Use Your Answering Service's Telephone Number Wisely
When you hire a telephone answering service they assign you a local or toll free number just for you to use. The key word here is use.
Normally companies forward their phone lines to their special answering service number when they want their phone answered. But sometimes clients opt to use these numbers in other ways. This can cause problems.
You Can’t Take it With You
The local and toll free numbers your answering service gives you to use are part of the service they provide. They own the numbers and you use them – for as long as you are their client. But you can’t take these special numbers with you when you leave. Always remember that.
Be Careful With Vanity Numbers
Some businesses want a phone number that spells their name or is easy to remember. For example, think of 1-800-Flowers. What a brilliant marketing idea. These special numbers are often called vanity numbers.
If your answering service helps you get a vanity number for your business, make sure you own it and not them. If your answering service owns your vanity number, they may not let you take it with you when you leave. They do this to lock you in to their service. It’s not nice, but it does happen.
Advertise With Care
Don’t advertise the number your answering service gives you to use. If something happens and you want to switch answering services, your ads will be wasted since your old answering service controls that number and will likely turn it off. It costs money to design new ads and takes time to update all the old ones with the new number.
Don’t Get Carried Away
Aside from ads, some answering service clients have gotten creative. They used the numbers their answering service provided them in all kinds of ill-advised ways. These include phone book listings, online directories, billboards, vehicles, and signs. With time you can change most of these listings.
But a number posted online will live on forever; you can’t ever completely remove it. So be careful with the information you post on the internet. The bottom line is if you want to publicize a number, make sure it is a number you own.
Know these limitations up front. Use the numbers your answering service provides you in the way they intended: to forward your phone to them. If you opt to use these special numbers in other ways, know the risks involved before you do.