One key thing not to forget about in any office move is your company phone number. This can actually be one of the most important considerations of all, if you’re looking to make the transition as smooth and cost-effective as possible. Not only will your office number be on your website, business cards, stationery and in any business directories but remember it will also be stored in all your customers’ systems, held in address books and on personal phones so it can be a real hassle to change. Thankfully, moving office these days means you don’t have to lose your current number though.
What will determine if you can keep your number?
The first factor will be how far away your business is moving. If you’re staying in the same area then keeping the same number is often easier; it will depend if your new telephone line is fed from the same BT cabinet. Telephone lines that run on the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or analogue lines are all connected to your local BT exchange regardless of whether or not BT are your current supplier. If, however, you’re moving outside the local exchange, you won’t be able to keep your number using the traditional lines.
What are the options available to you if you can’t keep your number?
- If you have to change your number, you can choose to have your calls redirected but there is a fee based on a pence per minute rate to receive every incoming call that is diverted, so that can get expensive. It could be useful for a limited period though while you migrate over to your new number.
- Instead, you could put an announcement on your current number, saying, ‘The number has now changed, please re-dial the new number which is …. ……’ or words to that effect. This is an effective way of making sure you don’t miss any calls. You take out a rolling contract with a fixed monthly cost. Once you think all your customers are using the new number then the divert can be switched off.
One way to keep your number...
You might think about migrating your current phone number ‘into the cloud’. If you’re using analogue services on the PSTN, you can retain your number by switching to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service and port your number to a VoIP provider.
Due to the ‘virtualisation’ of IT, phone numbers no longer need to be tied to a specific location or device, so your current number can easily move with you. It also gives you the option to add new, easily memorable numbers.
Telephone systems based on VoIP have a native quality known as number portability, which means you can keep your existing phone number when moving offices. ‘Number porting’, as its known, may also be achieved between cabled, IP or wireless telecom services if you’re switching between providers in the same geographical area.
If you’re moving offices or simply want to switch to a different service provider while keeping your existing phone number, procedures similar to those for mobile number portability generally apply. You’ll need to request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC, or similar) from your old service provider then inform your new provider of this code, to schedule the switch.
If you’d like to know more about whether to change your office number or not, do get in touch.