July 06, 2017 19:02
Published: August 09, 2016 14:29
A business’s identity is something that, with few exceptions, is one of the most important things you can work to maintain. Everything from your logo to your packaging, all the way down to the colors and text on your website is absolutely vital, and no self-respecting designer would dare to take you “off-brand” when giving you work.
One of the things that many businesses associate with their identity is their phone number. And rightly so, especially if you’ve done any serious advertising with that phone number. Your potential customers might have marketing materials that are months or even years old by the time they pick up that phone for the first time and call in.
What do you think happens if they do that and the number is disconnected?
One shudders at the thought. However, thankfully, in the modern world of VoIP phone service, number porting, or moving your existing number to a new phone system provider, has become more of the norm than the exception.
But how does it work? What are the steps taken? The first step is usually filling out a Letter of Authorization (or LOA) with your new provider. This letter authorizes them to contact your old provider in order to get your new number ported over to them. That form is usually accompanied by a phone bill from the current provider.
Once that’s over, your status in this little adventure is going to be set to Awaiting Firm Order Commitment. This is essentially the approval process, handled by the VoIP gods, to see whether there are any problems/errors in this idea. If your number is deemed “not portable” (and this can happen for any number of reasons…) then you’re sadly out of luck. Pending any of these errors, the request to port ends up in the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC). These guys are the last stop before an overall agreement is reached to port your number over. In a perfect world, the next thing that happens is your number is ported over to your new provider.
Couple of things of note. This process can take anywhere from a week to a month to complete. In the meantime, a temporary number can be issued to your business from your new provider, and you can have calls forwarded over to the new number from the old number (the one being ported…) so that you don’t miss out on any business while this whole mess is going on.
Also, don’t shut off your old number with your previous provider before porting is complete!!! This will only result in the loss of that number permanently. Like, no-chance-of-getting-it-back kind of permanently. It goes back into the system to get recycled to a new customer.
Now, of course, if you don’t want to keep your old number, but rather get a shiny new one? Thankfully, VoIP is flexible like Gumby after hot yoga. Your provider can provide you with a brand new number easily, with whatever area code you wish. It never hurts to save your customers money, right?