Does a business need offices in every state to be able to provide a national service? Does a telephone operator need to be in that physical office to provide a service? The answer to both of those questions is no, provided the business is using a DID number.
What Is a DID Number?
A DID, or direct inward dialing number, is a virtual phone number that a business routes both incoming and outgoing calls to. On occasion, these numbers are referred to as DDI numbers, or direct dial-in numbers, though this acronym tends to apply more in Europe. Unlike a standard telephone number, DID numbers do not get tied to physical geographical locations. Instead, the calls to and from the number get routed via a PBX or private branch exchange. The hosted PBX system then forwards the call to the phone connected to the DID number. Unlike traditional phones, the DID number can connect to many phones at once, whether an IP phone, mobile phone, or even a computer application, instead of a single handset.
As a DID number can automatically go to a variety of telephones, it eliminates the need for a switchboard and a dedicated forwarding team. Previously, a company would need multiple offices, each with a landline, with each one serving a different area in the country, or even the world. Even if there was only a single office, there are still multiple departments for the company. Each office would have its phone number that a consumer would dial in to. Then, the phone would be answered by a switchboard operator, who would then forward the call to the intended destination. The bigger the company, the more inconvenient that was. DID numbers then stepped in, with extensions added for ease of use. A consumer calls the number with the extension for where they want to get routed. The call gets answered by the PBX and directly routed, which is more affordable for a company. It is also more convenient for a consumer. However, that is not all that DID numbers do, as they have a place in marketing as well.
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DIDs In Marketing
DIDs allows a company to contact them with ease, while also giving the illusion that they are much bigger and more established than they are. These advantages come with DIDs as standard, though, a company can utilize DID numbers also to boost their marketing. Some ways DID numbers can do this include the following:
Providing New Avenues of Contact
No amount of marketing will help a business if customers can’t engage with them. A DID number provides an avenue of contact that the company would be without. This fact is especially prudent for smaller businesses that rely on social media for their communication, because the business owners don’t want to commit their personal telephone number. The use of a DID number means the calls can get routed to several phones, though it can get turned off outside of business hours.
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DID Numbers Help With Analytics
Though it does require some initial setup and planning, DID phone numbers can be an invaluable analytics tool. DID numbers replace a standard telephone number, though they can still come with area codes to make them seem like they are a local telephone number. A company can use this area code combined with individual phone numbers to establish where in the city, nation, or world, their business receives the best ROI or return on investment. From there, a company can either focus on improving its standing in areas that it doesn’t do so well in or it can scrap all marketing in that area and focus more resources to encourage more inbound calls from where the current profit is coming from.
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DID Numbers Give Companies an Advantage
As stated above, DID numbers can come with local area codes, and yes, this is an excellent resource for gaining information. However, the number itself is also an advantage. Customers love to support local businesses, and while a virtual number can make a company seem more significant than it is, it can also do the opposite with the use of a local DID number. Consumers have no way to understand they are calling a VOIP number. And it’s not just local numbers that DIDs can get set as. There are also toll-free numbers that come without any charges for the caller. If the number is not toll-free, the caller gets charged as if the call is a local call. Additionally, there are vanity numbers that a company can choose, with many opting for a catchy caller ID that a consumer can connect with.
DID Numbers for SMS Marketing
The above applies to DID phone numbers as a whole, with them bringing a variety of advantages to a business. However, there are even further advantages when they get used for SMS marketing, with the service of a short code service provider. A short code number is a 5 or 6-digit number and is much easier to remember than the standard long code number. A short code number allows a company to quickly send mass messages, getting the contained advertisement to a broader audience than otherwise possible. Typically, these numbers come with an attached keyword which customers can send in reply to enroll for further marketing or to accept a special promotion that the message is offering. However, a company does need to be careful using such numbers, as they are often associated with spam. If the number is not registered, a telephone company or telco for short, may block the message.
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Setting Up a DID Number
A DID number typically requires SIP trunking to be in place, with the SIP trunk directing the call made to the virtual number to the PBX, which then routes the call to the intended recipient.
With that said, a company needs three things to set up a DID number. A high-speed Internet connection to carry the data, an IP PBX with SIP trunking, with SIP trunking serving as a replacement for a physical phone line and a DID number. A high-speed Internet connection will come from the ISP and will require some shopping around from the business looking to install the system.
The first step is for a company to purchase a DID number or multiple DID numbers if they so choose. The DID number provider will have a variety of numbers for sale, separated by location, with some services providing international DID numbers. The purchase typically comes with a one-time activation payment, along with a recurring monthly fee for the DID service.
The purchased numbers then need connecting to the SIP trunking in place to establish the inbound route, by registering the system with the DID number. The SIP trunking should already be connected to the PBX service, as a replacement to multiple physical phone lines. It is this trunking that allows a DID number to route to the intended destination. Some DID systems only need the IP address of the VOIP provider. However, the PBX must be reachable via an IP address or URL.
From there, the DID service may require additional information before setup is complete. Some examples of other services that may be on offer include:
● PSTN forwarding, which allows a business to forward calls to another number if it is struggling to manage the current call flow.
● Call groups allow a DID number to route to two separate VOIP destinations, which can again assist with an influx of traffic and allow for simultaneous calls.
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Is Using a DID Number Just Call Forwarding?
Many people mistake using a DID number as call forwarding. At a glance, using DID phone numbers and a PBX may appear as call forwarding. However, a PBX is a piece of software used for routing the numbers, as opposed to receiving the calls and then forwarding them. The primary advantage that has a DID number, which makes it such an invaluable marketing tool, is that the number a consumer calls and then receives an outbound call from will be the same, clearly coming from the company they had contacted. In comparison, if the call is forwarded, the number will be different. If the goal is for the consumer to call back, they won’t recognize the caller and may chose not to return the call. When a customer doesn’t answer the phone, a potential sale is lost.
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