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Planning Your Transition to Cloud Communications

How to seamlessly transition to cloud communications.

Growing a business means upgrading your systems and tech to use more efficient solutions that will help your employees do their job better. Upgrading your business communications, in that vein, …Read More »

What is Call Analytics?

what is call analytics

Wouldn’t it be nice to know where most of your prospects are located? Or, what marketing and social channels they use frequently? Call analytics is one way to gather this …Read More »

Guide to Effective Remote Team Communication

guide to remote team management

In our globalized world and with the rise of a tech-savvy workforce, international companies have promoted and embraced diversity in their teams. This opportunity has brought talented individuals together to …Read More »

8 Reasons to Expand Internationally

8 reasons to go global with your business.

There’s a stage in every small-to-medium-sized business’ life where you ask: is it time to take the next step and pursue international expansion? And while many companies have achieved global …Read More »

Top 8 Countries for Call Center Outsourcing in 2021

Top countires for call center outsourcing in 2021.

When your business is ready to outsource its customer service and business processes, you will need to know where to get cost-effective and high-quality services. While call centers are available …Read More »

Transforming Your Legacy Contact Center

How to transform your legacy contact center.

The growth rate for call centers and contact centers continues to rise, with more businesses looking to outsource their sales and customer service. And with advancements in telecommunications and global …Read More »

guide to remote team management

Guide to Effective Remote Team Communication


8 reasons to go global with your business.

8 Reasons to Expand Internationally


Top countires for call center outsourcing in 2021.

Top 8 Countries for Call Center Outsourcing in 2021


How to transform your legacy contact center.

Transforming Your Legacy Contact Center


Comparing types of global expansion strategies.

Comparing the Types of International Expansion Strategies [with Examples]


What is customer service automation

Customer Service Automation: Definition, Features, and Best Practices


cloud contact center

What is a Cloud Contact Center? Definition, Features, Benefits


what is a geographic number

What is Geo-Routing and How Can Geographic Routing Help Your Business?


what-is-global-telephony-provider

What is a Global Telephony Provider and How To Choose One?


call metrics

6 Call Metrics to Track in Your Global Marketing Campaigns


upgrade legacy systems

Modernizing Legacy Phone Systems: How and Why to Upgrade?


advanced call routing

9 Benefits of Advanced Call Routing


what is call routing explained

What is Call Routing?


call center attrition

9 Ways to Reduce Call Center Agent Turnover


must have business phone apps

Improve Productivity With These Must-Have Business Phone Apps


customer success manger

11 Key Responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager in a SaaS Company


How Will Brexit Affect My Business? A Quick Guide

New changes are happening all over the world — from adopting new business processes to nurturing social movements to adjusting to the global pandemic. And the much-talked-about Brexit deal is one of these major changes. Curious about what Brexit means for businesses in the UK and EU? In this article, we look at the different business-related areas that will feel the impacts of the new Brexit deal.

How is Brexit Affecting Business in the EU and UK

Companies and business owners across the EU and UK are worried about Brexit and business continuity. As the transition period comes to an end, many businesses in Britain and Europe are wondering, “how will Brexit affect my business?” From business travel to communication to new customs regulations, there are many ways the Brexit deal can impact your business processes. In this post, we discuss how Brexit will affect:

  • Business Travel
  • Working and Studying Abroad (Work Visas, Education, and Erasmus)
  • Impact on Trade (Customs, Supply Chain, VAT Regime)
  • Mobile Roaming and Calling Charges
  • Online Services

Let’s get into the different ways that Brexit may affect businesses in the EU and United Kingdom.

1. Business Travel

One of the main areas that the new Brexit deal affects EU and UK companies is in regards to the new restrictions on business travel. Individuals traveling for work from the EU to the UK and vice versa have new regulations to keep in mind.

British travelers will face restrictions on their passports. For example, British travelers will need at least 6 months left on their passports to travel to the EU. While these travelers don’t need a visa to enter the EU, they will need travel authorization. At immigration, they may be questioned about the duration of their stay, returned bookings, financing plans, and so on. Conversely, national ID cards are no longer valid for European travelers entering Britain, except for particular cases. And EU travelers will need to go through customs checks at UK airports.

Other changes:

  1. Additionally, duty-free shopping will continue. However, there will be new allowances for the quantity of goods you can bring back to the United Kingdom.
  2. There is also a new set of rules and regulations to follow when driving abroad. UK licenses will no longer be recognized as the same as the EU. And British drivers driving in the EU may require an international driving permit.
  3. The EU will lose access to professional service providers (doctors, veterinarians, engineers, architects, etc.) from the UK. These professions will not be automatically recognized in Europe. And UK professionals with these qualifications will have to jump through regulations to get recognized.
  4. Financial services will also be affected. UK-registered and regulated banks have announced (and started making) plans to close accounts of citizens residing in the EU or EU economic area.

2. Working and Studying Abroad

With the new Brexit deal, working and studying abroad (between the UK and EU) has become more complicated. Since the Four Freedoms of the EU — freedom of movement of goods, capital, persons, and services — no longer apply to British citizens, they do not benefit from visa-less employment and education within the EU.

Work Visas

The UK will issue a new points-based immigration system that treats EU & non-EU citizens the same. With this new system, travelers from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland can travel to the UK for short trips without a visa. However, longer stays and employment will require an application under the new points-based system. As explained in TLDR News’ video on how Brexit will affect work visas, the points-based system requires applicants to accumulate a minimum of 70 points. Out of the 70 points, individuals applying must have a job offer (20 points), demonstrate a high skill level (20 points), and speak English (10 points) — these are mandatory. The remaining 20 points can be achieved through the other criteria as listed by the government.

Education and Erasmus

To study in any of the European countries, British citizens will require a visa from particular EU countries, if their courses run longer than 3 months. Additionally, they will no longer qualify for domestic fees when studying abroad. All of this makes going abroad for education more expensive.

