Should A Company Change Its Business Telephone Number When It Changes Location

You might think it is a no-brainer decision that a company should try to maintain the same business telephone number when it changes location. If that is your decision, there are many resources to suggest how you could go about that.

For example in an article on 9 Things You Must Update When Moving Your Business Location  you will find the following as the second tip.
2. Try to Keep Your Phone Number If you are forced to get a new number because you changed towns, be sure you can keep your old number and have it forward to the new number. This can help redirect customers to your new location.
In the age before the Internet, that was certainly good advice and it still has merit. However, it may be that your company is one where a change in business telephone number may be beneficial.

Reasons why you may wish to keep your business telephone number

  1. Your customers already know that telephone number.
  2. It may be costly if you must reprint business cards and customer documents.
  3. This may be the number that comes up if you search for your company on the Internet.
That third factor is the one that you may now wish to question.

Reasons now why it is easy to adopt a new business telephone number

You should not accept those pre-Internet arguments too quickly for the following reasons.
  • It costs very little to update your website and online properties with a new telephone number.
  • It is very easy to arrange that the old number is redirected through to the new number. In some cases you may even be able to give a message that the number has changed before redirecting the call.
  • There are very many directories online and some of them may be slow or may never update your address to the new one. It can be a huge amount of work to contact even the important ones and make sure they make the address change.

Reasons why NAP is so important for Local Search

If you are wondering why NAP is so important in local searches, the following references deserve your attention:

The last one, in particular, has a number of solid pieces of advice. The final paragraph sums up the wisest approach:
It is crucial that a business owns its name, address and phone number in as many places as possible and keeps listings consistent for all search engines and data providers. … Create a solid foundation. Give search engines the ability to aggregate as much consistent content as possible about your business. That in turn, will give your business maximum online visibility.

The approach being suggested here will help you create that “solid foundation”.

How people search for companies in this mobile world

As Google so forcefully reminds us, people are now searching increasingly on their smartphones when they are looking for a company. The important place for your company to be correctly indexed is in the main search engines that people use: these are Google and Bing. Provided these two have the correct NAP (name, address, phone number), then searchers will likely find the correct location for your company.

Unfortunately, these search engines may rely on all the information they can gather from the Internet which may include outdated information that some local directories have. The problem with out of date online directories is that provided the Name and phone number are correct, the search engine may assume that the address is likely to be correct.

In practical cases, this turns out to be a real problem if the same business telephone number remains unchanged as the company moves from one location to another. From experience, the telephone number seems to have the most important weight in determining whether a given company is being correctly identified by its NAP. In some cases even after a company name change, the old name will appear when doing a search for the company.

How to uniquely define your company and where it is located

In the pre-Internet days, it clearly was an advantage to maintain the same phone number through a company move. This is no longer true in some cases. By starting with a clean slate and a new telephone number, the company can be cleanly registered with Google and with Bing.

There will be no confusion with previous addresses since they have a different telephone number. The announcement of the change in address to the world can also mention the new telephone number and perhaps improved customer service that will be possible.

It still is important to register this new NAP with the more important local search directories. It is also important to maintain the old telephone number with redirection for a number of months.

The reason why this is important is that on a smartphone, a search for a service company in either Google or Bing will be interpreted as a local search. Unless these search engines correctly identify the location of any given company, which hinges on its business telephone number, it will not be offered in the list of local suppliers. Your local competitors are the ones who will be more visible in that search.

In summary, the choice of whether you maintain the same telephone number or use this opportunity to start afresh is very different now that the Internet exists. You should map out carefully how the two choices will affect you and then choose wisely.

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