I always get flurried with requests for vanity numbers at Exotel. I never quite understood why it was so necessary for these businesses to have a vanity number. This got me curious so I did a bit of research around this. I was a firm believer that for any business, product and quality of service are the key element for their enhanced customer experience. For example for F&B industry, the quality and delivery of food is key to their businesses. I missed a few important elements here which are convenience, always reachable and Brand impact.
A special or vanity number is a phone word which is a alphanumeric equivalent of a telephone number. Example- 1800-GO-FEDEX, +91 9243-EXOTEL. In the USA, you will find many companies flaunting special toll free numbers, I am wondering why hasn’t this trend started in India?
In India, you can get such numbers with out any cost from any operator. Most of the operators we have dealt with do not charge for such a number. As a Indian business owner do you think you should consider such a number? It is at least not going to cost the business owner, so why not try is one suggestion. To make a concrete decision, here are few pros and cons
- Vanity number helps in attracting new customers. With easy to remember numbers your business can grow by word of mouth publicity which cannot be bought by money. Also it is very convenient for customers to tell other prospective customers about your phone number and business offering.
- Branding and Positioning your company- How you position your business and how you organically grow determines your success and market share. A vanity number helps in doing both. It also helps in bringing credibility to the business and gives the customer assurance of the product or service you provide.
- Higher Response Rate to advertising due to vanity number effectively translates in to higher traction, visibility and grow at a faster rate than desired. According to many surveys we have found out that vanity numbers increase the response rate by ~30-60%.
- Many cell phones today don’t include letters on the numeric keypads anymore, making it difficult for dialing out the phone number if you recall the vanity version
- Use of vanity phone numbers with letters instead of numbers results in local search engines being unable to match your phone number up with the business listings in their database.
- Vanity numbers are good for memory and not so good for dialing. What I mean by this is that when you use these numbers for print advertising you should always give the numerical version of the number. For example- 1800-ASK-USPS should be 1800-275-8777
Now, I guess it is up to you whether you want to go ahead and get these special numbers for your company. I have my doubts if people remember such number but I guess it definitely would help in building the brand.