Furthermore, British universities will no longer participate in the Erasmus program. This means that European students won’t be able to study temporarily in the UK through the program. And students who still want to pursue higher education in the UK will have to apply through the new points-based immigration system and deal with higher international fees.

3. Impact on Trade

While Britain was part of the EU, companies could buy and sell goods across EU borders without paying taxes. Additionally, there were no limits on the amount of items that could be traded. However, with the Brexit deal, a few changes come into effect:

Customs/Border Tariffs

Since exiting the EU Customs Union, Great Britain will longer enjoy the benefits of free trade, making the movement of goods across the EU and UK more difficult. Now, British importers and exporters (trading with Europe) are considered non-residents. Because of this, goods moving between the UK and EU now require customs declarations. However, these goods will not be subject to tariffs.

On the other hand, businesses that used to face competition from overseas (EU) companies will enjoy a competitive advantage. This is because UK customers will have to choose between expensive imports and cheaper domestic products.

Supply Chain

Businesses can expect delays in their supply chain, including shipping and deliveries, due to border checks and queues. It is expected that the “EU would immediately implement tough new checks on agri-food products, with no grace period.” This is not good news for perishable goods as they may get caught up in these checks and queues.

VAT Regime

UK will no longer be bound by the EU’s VAT regime. As a result, importers and customers receiving goods from the EU will be subject to VAT for imports. The British government might decide to change the system, including making new goods 0% VAT-rated. However, what exactly will happen in the UK related to the VAT regime is still not concretely decided.

4. Mobile Roaming and Calling Charges

Many are wondering if Brexit will bring roaming charges back to businesses and customers. More specifically, will Brexit mean that phone calls between the EU and UK are considered international?

While part of the EU, British phone carriers were subject to EU phone laws. Through these laws, people could call, text, and use data on the same terms in the United Kingdom and across Europe. In other words, they could use their data at no extra fees, even when within the EU. Unfortunately, these laws no longer apply to UK phone carriers. And carriers are not legally required to offer the same rates as they did before.

As of December 2020, Vodafone confirmed that they had no plans to bring back roaming charges. Other major operators — O2, EE, 3 — haven’t publicly confirmed that they will increase calling rates.

If roaming charges are brought back, businesses in and outside of Britain and the EU can use virtual phone numbers as an alternative. For example, an EU company can get a UK phone number to connect with local customers in the UK without worrying about roaming or international charges.

5. Online Services

Lastly, when within the EU, there was a legal guarantee that the UK would have access to online services. However, this guarantee is no longer valid. Individual providers will need to decide how to make adjustments and amend their provisions.

How Global Call Forwarding Can Help with Brexit

The Brexit deal has led to both victories and uncertainties for people of different sectors in the UK and EU societies. Global Call Forwarding can ease some of these concerns by providing businesses in the UK and EU with virtual phone numbers to help transition more effectively. You can sign up for a European virtual phone number or buy a toll free UK number on our website. Or, speak with our global specialists at 1 (888) 908 6171 to get a better understanding of how we can support your business during this change.

Top 8 Countries for Global Expansion in 2021

Take your business to the global stage in 2021 by extending services to these countries. Here we highlight 8 top countries to consider for global expansion. We also list important resources such as business contacts and business phone numbers.

8 Countries to Consider for Global Business Expansion in 2021

What do you need to make your global expansion successful? Here are a few global expansion best practices to pay attention to:

  • Before entering new markets:
    • Research the market and review your competition
    • Plan and outline exactly how you will target and enter new markets
    • Conduct test marketing to examine how your product will perform and how new customers will react to your product
  • While entering new markets:
    • List down essential local authorities to work with
    • Develop local partnerships
    • Get local business phone numbers to create communication channels
    • Utilize international marketing to increase brand awareness
  • Once you’ve entered the new market:
    • Use an international call forwarding service to stay connected with your customers, no matter where you are located
    • Take advantage of around the clock and multichannel customer support
    • Satellite offices and remote workers can help develop a strong local presence
  • Attaining global expansion after COVID-19:
    • Utilize global communication tools to stay connected with your valued customers
    • Demonstrate how your business is following COVID safety protocols
    • Invest in online security and privacy measures
    • Secure your supply lines and vendors

Keeping these tips in mind, let’s now look at the top 8 countries for global expansion in 2021.

1. Thailand

Thailand — also called the “Land of the Free” — has been steadily growing its influence around the world. A Southeast Asian country located between Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, and in close proximity to Malaysia, Thailand is in a prime position for international trade. Forbes has ranked Thailand as the 8th best-emerging market of 2021. Foreign direct investment has been successful in these major sectors: automotive, electronics, and digital sectors.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Foreign Licensing Department of the Ministry of Commerce
  • Thailand Board of Investment (BOI)
  • SMART Visa Program
  • Thailand 4.0
  • Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce
  • Revenue Department
  • National Innovation Agency (NIA)

Related: Thailand Virtual Phone Numbers

2. Malaysia

Even though Malaysia is a small country, it has a fast-growing economy with a high-skilled population. Malaysia has ranked high for its business-friendly environment, entrepreneurship, and quality of life. The main reason businesses look to expand to Malaysia is due to its favorable tax environment and affordable manufacturing costs.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Communications and Multimedia
  • Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC)

Related: Malaysia Virtual Phone Numbers

3. China

China has been in the news for a variety of reasons in 2020. However, despite being the first epicenter of the coronavirus and being under lockdown for months, the country is projected to bounce back at uncharacteristic speed through a Belt and Road Initiative. As such, businesses may want to consider adding China to their global expansion list.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Professional Employment Organization (PEO)
  • RMB Accounts
    • Bank of Communications
    • China Merchants Bank
    • Ping An Bank
    • Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
  • Chinese Visa Applications
  • U.S.-China Business Council

