International phone numbers: Your foundation for global cloud communications
In this article:
- What is an international phone number?
- Why are international phone numbers a must for your global business?
- How do international phone numbers work?
- How do you use international phone numbers the right way?
- Benefits of international phone numbers
- How can you keep up with changing regulations?
- It’s never been easier to expand your business internationally!
Expanding your business beyond your home turf used to be something only larger companies could dream about. The capital and resources needed to set up international offices made it nearly impossible for small to medium-sized businesses to scale globally.
But things have changed! Advancements in digital technology and logistics mean businesses of all sizes can operate worldwide without an actual physical presence.
Wondering how your business can live the dream? Simple — with global or international phone numbers, you can stay close to your clients no matter where you are in the world.
As a service provider, the opportunity to help businesses scale globally with international phone numbers is massive. They make it a breeze for enterprises to support remote workers, establish offshore satellite offices, reach new markets, and build brand credibility.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about international or global numbers! Discover what it means to have an international phone number, how they work, why they’re crucial for an expanding business, how to keep up with changing regulations, and how to turbo-charge international growth with an all-in-one communications solution.
What is an international phone number?
An international phone number is a reliable, secure line with extensive cloud communications features. These numbers can connect clients to businesses from anywhere worldwide, helping them reach new markets without having an actual physical presence.
Different countries have their own dialing protocols. However, with a local or toll-free international phone number, businesses get consistency and uniformity with a single contact number regardless of where they are.
The difference between local numbers, ITFS and UIFN
Local phone numbers are assigned to different regions, states, and cities within a country. Each has an area code to indicate where they're located. Customers in an area can call numbers in the same area for regular local rates.
ITFN (international toll-free number) is the international equivalent of toll-free numbers in the United States. ITFNs use an international toll-free service to enable global call forwarding, so businesses can be located anywhere in the world. If you’re looking for toll-free access in just a few countries, ITFS could be a good choice.
ITFNs work well if you have a menu listing different countries and their toll-free numbers on your website.
UIFNs (universal international freephone numbers) give businesses one number that works across multiple countries. If you prefer to use one number for specific marketing campaigns or if you operate in numerous countries, UIFN may work for you.
Examples of organizations using UIFN are universities with remote campuses in different countries, large data centers requiring a support line, and research companies doing international research.
It’s important to note some of the differences between UIFNs and ITFS.
Different formats with more digits than ITFNs
Require a country code
Have different country restrictions
Are accessible in fewer countries than ITFNs
Tend to be more expensive as they also require a hefty one-time setup fee
Offer flexibility and cost savings
Have cost-effective pricing
Tend to be a better choice for global toll-free numbers due to wider country availability and cost-effective pricing
Why are international phone numbers a must for your global business?
International phone numbers allow companies of any size to operate in other countries consistently and simply while expanding customer reach. In addition, when customers recognize a phone number local to their region, it helps build trust and familiarity, leaving no worries about international business costs or calling fees.
How do international phone numbers work?
When customers call an international phone number, they dial:
The country code.
The city or area code.
The phone number itself.
To establish an international phone number, sign up with a communications service provider to have them activate it.
Depending on the provider you choose, you may have access to additional services like:
A voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephone system
Automated voice technology
How do you use international phone numbers the right way?
Expanding to international markets helps businesses access faster-growing economies, but it comes with challenges — new languages, new cultures, and time zone issues. International phone numbers have the power to help streamline operations:
Automate call management: Invest in a call management system like Sinch to automate call flows when you have increased call volumes from your international presence
Leverage call recordings: Use recordings to monitor call quality, understand new international buyer personas, and train employees
Get your time zones right: Ensure 24x7 availability for international customers by routing calls to specific agents according to time zones
Activate voicemail: Set up voicemails to handle calls when all agents are busy with other customers
Personalize the caller experience: Use IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to welcome international callers in their native language
Benefits of international phone numbers
International phone numbers open a world of opportunities. So, what can a global number do for your business?
Improve availability: Virtual phone service is faster and more straightforward than legacy systems — all you need is access to your service provider’s website or app. Sinch makes it easy to order and manage your toll-free and local phone numbers, port numbers, enable messaging, apply voice service, activate and manage CNAM (Caller ID Name), directory listing, and 911, and validate 911 addresses all in real-time
Increase engagement: With an international toll-free number, customers won’t have to pay additional charges to call your business which gives them more incentive to contact and engage with your team
Reduce costs: No office to lease or furnish, international staff to hire, and no special licenses, permits, or international guidelines to follow
Boost scalability: Use remote teams via platforms like Microsoft Teams or Slack to collaborate and manage your newly expanded business
Beat the competition: When prospects see a global presence, it builds trust, making it easier for them to choose you over the competition
Expand reach: Even the smallest of businesses can boost visibility in other countries, making it easier to compete worldwide
Simplify communications: Assign international numbers to any device, such as laptops, tablets, desktops, cellphones, and landlines
There are no limitations on how many international numbers you can have — create different contact details for each department as needed!
How can you keep up with changing regulations?
Laws and regulations surrounding international numbers vary wildly from country to country, so purchasing international numbers can be complicated if you’ve no support network.
Your local regulatory agency will ask you to complete multiple documents and jump through hoops to prove your ID. This is because of robocalling and spamming. Regulators are bearing down on unsolicited phone calls and enforcing stricter regulations. So, complying with changing rules to avoid numbers being revoked is crucial.
At Sinch, we can take care of all the regulatory requirements, regardless of country. As a result, you and your customers can expect:
Added data protection
Compliance with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Comprehensive fraud protection and STIR/SHAKEN standards to ease robocalling and help stop scam calls and spoofing
Sinch delivers an omnichannel customer experience like no other. Our comprehensive communications infrastructure provides businesses with the quality, reach, and scalability needed to grow internationally.
Expanding your global phone number footprint has never been easier – you can order domestic and international phone numbers through one powerful customer portal using the same trunk. Always compliant international numbers, and toll-free numbers give you access to inbound and 2-way calling plus emergency services (where available) to support business reach and growth.
It’s never been easier to expand your business internationally!
It’s no longer just a dream. Get ahead of your competitors and start growing a local presence in any market today.
Whether you’re new to business, expanding your current operations, or need a bunch of numbers, or maybe just one, Sinch’s international phone numbers, voice, and messaging options make global scaling a piece of cake.
Decades of experience have made us experts in seamlessly porting your numbers, providing access to an extensive phone number inventory, expertly turning up service, and offering a solid anchor for success.
Save now on phone numbers in selected European countries, but only for a limited time.