Have you ever wondered if we will run out of phone numbers? When you look at the number of phones in the world, it seems possible. Here are some interesting facts:
- In 2017 the number of mobile phones users is expected to be 4.77 billion. That’s 64% of the global population. (statista.com)
- In the United States, mobile phone users total 266 million, or 83% of our 319 million people. (statista.com)
- As of 2015, 98% percent of adults in the United States own a cellphone. (pewinternet.org)
- As of 2009 there were 672 million assigned telephone numbers in the United States. It’s estimated to be 800 million today. (fcc.gov)
The good thing is we’re nowhere near running out of phone numbers and there is a plan in place for the day we do.
The North American Numbering Plan
Since 1951, the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) has guided the structure and allocation of phone numbers in the U.S. and 19 other North American countries. These are the folks that gave you 10-digit-dialing and all those new area codes.
According the current plan we have enough phone numbers to go around until 2038—at which point NANP may need to add one or two digits. At BellesLink we’ve got plenty, too. Our customers choose from a pool of phone numbers
What does all this mean for you? It means, don’t be shy about setting up multiple phone numbers for use in your skip tracing work. There are plenty of reasons why more numbers are better, which is what we really want to tell you about.
Why You Need More Phone Numbers
For any business that does skip tracing, the quality of inbound and outbound calls and texts to skips has a direct impact on the bottom-line. Better calls mean closing cases more quickly or increasing your recovery rate. Here are three ways that adding more phone numbers will lead to better calls.
1 – Knowing What Works Best
Like website analytics track visitors, phone numbers can help you track where you inbound calls are coming from. Let’s say your favorite methods for contacting skips are phone calls, texts, and door hangers. When you get a inbound call from your skip how do you know which method generated the call-back? How do you know which method works best? You can say, “I know what works”. But, do you really, do have the data to back it up?
Use Phone Numbers for Call Tracking
Here’s how to use phone numbers for call-level tracking.
- Segment your skip tracing cases into either geographical areas or types of skips.
- Make a list of contact methods you like to use for each of your segments, e.g. office calls, texts, mailers, door hangers, field calls, etc.
- Decide how many of these methods need a unique number for tracking.
- Office calls and texts usually use the same number, because the format, voice call vs. text, naturally separates them.
- The number on your door hangers should be different.
- Set up these numbers in your phone system for use in your cases. Remember, local numbers are best.
- Use these numbers for your outbound calls and contacts and track which numbers are generating inbound calls/texts from skips. Hopefully your phone system can help you. BellesLink automatically assigns your outbound and inbound calls and texts to your case, so there is no guessing where they came from.
- When the case closes, code a final case-note with the contact methods that created a response from the skip.
- After a month, export your case-notes, put the data into a spreadsheet, and analyze which methods are working best. What you find may surprise you.
So potentially, you’ll have 3-5 phone numbers for each segment of your skip tracing business. It may sound like a lot, but the data tracking benefits are huge. Additional phone numbers can move you from guessing what works in your skip tracing to knowing what works. Systems like BellesLink make this easy, so give it a try.
2 – Eliminating Friction During Call-Backs
Years ago when phone numbers were expensive to own, phone systems relied on extensions to route callers. We’ve all suffered the experience of getting lost in a phone-tree. Any extra dialing required by the skip increase the chance of a hang-up.
Give Everyone a Number
Today the cost of a phone number is minimal so it’s easy to give your skips a direct number to the person working their case—eliminating any possible friction on a call-back.
- If you have a multi-person team working cases, give every skip tracer their own direct number.
- Use call forwarding rules to seamlessly transfer calls from one number to another when skip tracers change shifts or take over cases.
- BellesLink has highly-customizable call forwarding that lets you do this with ease.
Customize Greeting Messages
Generic or vague greeting messages are another source of friction on a call-back. Have every skip tracer record a custom greeting message that is in sync with the type of voicemail messages they leave for a skip.
Don’t allow any doubt to creep into the mind of the skip, customize the greeting message to create a good call-impression, one reinforces the credibility and importance your contacts with them.
3 – Protecting Your Business
You know, the business of finding people isn’t risk-free. No matter what you’re doing: repossessions, investigations, investing, it’s good to keep a layer of privacy between you and the people you contact. Using additional phone numbers, not your primary business number, is a simple way to do that.
Burn It When You Need To
Things don’t always go according to plan and sometimes call-backs from a skip turn into harassment of your business. As Taylor Swift says, “a hater’s going to hate”. The great thing about shielding yourself with a phone number is you can burn it when you have to. Some BellesLink customers regularly rotate, or burn, their skip tracing numbers several times a year to protect their business. It’s a practice we recommend.
More Phone Numbers is Better
We hope we’ve giving you compelling reasons to add more phone numbers to your skip tracing. For attorneys, skip tracers, repossessors and investigators the benefits out way the costs.
- If worries about being a phone number hog has prevented you from using more, forget about it, there are plenty to go around.
- If you want an easy way to analyze the performance of different skip tracing methods, use additional numbers for call tracking.
- If you want to eliminate call friction, give every skip tracer their own number and customize their greetings.
- If you want to protect your business use burner numbers to maintain a layer of privacy.
BellesLink is a skip tracing platform that includes public records databases, local & toll-free numbers, caller ID control, text, email, call-recording and a way to keep track of it all. In BellesLink you can add an change phone numbers easily at any time.