides and troubleshooting help, and provide any other assistance your customers may need.

By having this resource available, customers can help themselves instead of calling your business time and again, especially for small queries. This leaves room for customers with more complex queries to get through to your customer service team.

 13. Consider Outsourcing and BPOs

Lastly, you may consider outsourcing your call center to an offshore BPO in order to support high volume. These services often have access to call center features and tools mentioned above that help them manage high call volumes for multiple companies.

Be Proactive with Call Management

One of the best ways to handle high and fluctuating call volumes is to plan ahead. Understand where your call spikes are coming from and put plans into place to prevent and support these call volumes.

Global Call Forwarding offers various call management tools for businesses like yours to manage call volumes and offer a better caller experience to your customers. Speak with our representatives today to see how our call flow builder can help your business communicate better!

Guide to International Number Ordering Requirements

International phone numbers allow businesses to establish a local presence in other countries.

Incoming calls can be routed to any phone, PBX, or SIP destination worldwide. Users can also make outbound calls with their phone number shown as the caller ID.

To provide these numbers, Global Call Forwarding must adhere to international phone number regulations. We comply with these regulatory requirements to minimize the risk of disruption to your numbers and service.

This guide to international number ordering requirements was created to make this process as easy as possible.

Which Countries Require Documentation?

Countries around the world are becoming increasingly strict when it comes to telecommunications regulations and compliance. These regulations vary from country to country.

The following popular countries require documentation to order a number:

  • Singapore
  • UAE
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Bahrain
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam
  • Taiwan
  • Poland
  • Netherlands
  • Finland

These are some examples of countries but it is not a complete list. For more information, please contact a Global Call Forwarding representative.

What are the Acceptable Types of Documentation?

When ordering international phone numbers, your provider may request different types of documentation. In order to make the process of number provisioning as fast as possible, we need your help gathering and providing the necessary documentation.

The most commonly requested types of documentation are proof of address, proof of ID, and a letter of intent.

These documents should be sent to our customer service department.

Acceptable Proof of Address

Acceptable Proof of Address can be one of the following:

  • Utility bill (gas, electric, or fixed-line telephone bill) within the last 3 months
  • Bank statement within the last 3 months of a lease/tenant agreement

In some cases, especially for geographic numbers, proof of address is required from the same city in which the number is located.

Acceptable Forms of Identification

Acceptable Forms of Identification can be one of the following:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • National ID card

In some cases, our provider will request a selfie with the end-user holding their identification.

What if this Information is Sensitive?

We take our responsibility to safeguard your sensitive personal information very seriously. We apply technical controls when processing this data, and all our staff undergoes training on the proper handling of this data.

How Long Does it Take for Documents to be Approved?

In most cases, it can take between 3-5 business days for documentation approval.

While we do our best to activate your numbers as quickly as possible, timelines can vary depending on the country origination.

Our vendors reserve the right in their discretion to deny phone numbers or request additional information at any stage of the process.

How Can I View the Status of my Submission?

Once your documents have been approved and the order has been processed, you will receive an email confirmation with further details. You can check the status of your submission at any time by contacting our customer service team.

International Number Ordering with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding has been a reliable global telephony provider for over 26 years. We have extensive experience navigating international telecommunications regulations and providing reliable services to multinational clients.

Let us help you navigate through compliance requirements for purchasing international phone numbers and make this process as smooth as possible.

What is International Local Presence?

Local presence is one of the most powerful features of our cloud-phone service.

With local presence dialing, agents can connect with between 4-10x more prospects by showing a local number as their caller ID.

Most telephony providers only offer local presence dialing for domestic phone numbers, but we can help your sales and support teams establish a local presence internationally.

How International Local Presence Works

Global Call Forwarding provides local and toll-free numbers from most countries in the world.

These numbers can be used to receive incoming calls and also to make outbound calls with a dedicated caller ID. This means that customers can show a local caller ID for outbound calls that corresponds to the destination they’re calling.

International Local Presence Example

Say, agents are dialing prospects in London. They can show a +44 204 phone number. Or, if they’re calling customers in New York City, they can show a +1 646 phone number. They can do so, no matter their location — India, Australia, Canada, USA, etc.

When to Use Local Presence

Local presence dialing has many potential use cases. Here are some of the times when local presence dialing proves most effective:

The benefits of international local presence dialing.

Benefits of International Local Presence

Cold calling is tough business. With spammers and robocallers on the rise, prospects are less likely than ever to answer cold calls. This is why local presence dialing exists.

Improve Connection Rates

Establishing a local presence is especially important when making international calls. Prospects are far less likely to answer calls from other countries:

The stats above prove that businesses will increase the return on their outbound calling efforts by using local presence dialing. When more people pick up, time spent dialing becomes more profitable, as agents are more likely to have productive conversations.

Route Calls Back to the Right Rep

It’s common knowledge that many inside sales calls go unanswered. This leaves the called party with a missed call notification or a voicemail, along with the number that called them.

International local presence dialing enables agents to show their own local numbers as the caller ID. This means that if the called party returns the call, it will be routed back to the agent that called them.

Types of Local Presence

You can use different types of local presence dialing with Global Call Forwarding:

Call Masking with an International Phone Number

While number masking might have a negative connotation, it is a powerful tool used by businesses around the world. Call masking refers to the technique of “masking” or showing your business phone number for outbound calling.

