If there is ever any doubt about whether we are living in an increasingly pan-global era you only have to look at the way in which some stories are celebrated across the globe. The latest, Leicester City winning the Premiership title, may have given rise to an 86% increase in normal Twitter traffic in the UK but congratulatory messages were being shared from as far afield as Canada, India and Australia.
It may be easy to argue that football is a global business with players as likely to transfer to clubs in China or the USA as to ones in Europe. But the fact is that football is only a global business because of an increasing world view. This, allied to improvements in technology, means that people and businesses can as easily trade with organisations on the other side the globe as they can with one just down the road.
Admittedly, there are some businesses where a more local touch is required. For example, if your toilet springs a leak you are probably going to call on your local plumber. However, the products which he uses to fix the fault may not have been produced locally, perhaps not even in the same country.
The rise of the global viewpoint means that businesses have to be more communication aware if they are to optimise market share. For the local plumber, this will probably mean offering a mobile or a regional telephone number; whilst those businesses looking to trade internationally will have a broader range of options to call upon. These will include Toll Free Freephone (ITFS), Universal Toll Free Freephone (UIFN), international regional or local phone numbers.
With such a wide range of numbers to choose from, businesses need to think carefully about their target audience in order to maximise the chances of attracting custom. For example, toll-free (or freephone) numbers may encourage potential customers to call, but can also represent a drain on business resources if the customer base is substantial. However, these numbers can be a powerful way of promoting products and services, with a single number being dialled from anywhere within the designated country. For example, a China 401 number enables single-point marketing across that country.
When attracting customers from multiple countries, businesses could either choose individual country or regional numbers or alternatively opt for a universal international freephone number. This enables the same number to be used across multiple countries, with only the freephone prefix changing in accordance with local country custom.
Whatever business telephone number is chosen, one of the benefits of a global telephone system is the fact that calls can be diverted seamlessly across the globe. For companies with offices in multiple countries this means that calls can either be diverted to the nearest operating base or can ‘follow the sun’, being switched across time zones in accordance with normal working days.
Alternatively, organisations with a single operational base can advertise telephone numbers in different regions of the globe with all calls being diverted to the main office. Automated number recognition can also be brought into play with calls being diverted to specified language teams, for example, based on the country of origin.
With a global marketplace, global solutions need not exclude the personal touch and there is always the option for businesses to choose local regional numbers in order to personalise their advertising and interactions. Global or local, the important thing is for organisations to choose a number mix which will best resonate with their customer base, thereby helping to grow the worldwide marketplace.