Related: China Virtual Phone Numbers

4. Philippines

The Philippines, though a small country, has one of the best performing stock markets in Asia and a liberalized and business-friendly economy. Its economy has quickened and it has been projected to sustain positive growth for the next 6 years. Additionally, there are many resources, networks, and market opportunities that support new businesses and help them grow in the Philippines.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Philippine Embassy or Consulate
  • Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
  • Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL)
  • Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
  • Cooperative Development Authority

Related: Phone Numbers in the Philippines

5. Switzerland

Switzerland boasts a highly competitive economy, a skilled and talented workforce, and is a hub for innovation. Its policies and business opportunities are highly attractive to foreign investments. Take advantage of its business culture and quality of life to further develop your business.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Agreement of Free Movement of Persons
  • State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)
  • Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
  • Switzerland’s commercial register
  • Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Registry

6. Indonesia

More and more investors are looking at Indonesia as part of their global expansion plan. This country’s business scene has many positive elements such as ease of doing business, cross-border trade capabilities, the ability for foreign investors to own land, and more.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)
  • Ministry of Law and Human Rights
  • Ministry of Manpower
  • Online Single Submission (OSS) System

Related: Indonesia Toll Free Numbers for Business

7. Australia

Australia has been maintaining its steady economic growth for the past 25 years. Being a sustainable investment destination, Australia has attracted — and continues to attract — foreign investment from all over the world.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC )
  • Australian Government Business Registration Service (BRS)
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Private service provider (PSP)
  • Domain Administration Ltd

Related: How to Get Australian Phone Numbers

8. Italy

Italy boasts a stable economy and a strong manufacturing sector. This along with its stable political climate and pro-investment culture makes Italy a good choice for global expansion.

Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:

  • Register of Enterprises in Italy
  • Registrar of Companies
  • Italian Tax Authorities

Related: Italy Virtual Phone Numbers

Expand Globally in 2021

Take your business to the global stage in 2021 by expanding to new target markets and increasing your customer base. Establish connections, build global networks, test the market, and improve your global sales, one step at a time. We at Global Call Forwarding have the tools you need to communicate globally with your customers and business contacts. Call or chat with us today to learn more!

International Phone Etiquette for Business in 2021

Dealing with global customers is not always easy. Add to this, cultural differences, language barriers, and cultural nuances, and you have yourself a messy situation. However, you can prepare better so that you navigate these differences professionally and develop valuable relationships. Follow the appropriate international phone etiquette when conducting business interactions with international customers and clients.

What is Proper International Phone Etiquette?

When working with global customers and clients, you will have to have in-person, phone, and video conversations to move forward or close deals. Oftentimes, people are so used to doing business within their country or locally that they may be unaware of international business conventions.

International phone etiquette is the awareness of the differences and subtleties between various countries and regions and how to navigate these differences in order to communicate effectively.

How to Communicate Well with International Customers

So, what factors of international communication do you need to keep in mind when connecting with global customers? Here are some key elements to pay attention to:

1. Respect their Titles
When conducting business interactions, make sure you are aware of local conventions for addressing your attendees. Different countries have different cultural conventions for addressing one another. For example, in the US, using words such as “guys” may be common during business meetings. However, in countries like Japan and Germany, conventions are different: In Japan, it is polite to address someone by their first name, followed by “san.” On the other hand, in Germany, first names are not preferred. Instead, people are addressed by Herr/Frau followed by their last name. Being aware of these nuances can help you develop demonstrate respect and stronger relationships.

2. Listen Carefully and Actively
When dealing with international clients and business partners, a common challenge is understanding and interpreting accents. A second challenge is misunderstanding cultural references. To counter this issue, listen actively and carefully and when needed, ask for clarification. This is an important part of international phone etiquette. Furthermore, be clear in your own pronunciation and diction; speak slowly and clearly. If required, rephrase your sentence for better clarity and to avoid misunderstandings.

3. Don’t Use Slang
Avoid local and cultural slang, colloquialisms, or references as this may not work in an international setting. You will end up leaving your business partners or clients confused and they may see this as a sign of informality. In some cases, you may even offend some one. Awareness is required to identify and steer away from slang terms, phrases, and buzzwords.

4. Avoid Frustrations and Talking Down
Lastly, be careful when toeing the line of speaking clearly and dumbing down your words and sentences. You may run the risk of offending someone and sounding rude and patronizing. Be patient and focus on the common goal of communicating effectively.

Why is it Important to Practice Phone Etiquette?

Being aware of and practicing international phone etiquette can go a long way in securing essential deals and developing significant relationships. For many companies and clients, conducting business via phone and video conversations is a new shift.

In fact, some may still be apprehensive of closing deals without face-to-face interaction. If you do not show respect during phone conversations or are unaware of international business conventions, you may lose a valuable business relationship. And so, practicing phone etiquette can help you ease any discomfort and hesitancy.

The Do’s and Don’t of International Phone Etiquette

Below, we will look at the Do’s and Don’ts of international business phone etiquette for the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • China
  • South Africa
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • UAE
  • India
  • UK
  • Italy
  • USA
  • Japan

Australia australia

Do: Be bold. The business culture is accepting and respectful of new perspectives, even if they contradict others’ point of view. Expect business calls to be conducted in a relaxed affair, often casual and not purely focused on business. You may even be invited to informal gatherings outside of work.

Don’t: Avoid being too formal and procedural; business in Australia is often casual. Don’t schedule calls during the afternoons; Australian value and respect a work/life balance.

Brazil brazil

Do: People on the phone often confirm the identity of who they are speaking to, even if the phone call was arranged. So, expect to reiterate who you are.

Don’t Don’t be taken back by interruptions during important conversations. Enthusiastic and lively conversations are part of the Brazilian culture and interruptions and informal chatting are common.