It helps you keep your actual number private and lets you show a dedicated business phone number instead. You can also use number masking to call internationally with a local phone number.

Using Privately-Owned Numbers

Some companies already have phone numbers that they want to make calls with.

They might already have contracts with existing carriers, but want to use our international voice service to call globally. In most cases, this provides major cost-savings for international calling, in addition to better call quality and stability.

If customers can prove ownership of these phone numbers, we allow them to use these numbers as their Caller ID.

Get Calling With Local Numbers

We would love to help you get started with local presence dialing. Sign up for a local phone number today and start making calls anywhere in the world.

8 Global Expansion Mistakes and How to Avoid Them [2023]

While global expansion efforts often yield significant benefits for businesses, the transition to a new market may also include significant challenges and uncertainties.

For this reason, this article will discuss the top global expansion mistakes to help you avoid common setbacks. This way, you can properly prepare for the transition by building an effective expansion plan, ensuring your business’ international success.

What Expanding Internationally Really Means For Businesses

The first global expansion mistake businesses make is thinking the work is done once they successfully enter a new market.

By definition, global expansion refers to when companies extend their operations to new markets and regions. But, this process involves much more than simply selling your products and services in your target countries.

In fact, sustained international growth requires tons of coordination before, during, and after you enter a new market. So, it’s essential to reflect on your business and if expansion is the next best step.

Is Your Business Ready for Global Expansion?

Global expansion isn’t right for every business. And if you try to expand before your operations and teams are ready, it could result in failure. So, before planning to expand globally, it’s important to first evaluate if you’re ready to transition internationally.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Why do you want to take your business to a global level? What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • Do you have enough resources and people power to expand globally while maintaining the success of your domestic/current markets?
  • Does your company have the financial means to sustain international growth? Have you considered moving, labor, shipping, equipment, and other costs?
  • Is there a stable demand for your products or services in the markets you plan to expand to?
  • Is your management team prepared to meet international demands and challenges?

Take time to decide if this is the right move for your business and learn what factors to consider. Read more in our ultimate guide to global expansion.

An image of businesspeople plotting global expansion and identifying mistakes to avoid.

8 Global Expansion Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When properly approached, a global expansion strategy holds many benefits for businesses, including:

  • Increased ROI, sales, and revenue
  • Access to new markets, skilled talent, and a broader customer base
  • Exposure to foreign investment and growth opportunities
  • Improved company reputation and global market perception
  • Enhanced competitive edge and more.

So, what are the common roadblocks that may be fatal to your expansion plans, and how do you avoid them? Let’s discuss the 8 most common mistakes businesses make when expanding internationally and how to avoid them. This way, you can dodge these pitfalls and successfully grow your business on an international scale.

1. Entering New Markets Without Researching

Entering a new market without data to back your expansion decision is a recipe for disaster. There will inevitably be markets that are not a good fit for your business. So, without proper market research, you subject your business to unnecessary risk. And this could lead to major problems such as diminished reputation, over-saturated markets, loss of revenue and time, etc.

To ensure a smooth expansion, conduct thorough local market research and test your product throughout your target regions. These tactics will help you determine:

  • Demand for your product or service
  • Target audience segments
  • Consumer perceptions and expectations
  • Competitive pricing
  • Direct and indirect competitors
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Government regulations
  • Effective sales, marketing, and advertising methods
  • Local language, culture, and so on

Using this information, you can adequately plan your international expansion and ensure you enter the right markets for your business goals.

2. Using the Same Marketing and Sales Strategies

No market is identical. As such, the same marketing strategies and sales tactics that work in your domestic market may be less effective in others. Everything from how customers place purchases to their preferred communication channels varies throughout different regions.

This is because a country’s cultural and economic background impacts purchase frequency and customer lifetime value (CLV). So, failing to adapt your strategies could result in decreased conversions and, ultimately, a failed global expansion.

To avoid this mistake, it’s vital to adapt your marketing and sales strategies to the needs and preferences of each market.

3. Not Taking Advantage of International Talent

One of a business’s biggest assets is its people. And growing internationally gives your business access to a larger talent pool than ever before. This not only allows you to diversify your teams but also your range of skill sets. On top of that, local talent already has an in-depth knowledge of your new markets. You can use their know-how to enhance your local efforts and better engage with customers.

As you can see, hiring international talent holds many benefits for your business. So, failing to do so would be a critical global expansion mistake.

4. Neglecting Content Localization Strategies

Conversions become increasingly harder to achieve when your global customers cannot understand what you’re offering. And while translating content is a good start, even this strategy can lead to misinterpretations. Or worse, your content can come across as offensive to customers.

Businesses are now turning to content localization as a solution, which includes:

  • Accommodating local language needs and preferences
  • Opening physical offices
  • Observing regional traditions and cultures
  • Supporting local businesses and talent
  • Providing global customer support, etc.

This strategy not only helps meet the language requirements of your markets, but also considers cultural customs, specific market preferences, local practices, and so on. The result is a more globally accessible and credible business with improved customer satisfaction and sales.

Always localize content before expanding or entering a new market for the greatest effect.

5. Not Getting a Local Business Phone Number

How your teams will communicate locally is another factor often overlooked during a global expansion.

