Your number, your business

On 10 March 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call, summoning his assistant from the next room. Admittedly, he would probably have got the same response had he merely called out loud; but nevertheless that simple phone call represented an important first step on the road to universal communications.

Following that momentous first step it took some time for telephones to enter the mainstream of personal and business life. To start with phone connections were confined to simple paired lines and even when operators were brought in to expand simple connectivity into networks, callers simply asked to be connected to a named individual or business. In fact, the earliest known telephone book was a single piece of card listing names only.

Fast forward to today and operator connections have been replaced by direct dialling systems encompassing the globe. Telephone patterns known and understood by previous generations, the need to make calls via the operator or to pre-book calls to overseas destinations, are now firmly in the past. However, whilst direct dialling brings tremendous benefits, it also challenges businesses to ensure that they retain the ease of connectivity of earlier times.

When all you had to do was pick up the telephone and ask the operator to connect you to an individual or business, life was simple. Now worldwide direct dialling has introduced a wealth of potential business telephone numbers ranging from local to universal international numbers. Because of this, businesses have to select carefully; to ensure that the phone number, or range of phone numbers, on offer will resonate with potential customers.

For example, if you are offering business services within a defined local area then there is little point in opting for an international number. Quite simply, the more local the service the more important it can be to forge strong links with the community and opting for a local number can be an important element of this process.

On the other hand, businesses which are looking to attract custom from overseas may well find that offering one or more international business telephone numbers encourages potential clients to pick up the phone and call. Here again though it is important that the right type of phone number is chosen to optimise calling attraction. For example, if a business was offering its services in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt then telephone options would include selecting a single German national number or alternatively opting for one or more international regional numbers. This last option means that businesses can ‘keep it local’ whilst operating internationally.

We may live in an electronic age but we should never underestimate the importance of being able to pick up the phone and talk. Having a conversation helps us to build and maintain business relationships in a way that may not be possible should we rely on electronic communication alone. When Alexander Graham Bell made that first telephone call he set in motion a sequence of events that has led today to universal connectivity in which we can speak easily to the person in the next room as we can to someone on the other side the world.

Written by Alison