China china

Do: Answer phone calls no matter where you are or what you are doing. Personal relationships are essential to the Chinese business culture, so strive to maintain relationships.

Don’t Don’t ignore calls, even if you are unprepared. Avoid rushing into decision-making or deal-closing processes; take time to nurture and create relationships.

France france

Do: The French have a conversational style of communication. Expect interruptions and enthusiastic tones.

Don’t: Avoid making small talk; it is often considered unnecessary and can make the recipient uncomfortable. Don’t schedule calls for small matters that could easily be discussed in an email. Lastly, don’t speak in French unless you speak the language fluently.

Germany germany

Do: Germany follows a formal code of conduct when it comes to business meetings and calls. They value efficiency and directness. It is normal to introduce yourself by stating your name, last name (surname), and the company you represent. Additionally, when addressing someone, use Herr/Frau (Mr/Mrs) and the person’s last name (surname) instead of their first name. Respect authorities and hierarchies.

Don’t: Avoid making business calls in the evening; specifically, after 5pm (M-T) and 4pm (F).

India india

Do: Begin by building a relationship or rapport through friendly and polite conversation.

Don’t: Avoid rushing right into business talk. Say “We’ll try” instead of “No” as a polite way of refusing. Avoid answering other calls when speaking with a client; the client should be your main priority.

Italy italy

Do: Get to the point quickly during business calls; Italian businesspeople are known to stay focused and will remind you when you begin to ramble. Focus on short-term goals and plans.

Don’t: Avoid small talk and casual conversation not related to work. Long-term goals and plans may not be discussed in every conversation.

phone etiquette

Japan japan

Do: Schedule business calls during office hours. Be aware of the meaning of the word “Yes” — unlike in the West, “yes” may mean maybe or perhaps instead of acceptance. Usually, “yes” is used as a polite alternative to “no.” Respect hierarchies and authorities.

Don’t: Avoid answering phone calls in public (business meetings, restaurants, public transport). Don’t slam the phone at the end of the call; place it down gently instead.

Mexico mexico

Do: Persistent calling is acceptable; don’t give up too easily.

Don’t: Most Mexican business is done during in-person meetings and so don’t try to close a deal over the phone.

Russia russia

Do: Be patient. Scheduling meetings and progressing through business processes and transactions can take a while.

Don’t: Avoid trying to close a deal through phone conversations as most business transactions and deals are made via in-person meetings.

South Africa south africa

Do: Business in South Africa relies on physical appearances and so in-person meetings are preferred over phone conversations.

Don’t: Business in South Africa occurs in a slow and orderly fashion and so avoid asking for specific deadlines or fast negotiations. Don’t use translators; English is the language business is conducted in.

Spain spain

Do: Be prepared for a lengthy business call filled with small talk and arguments relating to work.

Don’t: Greeting with “Hola” is considered disrespectful.

United Arab Emirates uae

Do: Silence is common when deliberating over key decisions. Be wary of key nuances in the English language; for example, “yes” may mean perhaps or maybe instead agreement as it does in the West.

Don’t: Avoid asking how female relatives (wives and daughters) are doing—this is considered highly inappropriate.

United Kingdom uk

Do: Expect plenty of niceties and small talk before a meeting begins. Time is valuable; be punctual and apologize when late.

Don’t: Avoid time-wasting processes. Don’t eat when talking (in-person or on the phone).

United States of America us

Do: The American business culture is accepting and encouraging of conducting business over the phone or video conferencing; in-person meetings are not always required. Expect business decisions to be made quickly.

Don’t: Even though American business meetings are informal and casual in tone, punctuality and deadlines are important. So, don’t be late to meetings or in delivering projects and tasks.

Invest in the Right Tools for International Communication

Global Call Forwarding can support your international communication efforts with our international toll free numbers. You can sign up online or speak with our global specialists by calling 1 (888) 908 6171.

What is the Best Time to Make a Business Phone Call?

Sales teams and telemarketers are finding it increasingly difficult to connect with potential clients and prospects. This is because there is a growing intolerance for business calls interrupting one’s already hectic workday. However, sales and customer care teams can be smart about this and find better ways to connect with customers and prospects. To do this, you must identify the best time to make a business phone call and then train your agents and employees to follow professional and considerate business telephone etiquette.

What is the Best Time to Make a Sales Call?

Picking the best time to make a sales phone call depends on a variety of factors. These factors revolve around who your core and target demographic is and what their daily schedules are like:

  • Do they work 9-5 jobs?
  • Are they parents who will be busy taking care of their children before 9 AM and after 5 PM?
  • Are they students who have classes at various times of the day?

Determining your customers’ schedules can help you identify the best times to call them regarding a past or present purchase. Not only should you call at the appropriate time, but you should also maintain professional business phone etiquette. By practicing professionalism and respect for your clients’ time, you will increase the chances of developing good relationships and more conversions.

Best Days of the Week to Make Sales Calls

According to a recent study on the best times to cold call businesses, Wednesdays and Thursdays were identified as the best days of the week to call potential clients and customers. On Mondays, buyers and clients are easing into work mode and preparing for their upcoming week. Similarly, on Fridays, people are generally already in weekend mode and not looking for new business opportunities. Cold calls and unscheduled calls during this time are often sources of frustration and can lead to immediate rejection.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays — the middle of the week — individuals have settled into the workweek and are prepared for all kinds of business. During this time, your call will feel less like an interruption. As such, calls made on Wednesdays and Thursdays have a higher rate of translating into actual conversions.

Best Time of Day to Make a Business Phone Call

When calling customers and prospects, you have to be respectful of their time. Most telemarketers and salespeople fail to connect with their clients by calling them at the wrong time and proceeding to take up a lot of their time. So, what is the best time to make a business phone call?