Using the same phone number you use in your home market is a bad idea for 2 major reasons:

  1. Low response rates – Customers are less likely to answer unknown or unrecognizable phone numbers.
  2. Expensive for callers – If overseas customers choose to contact your business, they will have to pay high international calling fees.

Enter: Local phone numbers.

Buy local phone numbers for each of your target markets. This not only increases connection rates but also charges local calling rates, which are relatively inexpensive.

And, if you sign up with a global telephony provider, you can forward your incoming calls to any location or device. This means your business doesn’t have to be physically present in these new markets to provide services to global customers.

Case Study: CROSSNET launches in new markets with local numbers from GCF

Mistakes businesspeople make when expanding internationally.

6. Overlooking the Value of Expert Advice

It goes without saying, there are many best practices for successful international expansion. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to make mistakes or miss something important, especially if you’re treading in unfamiliar territory.

This is why expert advice is extremely valuable for companies looking to grow. They can help you understand all business-related requirements, local legislation, and other important factors in your new market including:

  • Standard payment methods
  • Employment and payroll laws
  • Tax regulations
  • Foreign exchange rates
  • Contract laws
  • Corporate and securities regulations
  • Transfer pricing, and so on.

While expert advice can be expensive, the results are well worth it. These experts help your business avoid risks and better understand the inner workings of the target market.

7. Only Offering Phone Services in Home Market Language

Since adding new target markets means gaining new customer bases, each comes with its own needs. Among the most critical of these needs is language. And while content localization is a good starting point, it’s not enough. To satisfy these new customers at a basic level, you must also offer phone services in their language.

Let’s say you own a US company. One of your new customers in South America is browsing your localized support page, trying to find a solution to their issue. But since their issue is complex, they have to contact your business directly for an answer. So, they call your business to find that your call system operates only in English. Somehow, they reach the support department to find only English-speaking support reps again.

What happens next?

This customer will most likely grow frustrated and hang up. They might even cancel their service if they can’t find a fix and sign up with one of your competitors that meets their language needs.

To avoid this, consider setting up a multilingual IVR that caters to all of your incoming callers’ language requirements. On top of that, it’s a good idea to hire reps that speak each of your target markets’ languages, particularly for sales, support, and other customer-facing roles. This way, customers always feel supported and taken care of when communicating with your business, leading to improved customer satisfaction.

Related: 7 Must-Have Global Expansion Tools for Communication

8. Disconnected Team Communication

Communication affects many aspects of your business, including efficiency, productivity, employee trust, innovation, collaboration, turnover rates, and so on. When miscommunication occurs, it directly affects these factors in addition to other business metrics.

In fact, results of a study showed that miscommunication costs companies with 100 employees an average of $420,000 annually. And, the chance of miscommunication only increases as you expand your business and add more offices and employees to the mix.

With a VoIP service, you can connect teams distributed across multiple locations through one business phone system. This service is accessible from any location or IP-enabled device, making it a great solution for remote teams, too. You can also scale your VoIP service, as needed. Simply, add or remove users as your business expands globally.

Additionally, cloud phone providers typically offer advanced features with their services that help boost team communication and collaboration, like free in-network calling. And it’s all easily manageable through an online portal.

So, you can centralize business communication, connect distributed teams, access advanced features, and save on traditional phone system costs – all through one solution.

Expand Globally with Global Call Forwarding

Now that you know the top mistakes businesses make when expanding globally and how to avoid them, you’re ready to expand!

Global Call Forwarding can help you transition into an international business. We offer reliable global voice services in 160+ countries, which covers over 90% of the global economy. You can get local, toll-free, and international numbers in each of your target countries to add global coverage to your phone system.

We also offer free in-network calling, centralized call control, multilingual IVR, and more to fit your global expansion needs.

To learn more about how we can help you establish a global presence, call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

What is an IP-PBX & How Does It Work?

Thinking of upgrading your business phone system to the cloud? IP telephony not only reduces communication costs but also boosts your phone system’s functionality. You can expect high-quality, reliable service and an array of advanced calling features.

An IP-PBX phone system is one such IP-based communication technology adopted by businesses around the world. Let’s look at what this service is and how you can integrate it into your existing phone system.

Cloud-Based PBX System: What, How, Why

According to a Global Market Insights report, “the hosted IP PBX segment is expected to become the fastest-growing area of the VoIP market. It is predicted to grow by 20% from 2021 to 2027.”

This means more and more businesses will switch to IP-PBX as their communications infrastructure and solution. But why? How can this service benefit your business? Let’s find out!

In this post, we’ll go over:

What is IP Private Branch Exchange?

IP-PBX is a cloud phone system that enables, routes, and monitors communication across your private network using an internet connection.

Other names for this system include cloud PBX, hosted PBX, or virtual PBX.

The main role of a PBX system is to manage your business’s internal and external call traffic. But an IP-PBX takes this to the next level. With internet protocol (IP) involved, these calls travel over the internet instead of traditional phone lines.

This means users can make and receive reliable and high-quality business calls from any location, as long as they’re connected to the internet.

How Does IP-Based PBX Work?

The IP-based private branch exchange sits at the center of your business phone network and acts as a modern switchboard element to direct callers to their destination. So, when calls come in, they pass through the PBX system via the internet and then travel to the desired location, extension, or department.

How an IP-PBX works.

