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’Ask The Expert’ - Erica Lewis
‘How to improve communication for international business’
Yorkshire companies have a strong track record in global trading.
Whether you’re already doing business abroad or planning to export, it’s important to remove any barrier to communication between you and existing or potential customers. As well as perfecting your website, you should consider sourcing a local telephone number that your target audience will recognise and be familiar with using.
Using an ‘International Inbound Business Number’ can help to increase customer response rates and all-round business efficiency. They can be answered at your UK office or outsourced call centre, anywhere in the world, and come with sophisticated call-handling features and analysis tools.
When sourcing your International Business Number be sure to talk to several telecoms providers. Compare prices, there’s usually a set-up fee, number rental and a per-minute charge. And to guarantee the most robust service for your customers, check the provider only uses reputable or "Tier 1" carriers.
If you’re looking to target a particular country, consider using a Local International Number. These can be answered where you choose, but will appear local to your target customers – effectively giving you a presence without an office. Potential customers will recognise, trust and know the cost of calling the number.
Another option for offering a localised service is consider offering an International Toll Free number. Again, these will be recognisable to your customers in their country – but are free to call, further reducing barriers for your customers to contact you. This is a surprisingly low-cost solution with high returns.
If you are casting your net out to many different countries at the same time, you might even consider a Universal Freephone Number. This is an excellent marketing tool and gives you a single number to promote in over 40 countries around the world and is free to your customer.
Virtual international business numbers are more than just familiar telephone number to present to overseas customers, they also offer some rather fancy call-handling features to help direct your customers call more effectively and courteously. From routing calls according to the time of day to managing welcome messages or queues, these add up to the high level of service customers will expect.
International Inbound Numbers come with simple-to-use tools to help you track what is working and what is not so you can make the best use of reporting systems to analyse your customer responses.
Lastly don’t forget your suppliers and, if you have offices abroad, in-country agents or field based employees – it’s not just the smooth handling of customers that makes your business successful. Talk to your telecoms provider to make sure your telecoms network is up to scratch for everyone whatever their location.
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