20 March 2014

Who Really Owns Your Business?

Is someone holding your business captive?

That question may seem extreme to you, but we’ve seen this unfortunate situation too many times. You may not even be aware that you’re a victim until it’s too late.

“My current call measurement company has me hostage. I have all my advertised numbers with them, and they are indexed all over Google.”

“They said I do not own the numbers—just lease them.”

“I have to start all over again with another company and change all my advertising to reflect the new numbers. This means I have to keep the services of two call measurement companies until the first numbers no longer take calls.”

In this real-life scenario, one business found out too late that it didn’t own its numbers—a call measurement company did. When the business’s owners were ready to move on, they couldn’t get possession of the numbers they thought they owned. They found themselves stuck in an expensive battle to get their numbers and clean up the resulting mess. Two years later, this company is still fighting for those numbers.

How can call measurement companies get away with this?

Many call measurement companies view the numbers you pay for as leased or rented, because, according to them, the number is only for tracking call volume on marketing efforts (even though you pay for it!). Many Yellow Pages publishers and internet marketers don’t allow the transfer of phone numbers used in their advertising to another carrier or service.

It’s a big deal if you don’t own your number.

Pay careful attention to the fine print in your contracts: If your number is not portable to another carrier, the agreement will state so specifically (usually under the terms and conditions). When you don’t read the fine print that goes along with your contracts, here’s what you risk:

  • Customer confusion: If you decide that you no longer need the services of the call measurement company and you can’t take control of the published numbers, your customers will hear “the number you have dialed is not in service” when they call. Customers may think you have gone out of business, and, in the process of looking for another number for your business, may find a competitor.
  • Attacks against your brand: Countless internet data providers may index your numbers in their directories, thus increasing your exposure to a “not in service” message.
  • A costly runaround: Your competitors may find these numbers and point them to their own business lines.

Each of these situations can cost your business thousands in lost sales, customer frustration, and “cleanup costs” as you track down and attempt to reclaim your numbers.

What can you do to make sure you really own your business phone numbers?

  • Read the fine print in the service agreement you sign when you obtain phone numbers and be aware of FCC regulations regarding phone portability. If the service agreement is not clear, we urge you to get signed documentation that says you have the right to the phone number provided by the call measurement company. Make sure it says you can transfer or port these numbers to another carrier.
  • Do your research. Watch out for call measurement companies offering “free” or “low cost” numbers—they really are too good to be true. Most of these agreements state that the company—not your business—owns these numbers in perpetuity. You may not owe anything up front, but once you’re done tracking, the potential of lost business is much higher than the cost of a phone number.
  • Work with a company with a proven record of serving businesses like yours. With Callcap, the numbers you purchase are really yours. Your numbers are portable to another carrier at any time within the terms of your service agreement. We tell you this up front because we’re serious about exceptional customer service—and we think our customer experience will show you that you won’t want to look anywhere else.

Rest assured that when you work with us, you own your phone numbers. Get in touch today, and we’ll show you exactly what you can accomplish when you trust us with your numbers.