To make this happen, the PBX works with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP converts voice signals to digital packets. Then, it sends the packets over the internet to the destination. Once they arrive, the packets are reassembled into voice and audio.

To access multiple voice channels simultaneously, you can use your IP-PBX with a cloud SIP trunking service. And with multiple SIP channels in your arsenal, you can access smooth and high-quality voice communication.

Benefits of IP-Based PBX Systems

Most medium-to-large businesses use IP-PBX systems to manage their voice communications internally. This way, you have your own secure phone network where you:

  • Route and forward incoming calls to different departments and locations (advanced routing strategies)
  • Customize outgoing calls (outbound calls, dynamic caller ID)
  • Collaborate in-network (call transfer, merging, conferencing), and more.

To understand how this phone system improves business communication, let’s take a look at the different benefits it delivers:

  • Lower Communication Cost — when compared to analog options, since cloud calling is cheaper, and you can integrate PBX within your existing equipment and devices at a low cost
  • Reduced Calling Rates — for local, long-distance, and international calls and free in-network calls
  • Location Flexibility — by connecting multi-site offices in an affordable fashion
  • Improved Functionality — with advanced call management features
  • High Availability — with increased reliability and redundancy of your communication network, ensuring uninterrupted service.
  • High Scalability — since you can add and remove lines and users as needed – all without completely changing your system or plan.

IP-PBX Deployment: On-Premise vs Hosted IP-PBX

IP-PBX comparison

So, how do you set up an IP-PBX system within your business? To answer this question, you first need to decide how you want to set it up. This will determine what type of PBX service and equipment you need.

There are two different types of PBX: on-premise and hosted.

With an on-premise setup, your business houses, builds, operates, and manages the PBX on-site. With this setup, your business is in charge of building and maintaining the PBX system. This gives you unlimited control; however, you will need an IT team to operate the system.

On the other hand, a hosted IP-PBX means your provider “hosts” the PBX equipment at their location and operates the system for you. This means you receive cloud phone services without worrying about routine maintenance, system upgrades, or network routing. Plus, you can still access advanced communication features and customize the service to meet your business calling needs.

Whichever option you choose, you can either select separate IP-PBX and VoIP providers or find a provider that delivers both services. And if you want to build it in-house, then you will need the proper IT infrastructure, software (such as open-source PBX software), and team.

Setting Up Cloud PBX Services

Since IP-PBX is a form of cloud communications, you benefit from different kinds of flexibility.

IP-PBX relies on SIP trunking for voice connectivity. So, you will need a SIP trunk provider to support your PBX system. You can use SIP trunks to connect your existing devices like desk phones to your cloud PBX system. And also gain access to new communication tools like softphones and web dialers.

Additionally, if you are building this in-house with open-source PBX software, you’ll need to decide on key features and functionalities that can help your teams communicate efficiently.

Having these features and capabilities enable your business to mix and match devices and build a phone system that fits your needs. And it allows you to connect all local, remote, and global teams under one network while enjoying reliable, global voice quality.

Related: Using SIP Trunks with an Open-Source PBX

Want to Upgrade to IP-PBX?

You can get PBX and SIP trunking services with Global Call Forwarding. Start by signing up for a business phone number or consult with one of our telecom experts to find the right solution for your needs. Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online.

Content Localization Guide: What is it and How to Build a Localized Content Strategy?

If you hang around marketing circles, you’ll hear the term ‘content localization’ quite often. But what is this relatively new marketing tactic and is it something your business needs to consider? The answer to that largely depends on your company’s growth and expansion goals.

Most businesses don’t consider content localization as part of their global expansion strategy. But, there is a reason why many organizations are investing in localization resources. According to research, “you are 75% more effective at selling to international customers when you speak their language.”

And that’s why more and more global businesses are looking to their marketing and sales teams to implement and improve localization efforts.

In this post, we’ll look at the following:

What is Content Localization?

Content localization is the process of creating localized or specialized content for specific regions by considering language barriers, preferences, cultural differences, and more.

In other words, you make your content locally accessible to customers in different countries around the world. This often involves:

  • Creating country-specific articles: city and country pages, stories relevant to each region, personalized offers for different regions, etc.
  • Translating content into different languages: Spanish for South America web traffic, Chinese or Arabic for APAC web traffic, etc.
  • Using country-specific terminology in your marketing materials: US = fries vs UK = chips
  • Providing local and global support: local contact methods, technical and legal content translations, multilingual support

We’ll go into more detail about the types and components of content you can localize in a few minutes. First, let’s understand why content localization is worth the time and effort.

Why Should You Localize Your Content?

Making your content accessible in different languages and regions allows your business to extend its global reach.

Let’s walk through a scenario: Your business already has some customers coming in for new markets. You can use content localization to double up on your marketing efforts in those regions. Alternatively, your business wants to start fresh in a new market, like opening a new branch or office. You can use localization to engage with potential customers in these target markets and slowly grow your following.

Remember, localization does not only mean translating content into other languages. It can also involve:

  • Adapting products (names, key features, UX, etc.)
  • Executing local SEO strategies
  • Converting measurement units and currency
  • Using local contact methods (local phone numbers, addresses)
  • Complying with legal requirements and regulations
  • Providing local support, and so on.

So, when you localize your content, you implement new ways to build trust and credibility with your global customers. You create content that they easily understand and relate to. And by doing that, they become more comfortable with your company.