The best time to make business calls is between 4 PM and 5 PM. Clients and potential buyers are getting done with their work around this time and have the mental capacity to consider your business or proposal. Avoid making calls early in the morning or when buyers are just getting settled into their workday. So, how early can you make a business call? The second best time for business calls is between 11 AM and 12 PM.

Also keep in mind, what time during the day your business will not have as much success cold calling. As a general rule of thumb, avoid making calls between 1 PM and 3 PM. This is the time most people take lunch and are least productive. Therefore, you may not get an ideal response. Furthermore, do not call clients after 6 PM, unless they give you permission to do so. You will only frustrate them during their free time and lose their business.

best time to call infographic

Other Sales Call Etiquette or Habits to Keep in Mind

As you can see, the recommendations for the best day and time to cold call clients take into account their schedules so you are not bothering them during peak hours. Following this thread, your team should also practice other healthy cold calling habits to maintain professionalism and improve the way your customers view the business. Here are some good business phone etiquette points and habits to follow:

  1. Always ask if they are available for a conversation; don’t jump right into the sales pitch.
  2. Don’t interrupt your customer; wait for them to finish.
  3. Don’t rush your prospect into making a decision or show frustration at the time they are taking.
  4. Don’t be distracted or eat during business calls; your customer should be your priority.
  5. Ensure there is no noise of conversations happening in the background.
  6. Return calls and follow up as promised.
  7. If you need to keep a customer on hold for a long time, ask to call them back instead of making them wait.
  8. The best time to call a prospect or customer is within an hour of them reaching out to you (via phone calls, emails, query forms, etc).
  9. Don’t call a prospect more than 6 times, if they have denied interaction.
  10. Use a business phone system that has high voice quality to avoid any miscommunication or need for additional callbacks.

Related: International Phone Etiquette for Business in 2021

Upgrade Your Business Phone System

Global Call Forwarding’s virtual phone systems offer high voice quality and global connectivity for businesses of varying sizes. You can start by purchasing a virtual phone number or porting your existing business number to our service and then building a phone system customized to your communication needs. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online to learn more!

7 Reasons to Get an International 800 Number

An international 800 number can help your business gain more credibility, improve customer satisfaction, and boost overall sales. This article features 7 reasons why you should get international toll free numbers for your business. Read on to learn more.

What Are the Benefits of Getting an International 800 Number?

International 800 numbers — also known as international toll free numbers or ITFNs — are toll free numbers assigned to different countries. Calls made to these numbers are forwarded to representatives in different countries or locations for answering.

Residents and contacts within those countries can call the number for free. While incoming calls to the recipient (your business) are forwarded to your country or another location as desired. Say your UK business has an Australia international 800 number. Australian residents can call this number for free and calls are then automatically routed to your office in the UK.

international 800 numbers

So, how can 800 numbers benefit your business? Here is a look at the top advantages.

1. Offer Customers a Free Calling Option

With an international 800 number, your international customers and contacts have the option to call your business for free. Being given easy access to connect with a business greatly increases the chances of customer engagement. Whether it is to inquire about a new product, plan a partnership, or receive customer support, individuals will hesitate less when calling a business with a toll free number.

2. Improve Your Company’s Professional Image

800 toll free numbers have a reputation. For years, small businesses and large corporations have used these business numbers to make customer calling simple. Toll free numbers are associated with large and established corporations that care for their customers. And so, getting an 800 number improves your professional image as a business that’s established and customer-focused.

3. Acquire More Credibility

Not only do 800 numbers increase customer engagement, but they also make your business seem more trustworthy and credible. A toll free number makes you more accessible and easily reachable. Customers can rest assured that when they need your business, they can connect with you quickly and without obstacles. This increases credibility and gives your customers confidence in your abilities to meet their needs.

4. Easy Mobility

ITFNs make it possible for you to move anywhere within the country or the world without changing your number. You can have incoming calls forwarded to any number, line, or VoIP phone of your choice. And so, even if you decide to move to a new location, simply change the forwarding specifics and keep your numbers.

5. Gain Local Presence in Different Countries

ITFNs enable you to advertise locally in different countries across the globe. You can, therefore, develop connections with local customers, advertisers, vendors, and other business contacts by creating and maintaining a local presence.

6. Improve International Sales

By advertising locally and entering your business in local directories and other platforms for locations you are trying to expand into, you can increase brand visibility and awareness. Both of these are important when it comes to increasing international sales. Having an 800 number indicates to customers that your business is positioned to do business, offer a service, and it demonstrates your business is local to their area.

7. Offer Global Customer Service

Finally, you can offer global customer service by staying connected and reachable. Good and quick customer service leads to high customer satisfaction rates. And this is the best way to maintain and retain valuable customers, as customers need to know you are available to support their issues and concerns.

Ready to Purchase an 800 Number?

To get international 800 numbers, simply sign up on our website by choosing the country you want to target or offer customer service to. You can add additional numbers later once your service is activated. Furthermore, having an international 800 number is an ideal way to strategically offer communications and customer service. Purchase one today to ensure your international expansion connects with customers in the most efficient, effective ways possible.

SMS is Not Dead: How Businesses Can Leverage SMS Marketing in 2021

No matter who you are, when you hear the familiar ping of your phone letting you know you have a message, it is almost impossible to resist the urge to see who wants to get in touch.

Most of us will stop what we are doing and have a quick look, just to check if the message is something urgent from a friend, family member or client.

This natural human instinct to respond to a notification is why SMS is by no means dead. In fact, it is alive, kicking and essential.

Consider that according to Deloitte’s Mobile Nation report, 89 per cent of Australians own a smartphone. And while there are plenty of messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, SMS capability is pre-loaded on every device.

What’s more, when it comes to using smartphones, research has found that texting is the number one activity, even above using the device for phone calls.

