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Blog - January 29, 2018

Entering a new country? Get your service numbers early!

Organizing your customer contact set-up for a new country is integral to territory expansion. You can’t launch your new sales operation without it. You can’t get your contact center operational, or even advertise its existence, until you have acquired the customer service numbers for your customers to call.

Entering a new country Get your inbound numbers early s

New customer contact center

Bringing a new customer contact center to life means getting a lot of things in place. If you’re setting up a new physical location, that includes everything from the site itself to the telephony hardware, software, staffing and more. Among all this, securing your customer service numbers may seem trivial but it actually involves more knowledge, expertise, work and time than you may expect.

Even if you’re just adding new territory capability to an existing contact center, you need to work on acquiring your numbers well before you plan to use them. If you don’t, there is a high risk your company’s new country launch will need to be put on hold.

Five essential aspects

Here are the five essential aspects of customer service number acquisition you need to plan ahead for:

  1. Legal obligations
    Inbound customer service numbers must comply with relevant legislation in the country they are called from. This can apply to a wide range of aspects. From the classification of the prefix to how callers are informed about tariffs and charges. The numbers must be registered with all the relevant authorities. Meeting your legal obligations requires the knowledge of where to look for the rules, the expertise to ensure you’re fully compliant and the resources to keep up with changes.
  2. Cultural perceptions
    It may not seem obvious, but many people’s decisions to call customer service are influenced by their perception of the number itself. Is it going to be expensive? Will it lead to the right department? Is it a number that has a bad luck vibe? In some countries and cultures, there are strong associations with particular prefixes and number combinations. And these can vary wildly from place to place. Selecting numbers your customers will be confident to call, in each territory, takes a lot of behind-the-scenes knowledge.
  3. Multiple providers
    Choosing and securing your contact numbers is often arranged via the local telco. For each new country you enter, there’s a chance you’ll need to establish a new relationship with a provider you’ve never worked with before. To secure your numbers, and negotiate the best terms, you have to find out who you need to deal with and get to know how your new partners work.
  4. Extensive administration
    You’ll need to ensure your accounts and administration systems are set up to handle invoices from new service providers and regulatory bodies. Operating customer care in a new country means more work for your accounts department. Are they ready to take on the extra load?
  5. Lengthy activation processes
    It can be a drawn-out process to register and activate your chosen numbers with all the relevant local parties. You need to communicate the correct information to multiple organizations, whose administration systems may operate at a slow pace. It can take a lot longer than you might expect to get your new numbers live. You need to get the relevant processes underway well in advance of your planned publicity and go-live dates.

Want to make this easier and faster?

You can, of course, do all of the above yourself but it will save you a lot of time and effort if you leave it to an expert. Like us for example. We will happily lift this task off your shoulders and make sure your expansion isn’t held back because of customer service numbers.