Lisha Abraham, Senior Project Manager at Milestone Localization, explains, “Content localization is localizing all aspects of your content to suit your target market. When done correctly, it can significantly help you expand your business in your target market, increase your reach, enhance your brand image, and more importantly, increase revenue by driving more sales.”

Case Study: How GCF Supports Global Customers

Global Call Forwarding is a leading international provider of local and toll-free numbers. We offer cloud communication solutions to small businesses and enterprises around the world.

Given the nature of our business, many of our clients are multinational companies that benefit from localized content. And many already have some sort of content localization strategy in place. Generally, they have international websites with local language content along with a local country phone number. Or, they publish local numbers on their localized brochures.

To support their localization efforts, we have helped many businesses open local virtual offices in different countries with cloud telephony solutions. This way, businesses can access global customers without having to launch physical offices in each target region. They simply purchase a local number, display it on their website or alongside localized content, and then forward incoming calls to their main support center, wherever it is located.

10 Benefits of Localizing Your Content

Now that we’ve covered what content localization is and why it is an important aspect of expanding a business, let’s look at the many benefits your business can experience:

  1. Market to a diverse and global audience — After all, most prefer to read content in their local language.
  2. Increase revenue by tapping into new marketsReach new customers and grow new audiences.
  3. Develop a strong global brand identity — Global consumers prefer brands with content in their language.
  4. Improve sales in existing markets55% of global consumers only purchase from websites that include product content in their own language.
  5. Establish a local presence anywhere across the globe — Learn how our customer Safran developed a global network with local numbers.
  6. Increase the likelihood of receiving sales and support calls — Users feel more loyal to companies that offer support in their native language.
  7. Support and boost the return on your international SEO efforts68% of online experiences are sourced from search engines.
  8. Build trust and reliability — Shoppers care about obtaining product information in their language more than pricing.
  9. Gain higher ROI on ad spendLocalized advertising campaigns lead to more clicks and conversions.
  10. Track your campaigns — Add unique numbers to track leads from local landing pages, translated brochures, social media assets, etc.

top languages localization

Top Countries and Languages for Content Localization

According to the Globalization and Localization Association, the most popular target languages for content translation (from English) include:

  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Dutch
  • Turkish
  • Polish
  • Russian

The top five languages (French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish) cover five major regions. Italian and German are official languages in multiple European countries besides their countries of origin. Similarly, Spanish and French variants are used in multiple countries across the globe.

Portuguese lets you tap into the ever-growing Brazilian economy — the largest country in South America — and offers access to other countries such as Portugal, Macau, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, and more.

Now, compare that with the World Bank’s top economies in 2021 (excluding countries whose dominant language is English – US, UK, Canada, Australia):

Country Most Recent GDP Value (Millions) Official Languages
China 17,734,062.65 Standard Chinese (Mandarin) / Mongolian / Chinese (Simplified)
Japan 4,937,421.88 Japanese
Germany 4,223,116.21 German
India 3,173,397.59 Hindi
France 2,937,472.76 French
Italy 2,099,880.20 Italian
South Korea 1,798,533.92 Korean / Hangul
Russia 1,775,799.92 Russian
Brazil 1,608,981.22 Portuguese
Spain 1,425,276.59 Spanish

The most translated languages cover countries whose economies are thriving and where populations continue to grow.

Additionally, among nearly 200 countries, FocusEconomics predicts that Guyana, Macau, Fiji, Niger, and Libya are expected to grow the fastest between 2022-2026. So, if you plan to tap into these emerging economies, you might consider the following languages:

  • Guyana – English
  • Macau – Chinese / Portuguese
  • Fiji – Fijian / Fiji HindiNiger – Arabic
  • Libya – Libyan Arabic

The real question is: What regions benefit your specific business? And what languages can help you expand to these areas?

Related: Top 8 Countries for Global Expansion in 2023

Content Components: Where & How to Localize

Now, what parts of your content should you localize? This depends on the type of brand content you work with and the purpose for localizing.

For example, you can localize some parts of your content — create a few articles in target languages — if you only want to build brand awareness. But if you want global customers to sign up and make purchases, then you will need to do more such as translate product, pricing, and checkout pages and include local contact information. In other words, create content that converts.

localization components

Generally speaking, here are some content categories to consider within your localization strategy:

Brand and company content

  • Homepage, ‘About Us,’ ‘Mission,’ ‘Our Team,’ and similar brand pages
  • Local and international certifications
  • Service area
  • Schema markup to establish status as a local business

Marketing content

  • Country-specific product pages
  • Blogs and articles
  • Landing pages
  • Country- or region-specific product names and terminology
  • Pricing and checkout pages
  • Currency format and currencies accepted
  • Local and international payment modes accepted
  • Visuals like graphics, infographics, and video

Contact information

Technical and support content

  • Product descriptions and documentation
  • FAQs and Knowledge Bases
  • How-to content and user manuals
  • Troubleshooting tips

Legal content

  • Terms & Conditions
  • Privacy policies
  • Disclaimers
  • Local regulations and requirements
  • Other important and relevant policies

UX and system content

  • Platform or dashboard UX (login buttons, navigation bars, CTA buttons, etc.)
  • Form entries
  • Number formats, and so on.