Despite this, most major brands don’t have a mobile marketing strategy. They leave this amazing opportunity on the table; often because they fail to realize how simple and affordable sending automated texts via a bulk SMS platform can be.

Email vs mobile marketing

Sending a bulk SMS to your customers really is as simple as sending an EDM.

And while email open rates can be depressingly low (20 per cent is seen as a great result), studies have shown that texts and bulk send SMS open rates can exceed 90 per cent.

Due to the endless flood of emails received each day, people are increasingly turning off their inbox notifications. This is probably why marketing emails usually sit unopened for over an hour, while mobile marketing messages tend to get noticed in five minutes or less. Click-through rates are higher with texts as well (6 per cent for email vs 36 per cent for SMS).

Switching to mobile marketing and adding an SMS strategy to your campaigns just makes good business sense.

Related: Even more fascinating statistics about SMS marketing from SMSGlobal

Ways to use mobile marketing

With a bulk SMS platform, you can contact your entire database with a major marketing message or send personalized messages based on where your customers are at in their journey.

Here are a dozen awesome ways to integrate SMS to your client communications:

  • Bulk send special offers and limited promotions
  • Automate appointment or event reminders
  • Confirm orders
  • Send package delivery notifications 
  • Send Christmas, birthday or ‘client anniversary’ wishes
  • Bulk send new product updates
  • Share links to helpful content
  • Send customer surveys (you can even send a question with a yes/no answer and request responses)
  • Send competition entry links
  • Issue e-tickets
  • Start personalized conversations
  • Establish simple or complex recurring message functions

The way you use SMS can be tailored to your business and your customers. Get creative and have fun or use a bulk SMS platform as a practical way to support the people who rely on your business.

Related: Offbeat ways businesses use SMS to increase engagement 

How to use mobile marketing

Communicating with your audience using a mobile messaging solution is relatively simple. Once you have created your strategy and identified which customers you want to get in touch with, all you need is a platform designed to integrate SMS messaging with your existing technology. 

For example, if your business uses Salesforce, Zapier, HubSpot, WordPress, BigCommerce or Magento, you can connect it to an SMS platform like SMSGlobal. When a client signs up, makes a purchase or indicates that they would like more information, a text can be scheduled or delivered immediately. 

A good provider that gives value for money will be able to adapt to your existing platforms and will have a ‘built for you’ service, so you and your team don’t have to spend time figuring out how to activate your mobile messaging solution. They will even be able to take on the challenge of creating a bespoke HTTP integration that can work with your business’ unique software. 

SMS is what you make it

If you want the most direct line to your customers, integrate SMS messaging and create a mobile marketing strategy. Thanks to the current technology available, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the messages you send and how you initiate conversations with your clients. 

What is Customer Journey Mapping? (2021)

(Updated on Feb 2021)

As a society, we have always been fascinated with storytelling. We like to know where we started, who we were, and how far we have come. The essence of such storytelling and journey mapping is simple — we want to know how we got where we are. This process of mapping out a story or journey spills into the business world. Businesses pay close attention to their customers’ journeys and how they arrive at a company. This is called customer journey mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping: How Does it Work?

Companies develop entire marketing plans around the movements of their customers. Of course, they have to map these movements to ensure their strategy is working. That’s where customer journey mapping can help.

So, what is customer journey mapping? Mapping customer journeys helps businesses tell the story of how their customers travel across their brands. For example, customers may interact with a specific business through their exhibitions, marketplaces, webinars, website, social media, email, chat, etc. These are the different touchpoints that customers may pass through which a customer connects with your brand. Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual strategy of how your customer travels through your business from their perspective. By doing this exercise, you can identify common pain points and strategize ways to improve customer experience.

Tracking your customer’s journey can be a complicated yet powerful process. Such tracking can help map out precisely where your customers are, where your business is excelling, and where improvements are possible.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what customer journey mapping is and how and why you should use it.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Customer Journeys

The vast majority of organizations don’t struggle to gather data. What they struggle with is understanding the frustrations and personal experiences of their customers. Understanding common customer pain points and their behaviors and expectations is crucial to the success of any business.

Tailoring to Meet Customer Expectations

Small to medium-sized businesses should map out customer journeys to identify ways to improve their service and product. For example, customers currently expect to connect with a company not only by phone calls but through email, live chat, social media, and even text messaging. As such, if your business does not offer omnichannel support, you may be missing out on a huge demographic. Another example is including customization and personalization. Stock emails and scripted messages won’t have the same effect as personalized messages and recommendations based on customer interaction.

Discovering a New Customer Base

Without closely watching customer journeys, you might miss out on key demographics and psychographics. When paying attention to the buyer journey and how certain customers arrive at your business and navigate through to purchase, you might discover a new customer base. Your marketing team can then devise strategies to appeal to this target audience and grow your customer base.

Providing Proactive Customer Service

Lastly, since your team’s priority is to identify and improve customer pain points, your business can take a more proactive approach to solve ongoing and new customer issues. You can also identify key touchpoints where customers welcome additional support and interaction. The bottom line is that you can use customer journey mapping to create customer-centric strategies.

customer journey mapping

How to Map Your Customer’s Journey

Customer journey mapping creates a framework that enables organizations to provide a better customer experience. To do this, you must document the customer experience from start to finish and identify potential improvements.

For example, if you own a coffee shop, you’d want to know what brought the customer in (i.e., Stage 1). Did they see an ad on Facebook? Did a friend tell them about your shop? Next, you’d want to know who helped them, who they had contact with, and how that exchange went. Was it pleasant? Then, you’ll want to know what motivated them to make a purchase. Was it the informative content on your website or in your email campaigns? Also, you’ll want to know what they thought of your product (the coffee) and whether or not they’d come back.

