International Call Forwarding for mid-sized Businesses
Is it time for your mid-sized business to establish an international presence? Entering new markets with an international forwarding number is a great way to start the process. Not only can you start localizing your business in countries outside of your own through call divert, you can do so without having to invest in physical locations, local staff, and infrastructure. Here’s how an international forwarding number can help you communicate with customers, suppliers, vendors, partners, or employees overseas.
Understanding Call Divert Technology
Call divert technology involves signing up with an international call forwarding service provider. These providers are not necessarily associated with your local phone utility company. In fact, they often use their own networks or contract with major telecommunications carriers to divert your calls. This is especially beneficial in countries where local phone service is substandard and/or expensive.
Once you’ve found a high quality, low cost international call forwarding service provider, you then set up an international forwarding number for the country that you want to establish a business presence in. For example, if your business is located inside the United States and you want to establish a local presence in Chile, you would order a phone number for Chile. To Chileans, this number is just like any other in-country phone number with the correct country code and local area codes. However, since you’re using call divert, whenever someone in Chile dials your international forwarding number, the call would “ring to” the number you’ve designated in the United States.
As the call divert account holder, you will be billed for calls that go through your international forwarding number on a per minute basis. International call forwarding rates depend on the countries involved. They are also sometimes dependent on whether or not a mobile phone was used. In addition, you can order either local or toll free international forwarding numbers.
Using an International Forwarding Number in Lieu of a Physical Location
Using the United States to Chile example above, you should be able to see how using call divert can be an affordable alternative to setting up a physical location in Chile. Some of the costs that you will NOT incur include the following examples:
- Travel costs – You will not need to fly to Chile to scout physical locations.
- Office space – Since you won’t need an actual office in Chile, there’s no rent whatsoever.
- Infrastructure – Aside from the international forwarding number, you won’t need to invest in additional technology. There’s no PBX or computer network required. Simply divert calls to your main office.
- Local office staff – Since you will not have a physical office in Chile, you will not need to hire employees in Chile to answer your phones. However, you may have some staffing costs as addressed below.
Please note that while an international forwarding number can slash your costs and help you establish an international presence, you will still need to do your due diligence to ensure that your business complies with all applicable trade and business regulations which are beyond the scope of this article.
Staffing Your “Local” Office
While you may never need to step foot in Chile in order to use call divert and establish a presence in the country, you will need to accommodate any callers who use your international forwarding number. Depending on the anticipated call volume, you may need to hire additional staff at your call center or main office to handle incoming calls. Depending on the languages involved, you may also need to hire bilingual customer service representatives.
Let’s say that you’ve determined that three Spanish-speaking customer service representatives will be sufficient for the amount of calls you expect to come through your international forwarding number. Use your call diver’s advanced routing features to ensure that these calls ring specifically to these CSRs.
In addition to staffing your office with bilingual staff, you will also need to consider scheduling your staff during international business hours. For example, the time zone your main office is in may conflict with the time zone for your international forwarding number. If so, you will either need to have staff available during that country’s normal business hours or use “time of day” routing to route callers to an alternate call center or voicemail during business hours.
Advertising Your International Call Forwarding Number
As with any other branch office, your call diver number won’t necessarily ring until you’ve advertised it. Use various advertising channels to let international customers know that you are able to take their phone calls. Whether you advertise locally or use the Internet, using an international forwarding number that’s local to your target countries provides local callers with a comfortable and familiar way to reach your office.
As a mid-sized business looking to establish itself internationally, using call divert is a terrific, low-risk way to get started. International call forwarding facilitates communication with minimal costs.