Developing a Content Localization Strategy

With that foundation, let’s look at what goes into developing and executing a content localization strategy. We’ll cover the following:

  1. Research and plan ahead
  2. Create a global brand
  3. Select target markets & languages
  4. Design a content localization workflow
  5. Hire the necessary vendors (choose the right translation agency and use localization tools)
  6. Start localizing!

1. Research and Plan Ahead

As with any new project, you first need to research. Understand what you are going to do and why you are doing it. This will help inform your strategy and get buy-in from key stakeholders.

It is during this phase that you decide how exactly your teams will go about localizing content:

  • What countries and markets do you want to target?
  • Which departments will benefit from localization? (sales, support, marketing)
  • How much do you want to invest? Low vs high-impact content — Only a few blog posts or your entire library? Advertising campaigns, legal documents, videos as well?
  • What types and aspects of content do you want to localize?
  • Which teams will be involved in the project? Who will manage which languages or types of content?
  • Do you want to work with external vendors like translation services? Or, will you manage this in-house?
  • Where will the translated content reside? Will you create a separate website or add a subdomain to your existing website?
  • Do you want this content to rank in local search engines? Who will conduct keyword and content research for local SEO purposes?
  • What’s the total budget for such a project – cost and time-wise? And so on.

“The most important thing before localizing your content is to plan well and ahead, keeping the end result in mind. Identify and study your target market and proceed accordingly. Content localization can be challenging as it goes beyond just translation. Partnering with the right localization agency can make the process easier and deliver high-quality results.” — Nikita Agarwal, Director and Head of Growth, Milestone Localization.

2. Create a Global Brand

Before you start localization and translating content, it is important to establish yourself as a global business. In other words, take time to develop your global brand and tone of voice. Your brand voice is how you communicate and connect with your target audience. And this is what sets you apart from other competitors in your space.

But why do you need to establish or re-evaluate your brand voice for localization? Because your company is entering new markets and cultures. What may work in one country may not in another. And on some rare occasions, it may even come across as offensive in another country. Your content must speak a neutral language free of regional connotations or metaphors.

Additionally, you want to ensure that all brand communication is kosher and within your brand tone. And this becomes more important when you hire vendors or freelancers to translate and localize your content. Having brand and editorial guidelines ensures that everyone is on the same page about your brand and its professional voice.

3. Select Target Markets & Languages

As you’ve seen above, there are many countries and languages to include in your content localization strategy. However, they may not all make sense for your particular business. You need to identify which markets will bring you the traffic you desire.

So, pay attention to your incoming customers. Where do most of your customers come from? Are there any adjacent countries you can target with the same customer base? For example, if you have customers from South America and the US who speak Spanish, it would be worth investing in Spanish content. Then repurpose and localize the same content to target potential prospects in Spain and neighboring EU countries.

The same strategy can be applied to starting fresh in a new market. Say you want to expand your presence in the EU and want to start with France. You can use French to target multiple countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. And, you can repurpose that content for other French-speaking countries in African and American markets.

Now, keep in mind that localizing this content also means providing local support. So, you will need local numbers and multilingual support teams to help customers interested after reading your localized content.

So, take time to decide where you want to expand your business and whether you can afford to follow it up with multilingual support.

Related: Top 8 Tips to Creating a Multilingual IVR

4. Design a Content Localization Workflow

At its basic level, a content localization workflow will look like this with a translation agency:

  1. Identify content to translate and localize
  2. Assign to employee/vendor
  3. Settle on key terminology and brand voice
  4. Translate and transcreate (creative translation to make the text coherent and relevant)
  5. Review by local native
  6. Review by project manager
  7. Proofread, finalize, and publish

If you plan to translate internally, then your workflow will be slightly different. For an in-house content localization strategy, here are some best practices:

  1. Decide which keywords to target and which keywords should be retained in the original language, translated, or transliterated (written in the script of the target language)
  2. Use native speakers to be regionally specific in your translations; don’t entirely rely on Google Translate
  3. Plan how to handle difficult terminology (such as product names, technical or legal terms, etc.)
  4. Review by someone who speaks the language natively
  5. Proofread, finalize, and publish

Create a content localization workflow that makes sense for your business and update it to improve efficiency.

5. Hire the Necessary Vendors

Once your workflow is designed, you can start hiring or assigning the necessary people.

If you’re doing this internally, brief your employees/teams about the project’s purpose and how they will contribute. Then, assign them content to be localized and get to work.

If you want to outsource your translation efforts, then you’ll need to find the right vendors and tools

1. Choose the Right Translation Agency

Here are some factors to consider when hiring localization and translation services:

  • Has the necessary qualifications such as ISO 17100 certification specific to translation services
    • “Industry certifications like ISO are important because legal clients need to know that their documents are classified” – Gunnar Hallgrimsson, Business Development Manager at Directum Translations
  • Supports multiple languages and language combinations (for example: different dialects of Spanish)
  • Provides confidentiality assurance, if needed
    • “It helps clients to know that when they send their documents over, those documents are being held securely” – Gunnar
  • Works with native translators having domain expertise
  • Familiar with your industry and has worked with similar clients in the past
  • Has a dedicated project team to manage the translation process

2. Use Localization Tools

There are many solutions that centralize content production, marketing, advertising, and outreach efforts, even for localization. Here are some types of content localization tools to consider:

  • Self-translation services
  • Translation management systems
  • Translation memory
  • Glossary
  • Language switcher plug-ins
  • Automatic website localization software
  • Multi-currency plug-ins
  • Schema markup
  • Geo-targeting
  • Local and international SEO tools
  • Keyword research and rank-tracking tools
  • Quality assurance tools
  • Local phone numbers
  • Integrations
  • Analytics and reports

Related: How to Display International Contact Phone Numbers on Your Website?

