Marking Export Week with International Phone Numbers

It’s Export Week and across the UK a variety of events are being held to celebrate and boost the UK’s exporting prowess. According to UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) previous weeks have seen over 17,000 companies attend export focused events, just some of the 48,000 who drew on UKTI support in 2014.

New this year is a First Time Exporters (FTE) initiative which provides a package of support which includes training and advice for companies selling overseas for the first time. Launching the FTE initiative Trade and Investment Minister Francis Maude said “there has never been a better time for British businesses to realise their potential and find overseas customers.”

The help and support provided by UKTI includes guidance on routes to market, advice on international business culture and assistance in developing an export strategy and action plan. First time exporters also receive access to a flexible programme of support which includes an export readiness assessment, an action plan and help with market research.

One area which potential exporters may wish to look at early in their campaign is the ease of communication for potential customers. Some of that may come from having a clear and accessible website but businesses should not underestimate the importance of offering access to country based local telephone numbers. It may be a throwback to older times when calling internationally was both complex and expensive but there can still be a reluctance to pick up the phone and call overseas. 

Luckily, having a national phone number no longer requires you to maintain a physical base in a country. Automated switching means that calls to numbers in one country can be seamlessly switched to a landline or mobile in another country; or even to multiple numbers in multiple countries if a ‘follow the sun’ pattern is programmed in to the switchboard. 

The result of this is that businesses in the UK which are thinking of opening up export lines to France or to China, to Australia or to any number of other countries can make a start by offering access to international national numbers or international regional telephone numbers. Freephone options are also available; for example a China 401 Toll Free number enables you to promote your products or services across every province in China without callers having to dial local prefixes.

The rise of the internet may have shrunk the world but to export successfully we still need to be able to communicate effectively with potential customers across the globe. International phone numbers are one way to ease that communication gap.

Written by Alison