Open to the world

It’s the middle of May and the UK is taking its first tentative steps out of lockdown. Exercise restrictions are easing and whilst people are still encouraged to work from home where they can do so, some businesses which had closed over the initial lockdown period are starting to open up again.

The UK position is being replicated to a greater or lesser extent across the world as countries take account of their own COVID-19 circumstances. Nevertheless, although individual countries may be relaxing restrictions, uncertainties surrounding the progress of the disease have made the subject of international travel somewhat more complex. So whilst some governments are negotiating to enable unrestricted travel with one or more countries, at the same time they may be looking to impose quarantine on travellers from other destinations.

These uncertainties and restrictions could hinder those businesses which are looking towards international trade. Those who may in the past have simply got on a plane to negotiate directly with potential suppliers or customers might have to rethink their engagement model, at least in the short term. That is perhaps where having a telephone system which is geared up to international trade could help to make a difference.

One thing that the lockdown has taught us is the way in which we can still have meaningful conversations across a telephone or internet link. Conference calls can be a viable alternative to face-to-face meetings, particularly as they save in both travel time and cost. And as conference calls can be scheduled easily and quickly, having regular meetings could in fact help to build even closer ties than are possible with an occasional flying visit.

Businesses looking towards international trade may also wish to offer telephone numbers which are more likely to attract overseas callers. With a range of international numbers to choose from, the business can advertise an international presence without the need for an international office. For example, those wishing to attract clients in Paris could opt for a Paris regional telephone number, whilst those looking to attract customers across Germany might instead opt for an international national number. Freephone numbers are also available, again helping businesses to attract potential customers who may appreciate the chance to pick up the telephone without facing call charges.

Whatever the style of number chosen, calls can be seamlessly redirected to an office in the UK or elsewhere. Calls into a central office could even be preannounced or directed to a specified team based on the originating country or region; helping those businesses with multinational trade to ensure that callers are answered by an appropriate language specialist or product team.

Given the need for individual countries to relax and tighten restrictions as required to protect their populations, rebuilding robust trading links may take some time. Nevertheless, reaching out globally is an important factor in building recovery; particularly as we should not forget the importance of forging new links following Brexit. International numbers and conference calls can play their part here in helping to attract new custom and strengthen existing relationships.

Written by Alison