6. Start Localizing

With all the right steps in place, you’re ready to launch your content localization strategy and start communicating with a wider, global audience.

Localizing content like this does take a few weeks to a month, depending on the size of your project. And the results will follow through shortly once you have everything set up. It’s a good idea to use analytics and metrics to gauge the success of your localization efforts. Local and international SEO tools can provide you with this data and information.

How Can Global Call Forwarding Help?

We at Global Call Forwarding understand the struggles that come with growing a global business. We also know how international revenue can support the future of such a business. After all, we’ve grown into a global business since United World Telecom – our sister company – formed 26 years ago.

Now, we help other businesses achieve their global expansion goals by providing cloud communication solutions.

Learn more about how we can support your business or browse through the features and services we offer on our website. To get a more customized plan, speak with our telecom experts; call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us today!

How to Display International Contact Phone Numbers on Your Website? (with Examples)

It seems pretty straightforward, right? Display your phone number on your website, so customers know how to call your business for support or sales. But, what if you have multiple phone numbers? Or, international phone numbers for different office locations? What is the best way to ensure customers know which number to call for a reliable and good caller experience?

In this article, we’ll go over various ways your business can display international phone numbers on your website, along with visual examples.

Displaying International Phone Numbers on Your Website

So, why do you need to pay attention to how you display your international phone numbers?

If you’re not intentional in where and how you place your business phone numbers on the website, customers may find it difficult to contact you. And this is especially true for those with international clientele. A global business has multiple target locations. So, when you don’t indicate which number goes to which country, customers may end up calling the wrong location. Or, they may not call your business at all to avoid the trouble, resulting in low customer satisfaction and even customer loss.

And so, when displaying your international phone numbers on your website, you want to highlight which location, office, department, and number format customers should follow. This makes the information accessible, enabling customers to contact your business without any issues.

Now, let’s look at some ways to display your international numbers online:

1. International Websites

Most global businesses have different websites for their international audiences. More plainly, they convert (or localize) their main website to meet the different cultural and language needs of their target countries. This is a strategy a lot of international businesses use to localize their web content and make it accessible to a global audience.

So, if your business is xyz.com, the Spanish website for your Spanish-speaking customers would be xyz.com/es, while the French website for your customers in the European country would be xyz.com/fr.

If you have such websites (or plan to build them out in the future), they make for the perfect place to display your country-specific phone number. In other words, display your Spain toll-free or local number on your Spanish website and the France phone number on your French website.

Example of multiple phone numbers on website

Web visitors will choose the language they prefer, which is usually their national language. So, they will navigate to that version of your website. And here, they will find the right international number to call your business or your regional team.

Another example of multiple contact phone numbers on website

Learn more about the different types of numbers you can get in our Guide to International Phone Numbers.

2. Phone Number Dropdown Menu

Now, suppose you have more than 4-5 international phone numbers for all your target regions but don’t want to create separate international websites for each. In that case, you will need a simpler solution to display your numbers.

Here’s where a phone number dropdown menu can come to the rescue:

display number in footer

Depending on your website’s creation, you can place this phone number dropdown menu on the top-right side of your homepage or contact page. Either way, choose a location that customers commonly navigate to find help. Then, add your various numbers along with the name of the region. You may even include country flags if desired.

3. ‘Contact Us’ Page with List

Another option for businesses with many international phone numbers is to list all their numbers on the ‘Contact Us’ page. Here, they can create a chart or table with numbers for every country and even include calling instructions and formats.

display directory webpage

You can also add instructions related to different departments. This way, customers calling know exactly how to get to the right team quickly, making your business responsive.

4. ‘Contact Us’ Page Highlighting Global Offices

For a more visually appealing alternative to the list, you can simply include information about all your global offices and locations on your ‘Contact Us’ page. Here, you don’t only provide the phone number, but also the address. This is a great way to display your international phone numbers if you have local offices in these regions.

display map pages

Some businesses even combine the two — they have a short list of numbers on the top and then include addresses further down the page. In any case, you’re free to play around with the design of your ‘Contact Us’ page. However, the crucial thing is that web visitors are able to quickly find what they need without having to dive deep into your website.

5. Phone Numbers for Different Departments

Now, if you have different international contact phone numbers for various departments, you’ll want to make that information easily available as well.

display contact block

The trick with this format is to be concise and clear. Too many numbers and too much information can easily lead to confusion. You must make it easy for customers to find the department they need for their country in just a few steps or scrolls. More than that, and you’ve lost them.

Carefully Decide How to Display International Contact Phone Numbers

How you display your international phone numbers on your website directly impacts how many customers and prospects contact your company. If they find it hard to call you, they may choose a different company to do business with. So, take time to decide what’s the best way to showcase your phone numbers in a way that makes sense for your customers.

Want to learn more about international phone numbers and how to improve call connections? Our experts and consultants at Global Call Forwarding can help! Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online.