Using real-time information supplied by customer feedback is a step above surface-level data. Information and insights gained in these areas and across these touchpoints can help you visualize customer experience better.

Customer journey mapping does this all with the help of visual aids. Most maps are presented as infographics for easier digestion. Dimensions such as touchpoints, goals, and customer feedback are priceless to create an accurate customer journey map.

Tips for Creating Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey mapping should focus on building valuable insights and putting them in quantifiable maps. Identify your key touchpoints and factors that affect buyer journeys for your whole business or specific products.

Some questions to consider when mapping out the buyer journey include:

  • What is the customer thinking or feeling? Is something guiding their motivation or action?
  • What is the action?
  • What is their touchpoint with the business? (Examples: social media, paid ads, local directories, email, etc.)
  • Are there any changes that can be made to this step to improve customer experience?
  • What steps are needed to make this change?

Here are a few tips to help you do that:

1: Incorporate customer satisfaction measures.

2: Decide on the behavioral stages and develop data based on each stage.

3: Customize the journey map to match your audience (stakeholders might want different information than marketing departments, etc.)

4: Isolate your customers’ goals.

5: Identify key touchpoints (where do customers interact directly with your company?)

6: Get specific. Interact with your customers, survey them, and find out precisely when and how they get in touch with your business.

How to Use Customer Journey to Improve Marketing

The goal for any organization using customer journey mapping is to isolate the customer’s goals and perspectives and then use these insights to create a strategic and successful plan. An excellent customer journey map captures your customer’s experience concerning their needs and expectations. It helps you figure out how you stack up and exposes gaping holes in your strategy.

Essentially, they provide profound insight and create actionable steps for your organization. They show positive and negative interactions and help you replace those negative customer experiences with more positive and helpful ones.

By mapping out customer journeys and experiences, you can attempt to provide convenient and personalized service at every crucial touchpoint. Furthermore, you can create more accurate buyer personas for each step of your sales funnel. In short, mapping out customer journeys can support your inbound marketing efforts.

Related: Toll-Free Numbers for Marketing Campaigns

Using Customer Journey Mapping to Move Forward

Understanding how your customers interact with your products, service, or business helps your team take actionable steps towards an enhanced customer experience. It gives you the knowledge needed to expand and improve upon what you already offer. Clearly defining your audience, gaining greater insight into the customer lifecycle, and combining this knowledge with your team leads to tremendous business success. Use customer journey maps to ensure customers remain with your brand long-term while building strong client relationships.

Call Barging: What Is It and When Should You Use It?

When you call a company for customer support, often you will hear the message “this call is being recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.” Call recording and call monitoring allow managers to supervise customer service and sales agents to provide feedback. To continue this trend of supervision and monitoring, VoIP providers now offer call barging as a feature. In this post, we will outline how call barging works and its benefits.

What is Call Barging? Benefits of Using a Call Barging Feature

Call barging builds on call recording, call monitoring, and call whispering to allow managers to conference in on a call. Users are often confused by the above terms, so let’s do a quick review:

  • Call recording — records incoming calls and saves the recording to be reviewed later.
  • Call monitoring or call listening — allows users to listen in on an employee or agent’s call without interference.
  • Call whispering — allows users to interact with the employee or agent during the call without the customer’s knowledge.
  • Call barging — allows users to jump in on the call and interact with both the agent and the customer.

This way, call barging allows for conferences to occur between a manager/ supervisor, the employee, and the customer to resolve issues and provide alternatives and support.

So, how can your business benefit from using call barging?

1. Train Agents Thoroughly

Managers can join in on conference calls and train new agents by highlighting appropriate and successful behavior as well as teaching best practices for a call center in 2021. This way, agents can see firsthand how to handle customers and what moves are more successful than others.

2. Improve Quality Assurance

Call barging can improve quality assurance by letting managers and supervisors listen in on calls and jump in to help agents if required.

3. Implement Conflict Resolution

Reduce escalated calls by bringing managers in to resolve calls with angry or upset customers. Furthermore, call barging helps increase customer satisfaction and retention as agents don’t need to transfer the call to have a colleague or supervisor resolve issues.

4. Manage Remote Workers

If your team is working remotely, then call barging can help you monitor and manage virtual call center agents to ensure everyone is doing their job well. This feature can also be used to conduct yearly performance evaluations and more.

5. Offer VIP Support

Finally, you can offer special VIP service to valuable customers by having the manager join certain calls. This can help increase customer satisfaction by showing your loyal customers how much you care about their business.

When and How to Use Call Barging

Call barging should only be used when needed most. This includes training new agents, de-escalating an issue, or when an agent needs additional information that only a manager can provide. Avoid using this feature for every call as that can have negative effects on caller experience. Here are a few ways you and your teams can use call barging.

1. When Training New Agents

Call barging is useful when training new agents because managers not only get to monitor the potential of the new agent, but can also provide onboarding help. For example, during test calls or calls made early in the agent’s tenure. Being able to jump on a call can be a safety net for new agents as they start working.

2. When a Rep Needs Additional Guidance

If the agent is stumped by a question or doesn’t have the answer to a query asked by the caller, then bringing their supervisor in on the call can be helpful. The supervisor can answer the question and other follow-up questions and then leave the agent to close the deal or wrap up the session.

3. When an Angry Customer Requests the Manager

Finally, when an angry or upset customer asks for the manager, reps can quickly and easily bring managers in for de-escalation. This is useful as customers will appreciate not being transferred or having to wait to speak with the manager.

Improve Customer Support with Call Barging

Use call barging to give your customer service reps the tools they need to offer good customer support. Improve caller experience and keep your loyal customers close. To learn more, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171.

6 Ways to Automate Customer Service in 2021

Automating business processing is the best thing that has happened to companies struggling with completing projects and conducting professional customer service. Use virtual communication tools to automate customer service in 2021 and create a stronger, more reliable business communication system.

