Taking your number with you

Raw materials, key components, vital infrastructure; whatever your business, the decision to change suppliers is never an easy one. No matter how much research you carry out there is always the worry in the back of your mind about whether the new supplier will deliver in line with promises and expectations. Add in the additional work required to scope and plan the transition and it is hardly surprising that many businesses stay with suppliers long past the natural end of their relationship.

Nevertheless when a relationship no longer delivers either in terms of cost effectiveness or product mix there will come a time for change. And when the inevitable moment of parting arrives it pays for both sides to make the transition as painless as possible. Sometimes smoothing the transition pathway is voluntary, at other times, such as a switch of bank accounts or telephone providers, aspects of the transition are driven by legislation.

One of the rules relating to the switching of telephone providers relates to number porting. This effectively means that when an individual or business switches phone provider the law says they have the right to take their phone number with them. It’s easy to see why this is so important. Changing telephone numbers can lead to all sorts of unintended consequences.

No matter how many communications you send out the chances are that someone won’t update their records. And even if all of your current customers act on notifications; what about returning customers? And then there is the effort involved in tracing and correcting all of those websites which seem to assimilate numbers from a variety of sources; not to mention the cost of updating stationery and marketing materials both online and offline. All in all, as the UK’s communication regulator points out businesses could “face significant costs and other brand or reputational issues if they had to change their phone number.”

That’s why the ability to port business phone numbers is so important that it is enshrined in law.  That’s also why Ofcom has taken the step of highlighting a fine issued to a company which refused to let one of its business customers port their number when switching to another provider. In its update Ofcom commented that “We have put the telecoms industry on notice, and told them to develop a process to override attempts to unlawfully block or hinder customers from taking their number with them.”

For those thinking of switching phone supplier, business phone number porting can be fairly straightforward. The overall process should take less than seven days with the actual switch being seamless, meaning there is no loss of service. However it is important that the correct process is followed, with any paperwork required being completed and delivered in a timely manner. This includes firstly opening an account with Callagenix and completing required porting documentation including the provision of a copy of an existing telephone bill. The porting process may differ slightly depending on the type of number being ported, geographic, non-geographic etc. Further information relating to this is available on our website.

Written by Alison