Which International Phone Number Type is Right for My Business?

More than 76% of consumers prefer phone calls for support interactions. This means your business needs a way to offer reliable and convenient voice communication to customers worldwide. In other words, you need the right business phone number, whether your customers are local or international.

There are a few different types of international phone numbers that businesses can use to expand their global reach and provide reliable and uninterrupted service.

To choose the right international phone number, you must first understand the different types of business phone numbers available.

Understanding the Different International Phone Number Types for Business

So, how do you choose which international phone number type is right for your business?

Here are some things to consider before buying an international number for business communication:

  • Which countries do you want to communicate with? Where will customers call from?
  • What is the purpose of these numbers? Global customer support, an internal help desk, sales, etc.
  • How can you expand internationally cost-effectively?
  • Can you conduct business operations virtually?
  • Do you want to establish local points of presence with a physical office and in-house staff?
  • How easy do you want to make it for customers to reach your business?

You can learn more in our Guide to International Phone Numbers.

Based on these questions, you’ll have a better idea of your phone number needs. Now, let’s have a look at the different types of international phone numbers, along with:

  • How each number type works
  • International phone number format
  • Pros and cons
  • Relevant documentation information

Related: Learn about Phone Number Regulatory Compliance

1. Local Phone Numbers (Geographic Numbers)

Local phone numbers are virtual numbers with area codes assigned to particular towns or cities in a country. These local numbers – like national and mobile, and unlike toll-free numbers – can be reached from outside the country as well.

Businesses can have geographic numbers that are tied to specific cities. These are charged at the rate of a local call. They’re good for establishing a local presence overseas, as they enable your business to have an in-country appearance.

Companies can also use local phone numbers as employees’ direct numbers and for more localized campaigns.

Example of a local phone number: 561-xxx-xxxx, where 561 is the Boca Raton, Florida area code or 020-4xxx-xxxx, where 204 is the London area code.

Pros

  • Locals recognize local area codes and phone number formats.
  • Establish your local business presence in another country or city.
  • Perfect to use as employees’ direct phone numbers.
  • More effective for hyper-localized marketing campaigns.
  • Increases response and connection rates.
  • Low prices for most target countries.

Cons

  • Documentation can be a bit strict, especially for European cities.
  • Businesses share the cost for these calls.
  • Multiple numbers required for different target markets.

2. Toll-Free Numbers

Toll-free numbers are free for callers. In other words, toll-free numbers are free to dial, so the recipient pays for these calls.

These numbers add credibility to businesses (especially for small-to-medium companies) as they present a more comfortable, reliable, and accessible calling solution for customers and prospects. As such, toll-free numbers are ideal for sales, support, and internal help desk hotlines.

However, these numbers can only be reached from within the specified country. And so, they’re not ideal if your company wants to have a single business phone number for multiple countries.

Cloud phone service providers also offer international toll-free numbers. Businesses can get these for different countries and forward incoming calls to desired destinations worldwide. Callers from those countries can call the company for free.

Example of a toll-free phone number: 1-888-xxx-xxxx, where 1-888 is a US and Canada toll-free code.

Pros

  • Customers can call your business for free from within the origin country.
  • Locals recognize common, regional toll-free prefixes, such as 800, 1-800, and 0800.
  • Cost-effective way to connect with international customers.
  • Documentation usually isn’t as strict

Cons

  • ITFS numbers are not reachable from other countries.
  • Each country requires its own ITFN; multiple numbers are needed for multiple countries.
  • Business bears the costs for these calls.

3. National Numbers

National numbers are similar to local numbers, except they’re not tied to a specific city. However, you can use these numbers to establish your business presence in a country. In other words, they help you develop a more nationwide presence instead of a citywide presence. These numbers are usually reachable from anywhere in the world.

Example of a national number: 0330-xxx-xxxx, where 330 is the national code of the UK.

Pros

  • Not tied to particular cities.
  • Accessible from throughout the target country.
  • Charged the same as local numbers. Good alternative to local numbers because the documentation is less strict.

Cons

  • Customers are more familiar with the local area codes of their cities.
  • International access is limited.

4. Mobile Numbers

Mobile numbers are like cell phone numbers. They’re reachable from anywhere in the world, and some even have incoming SMS capabilities.

What sets mobile numbers apart is that they work very well as employees’ direct phone numbers. Employees can include this business contact number in their sales pitches, support outreach, and email signatures to encourage more connections.

Example of a mobile number: 0xxx-xxx-xxx for Australia mobile numbers.

Pros

  • Offer customers a convenient way to communicate with your business.
  • Engage customers through a medium they are comfortable with.
  • Reduce call volume by offering another communication channel.

Cons

  • Lacks comprehensive country coverage.
  • Mobile numbers do not work for OTP verification (messaging or social media verification such as WhatsApp, etc.).
  • Text messages can be forwarded to business email addresses.

Choosing Your International Business Number

Business phone numbers are important for developing strong relationships with your customers, prospects, and vendors.

As you can see, there are a few different ways to integrate international phone numbers into your communication stack. Even if you already have a business number, you can use other international numbers to target new markets and extend your support coverage.

Check out our Country Coverage to see if we cover your target countries.

Still unsure what’s the right choice for your business? Our experts and consultants at Global Call Forwarding can help you find the perfect solution for your communication needs. Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online.