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How important are service numbers for cross-border success?

Cross-border e-commerce is booming business. More and more companies cross borders and sell their products or services in several countries. Customer service accessibility is easy to arrange with digital channels. But almost 60% of customers and prospects grab the telephone when it comes to urgent or complicated questions. And they prefer to use local numbers instead of foreign numbers. So, when your e-commerce is crossing borders, don’t forget about those service numbers.

service number and cross-border success


As a new player in a foreign market, it’s important to build trust. If a potential customer trusts your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. Having a local service number on your website helps. According to this article from Accenture, almost 60% of customers and prospects prefer to use the telephone for urgent or complicated questions. And they do not want to call abroad but rather use a local or national number. This makes your brand feel more approachable and trustworthy.

International routing

Many still consider the telephone to be the easiest customer service channel (check out this report by Shep Hyken). And with today’s technology, it doesn’t matter where your contact centers are located. Calls to local or national numbers can be delivered anywhere in the world. With the right routing, calls end up with agents who speak the same language or have the appropriate skills. This helps build up more of a connection and adds to the feeling of trust.

Things to keep an eye on

There are a few things to keep an eye on when using local or national service numbers:

  1. Do you need a local address
    In more and more countries it is mandatory to have a local address if you want to use a local telephone number. A good supplier can tell you more and knows what is required in which country so your numbers are compliant.
  2. What kind of number is common
    The common type of service number can vary from country to country. The easiest way to find out is to check with similar brands as yours and see what kind of numbers they use. Is it geographic, national, or toll-free? Preferably choose the same type of number.
  3. Is your number accessible to everyone
    It may sound strange if you are not familiar with it, but phone numbers can’t always be called from every phone/provider. Depending on the type of number and country, it’s possible that a number is not accessible for (some of the) mobile callers. That’s why sometimes you need two numbers from two providers so you don’t exclude people. A good supplier can provide clarity.
  4. Choose a reliable supplier
    Service numbers are easy to acquire these days. Online with a (local) supplier or with the supplier of your contact center platform for example. Make sure the supplier knows the local regulations so that you don’t make mistakes.
  5. Start on time
    Service numbers are not as easy and quick to acquire and activate everywhere. These processes vary per type of number and country. If you have a deadline, start this process on time. The faster you have a number up and running.

Independent supplier

There’s one important thing you need to be aware of when acquiring numbers with your contact center platform supplier. Make sure you know if you can take these numbers with you if you ever want to switch platforms. This isn’t always the case and not a pleasant surprise if you find out afterwards. You can easily avoid this by getting your numbers from an independent supplier with worldwide coverage, like us for example. This way you have one supplier for all your global number questions, and these are not tied to your platform.

Fast and personal

Service numbers are often the last item on the list with new cross-border activities. Sometimes the telephone number of the country of origin is initially communicated instead. But that sends a “don’t call me” signal because most people don’t want to call foreign numbers. If you’re taking this new market seriously, make sure you can be reached by telephone for personal those urgent and complicated questions in addition to your digital chat and social channels. This way you are truly omnichannel: effective, efficient, personal, and reliable.


This article was originally published in Dutch on

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