How to use Free International Phone Calls to Capture Customers Locally

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When you are trying to expand your business internationally, how do you establish trust among customers in foreign countries? How do you build faith in your brand where the locals may never have heard of you before? Or even if they have heard of your business, what’s the best way to engage potential new customers and start to build that trust?

The global public relations firm Edelman recently published a report which showed that “trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services”. Establishing customer trust in your company, as well as in your products and services, is the most important thing any company can do.

First impressions mean a lot. What you want is for your potential customer to feel comfortable right from the start. How you communicate with your customer is absolutely crucial. A four-year study of 600 firms across the business spectrum revealed that the biggest reasons for loss of trust in customer relationships were: a) poor behavior and b) poor communications.

International Toll Free Telephone Numbers

Most businesses decide the obvious place to start is to get an international toll-free telephone number that forwards international calls to your business, and try to engage potential customers in this manner. Many businesses establish a Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN), which is usually promoted as an international “1-800” toll-free number.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why setting up a UIFN is the wrong approach, one that could ultimately damage potential customers’ trust in your brand before you even get to talk to them.

The main problem with UIFN is that it works in different ways in different countries. The UIFN brings a lot of restrictions and limitations, and it may not even be accessible from certain phone types or networks. So you may have a potential customer who sees your UIFN number, dials it, and gets nothing but clicks or tone.

Talk about a trust killer. And that customer is likely gone for good.

Furthermore, a potential customer in certain countries may need to dial certain prefixes in order to access the toll-free UIFN. In other words, a customer in Japan may have to dial 010 before dialing the 1-800 number, further complicating the process, and increasing the chance of misdialing. With every misdial your company’s image will suffer.

A UIFN often leads to other confusions. Businesses seeking a UIFN for Mexico are usually assigned a 001-800 prefix, which is the same prefix Mexicans use to dial long-distance calls to the U.S. Many will see that prefix on an advertisement and be afraid to call, fearing that it will incur long-distance charges.

And even if after all that, if the customer finally gets the number right, the strange, long combination of numbers will make your potential customers feel like they’re calling Mars or some other far flung point. This does nothing for your caller’s faith or trust in your company. Right off the bat, a long, unfamiliar phone number will make them feel a little wary.

Establish a Local Presence...The Right Way

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Delivering a locally-recognizable phone number for your potential international customers is the very first step in establishing good communications with them. Facilitating communications and making it easy for your international clients to reach you will go a long way to building loyalty.

To create a sustainable, scalable international communication system, work with a company that can quickly and easily provide you with local and toll free numbers in multiple countries. Kevin Casey from states that international communications should NOT be an excuse for not taking your small business global.

Find a toll-free service that can manage your account, allowing you to add more numbers as necessary, or forward to different numbers here in the U.S. You want your international phone calls to work for you, not against you.

Because you don’t want to lose the trust of one single customer, no matter where they are in the world.