What is Customer Service Automation?

Customer service automation or automated customer support is the process of automating your customer service efforts with the use of technology and software. It means using automation to reduce the need for employee or agent involvement to complete simple, mundane tasks when offering assistance and support to customers.

Now, this does not mean that you won’t need any employees at all. Customer service automation isn’t necessarily a robots-taking-our-jobs situation. The only aspects of customer service to automate are the simple, repetitive tasks that take up agent time. Time which can be spent better helping a customer.

Why You Should Automate Customer Service in 2021

But how can your business benefit from customer service automation? The goal is to streamline processes and improve the quality of support your business offers. The reason to automate customer service in 2021 is to ensure that:

  • Customers reach the right department or employee
  • Calls are routed effectively so no calls are missed
  • Customers have multiple ways of connecting with your business (email, live chat, chatbots, trouble tickets, voicemail, etc.)
  • And that customers receive assistance and responses even when employees are busy

How to Implement Customer Service Automation?

By automating your support channels, agents and employees are better prepared and freed to assist callers. Let’s look at the best customer service tips for using automation to boost the way your business interacts with its customers:

1. Call Forwarding & Routing Strategies

For businesses with multiple departments and offices spread geographically, it can be hard to ensure callers reach the right department or employee immediately. And the last thing you want is for a customer to be bounced from one user to the next. With call forwarding, you can automate calls to route directly to the right department based on a variety of rules you set. So, how can you use call forwarding for phone system automation?

Time-based routing routes calls based on the time of the call. This ensures that when one of your offices closes for the day, calls are routed to another satellite office or your outsourcing company to maintain continuity.

Location-based routing forwards calls based on the location of the caller. Multinational and international companies find this feature most useful. They call route calls from their main location to offices in various locations or remote agents based on where the caller is situated. This ensures the caller receives assistance in their language and time zone.

Skill-based routing forwards calls based on the skill needed by the caller. By utilizing an interactive voice response (IVR), the caller can specify their preference such as a specific language or department required. The call then automatically routes to the agent with the aforementioned skill.

Call forwarding enables better call management ensuring that callers reach the right destination and get assistance efficiently. Good call management results in good first call resolution rates.

2. Simultaneous Ringing

Another form of call forwarding is Simultaneous Ringing which enables incoming calls to ring multiple phones with one number. This means that an incoming call is forwarded to every sales or customer service member in your entire office (satellite offices and remote agents included). This ensures that during a period of high call traffic, whichever employee is next available can answer the call quickly.

You can create a ring group to include different departments such as your main office’s customer support team, remote workers, and your BPO. You can adjust this ring group from time to time to add or remove users as needed. When you automate customer service this way, you ensure that there is always someone to answer the phone and assist a customer.

3. Automated Communications

Next, you may consider using other automated communication tools such as cloud IVR and chatbots. These automation tools can provide customer support and assistance even when employees are not on duty (i.e., off-hours or the weekend).

Cloud IVR provides a caller with menu options such as “Press 1 for ___, Press 2 for ___.” Then, depending on the caller’s requirement, the IVR offers more options or assistance. Most cloud IVR systems are able to help with simple tasks that don’t require the help of an agent. The same goes for chatbots available on your website’s ‘Chat with Us’ option. Chatbots also provide customer support by assisting web visitors in basic tasks. These tasks include:

  • Identifying or verifying the user or the account
  • Activating an account
  • Providing balance information (remaining balance and when it is due)
  • Processing payments
  • Renewing subscriptions
  • Sending the call to voicemail
  • Creating an issue or case ID and registering it within the system for the next available agent to view
  • Offering company information or product/service description

As such, you can use IVR and chatbot automation to offer customer support when agents are busy or off-duty. This way, users and interested customers continue to receive help during the times most convenient for them.

4. Voicemail and Fax to Email

Additional aspects of customer service are voicemail and faxing. Virtual phone service providers, like Global Call Forwarding, offer the ability to forward incoming voicemails and faxed documents to registered email addresses. For voicemail, this is called Voicemail to Email or Virtual Voicemail. For fax, this is called Fax to Email, eFax, or Fax over IP.

By receiving voicemails and fax documents in your inbox, users can remain in the know even when they are not in the office. They can hear the voicemail in the email attachment and determine the urgency of the call. Store these voicemails in the cloud for future reference. Additionally, store important fax documents forwarded to one’s email in a secure platform in the cloud. By doing so, users have better access to important business documents and can respond effectively.

5. Automated Email & SMS Responses

Another way to automate customer service is through automated responses. Using advanced email and SMS features, you can set up auto-replies or autoresponders when users sign up via your website or submit a query via email or SMS. These auto-replies can simply state that they received the customer’s email or provide them with a case ID for their issue or concern as well as a timeline for when to expect a response. This helps customers know that their query and email have been registered and they can expect a response soon.

6. Self-Service Portals and Knowledge Bases

Finally, help your customers help themselves by offering self-service portals and support knowledge bases. Your self-service portal can help them submit queries, request renewals or refills, make payments, and so on. This way, they do not need to call or email your business and wait in line. A knowledge base, on the other hand, provides informative content and guides relating to the products and services your business offers.

You can provide product descriptions, define the purpose of the products, or offer step-by-step guides on how to use the product or use your service, and so on. This reduces the number of calls received by customer service regarding product usage.

Take Steps to Automate Customer Service Now

More and more businesses are choosing customer service automation tools and services to improve the level and quality of support they provide. If you think your business can benefit from automating your customer service, then now is the time to start. Many businesses are facing a high volume of customer calls and emails regarding their products since the pandemic. This is due to shoppers moving online for their purchases. And so, your business must prepare to handle incoming calls effectively to offer excellent customer service. Try implementing the above automation services and tools and get ahead of the game as we move into 2021.