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New phone number. Is it worth the hassle.

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The Tipsy Butler

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Looking for WoW (Words of Wisdom)
Our local phone company is expensive and has a monopoly. We would love to switch to one of the many "alternate" technologies out there - VOIP, Home Connect etc etc BUT our phone number isn't "portable" - ie we would have to get a new number. New number for an established business - everything says NO, but the annual savings would be huge.
Any thoughts? Obviously we could run in tandem for a while .....
 

JBloggs

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I AGREE 100% our monopoly rip off here is $50-75 without any long distance calls, EMBARQ YOU WEEZELS!
I have batted this around time and time again. You get ALL the features with VOIP (which we had on our second line for a while then got rid of it). It even emails you calls you have missed.
 

The Tipsy Butler

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I AGREE 100% our monopoly rip off here is $50-75 without any long distance calls, EMBARQ YOU WEEZELS!
I have batted this around time and time again. You get ALL the features with VOIP (which we had on our second line for a while then got rid of it). It even emails you calls you have missed..
.... we are double that. I wince every time I pay the bill (no on-line payment, no direct debit) but changing the phone number for a business that I've worked so hard to get established makes me shudder.
In this case I really feel caught between a rock and hard place. My accountant side has superb arguements but my business / marketing side is matching them every step of the way.
 

muirford

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I AGREE 100% our monopoly rip off here is $50-75 without any long distance calls, EMBARQ YOU WEEZELS!
I have batted this around time and time again. You get ALL the features with VOIP (which we had on our second line for a while then got rid of it). It even emails you calls you have missed..
.... we are double that. I wince every time I pay the bill (no on-line payment, no direct debit) but changing the phone number for a business that I've worked so hard to get established makes me shudder.
In this case I really feel caught between a rock and hard place. My accountant side has superb arguements but my business / marketing side is matching them every step of the way.
.
We have the same situation. A business phone established at the beginning with two lines being charged at the business rate (2x the residential). That business rate gets you less service - the business customer service hours end at 5 and the residential end at 9. Can't change it to a new service without losing the number, which has been in place for 26 years. Rock and hard place.
 

gillumhouse

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We were a residence first so in the normal order of things had a phone (residence). When we went B & B, I already had a phone in the house. I went with a toll-free company and got an 888 - the same as my local number! THEN the buyer of the toll-free company was bought out by the phone company I had residential service with. Different pockets so I guess no one noticed (or cared). I, thankfully, am still residential withthe phone but when I got DSL was able to drop second line so cost was a wash (DSL w/high speed = cost of second line) so at least it did not cost more. A friend who had a biz line told me (in 1996) she paid $70 per month + a per call charge (even local). Another reason fore-armed with that knowledge, I did not make the mistake of getting a biz line. We ARE still a residence.
Edited to ask - why is the number not portable? You hear in al the adverts about number being portable.....
 

The Tipsy Butler

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We were a residence first so in the normal order of things had a phone (residence). When we went B & B, I already had a phone in the house. I went with a toll-free company and got an 888 - the same as my local number! THEN the buyer of the toll-free company was bought out by the phone company I had residential service with. Different pockets so I guess no one noticed (or cared). I, thankfully, am still residential withthe phone but when I got DSL was able to drop second line so cost was a wash (DSL w/high speed = cost of second line) so at least it did not cost more. A friend who had a biz line told me (in 1996) she paid $70 per month + a per call charge (even local). Another reason fore-armed with that knowledge, I did not make the mistake of getting a biz line. We ARE still a residence.
Edited to ask - why is the number not portable? You hear in al the adverts about number being portable......
Why is the number not portable?
THAT is the nub of this issue. We have a local monopoly - any other potential local provider is not an option. We have had to cobble together a local / long distance scenario that I hate. I would make the change in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the business aspect. As a guest, hearing "this number is no longer in service" would make me run a mile. I have a real problem with not being able to find a solution and in this case it's "damned if I do, damned if I don't".
Bottom line - I need to figure out whether I just suck it up and stay with what I have or bite the bullet, make the change NOW and deal with the consequences.
 

Alibi Ike

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Do you get a lot of phone calls or no? We've had our number for 20+ years. It would be tough to let it go and we're not a portable exchange, either. Where do most of your guests find you?
Look at it from this standpoint, if most of your guests find you thru your website instead of biz cards or brochures that they may have laying about it might be ok. Any directory you're on you change that phone number and you're still ok.
If MOST of your biz is thru those biz cards or brochures, the guest might think you've gone out of biz and stop right there. If they're a little savvy, they'll try the website.
So, figure out where most of your biz comes from before jumping ship. But it might not make any difference to the guests at all. You can send an email to everyone who has already stayed to let them know to toss the old info.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I think it's never been a better time to do the switch. Technology has changed a lot in the last few years and most folks are used to going to websites for info. If most of your reservations are made online, even better. It seems to me that if a guest, even a repeat one, wants to call you to make a reservation, they would go to your website or do an online search to get your phone number. I doubt any of us are on our guest's speed dial!
You might want to do a transition. Get the VOIP, change your number on all your web pages and listings and see which phone rings and the type of call it is. Do it for a couple of months.
 

toddburme

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Will the current company do one of those "The number you are calling has been changed to ... " for pretty cheap? Also you have to google the current number and ask all of those websites to change the number. And what if a smart competitor buys the old number once you move?? A lot of work but the cost is pretty significant.
 

gillumhouse

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We were a residence first so in the normal order of things had a phone (residence). When we went B & B, I already had a phone in the house. I went with a toll-free company and got an 888 - the same as my local number! THEN the buyer of the toll-free company was bought out by the phone company I had residential service with. Different pockets so I guess no one noticed (or cared). I, thankfully, am still residential withthe phone but when I got DSL was able to drop second line so cost was a wash (DSL w/high speed = cost of second line) so at least it did not cost more. A friend who had a biz line told me (in 1996) she paid $70 per month + a per call charge (even local). Another reason fore-armed with that knowledge, I did not make the mistake of getting a biz line. We ARE still a residence.
Edited to ask - why is the number not portable? You hear in al the adverts about number being portable......
Why is the number not portable?
THAT is the nub of this issue. We have a local monopoly - any other potential local provider is not an option. We have had to cobble together a local / long distance scenario that I hate. I would make the change in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the business aspect. As a guest, hearing "this number is no longer in service" would make me run a mile. I have a real problem with not being able to find a solution and in this case it's "damned if I do, damned if I don't".
Bottom line - I need to figure out whether I just suck it up and stay with what I have or bite the bullet, make the change NOW and deal with the consequences.
.
Question? I have no idea how much the new phone number would cost you so my questions is this - As Ike pointed out, web is where people go. If you could dual system for a couple months, send an e-mail blast to your regulars and/or past guests that your number has changed.... and then if you get nothing (or few) calls other than the telemarketers, yel low pa ges, and dead air, you can drop the old number and line.
 

The Tipsy Butler

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Thank you for all the input. There is so much to think about.
Our die-hard guests call us.
The new phone number costs nothing.
Unfortunately many of our die-hards don't know what a computer is (and yes, these are GOOD repeat business guests and referrers). I can do a snail-mail blast and make a lot of calls but with so many local businesses going under hearing "this number is no longer in service" could be a death sentance.
I'm leaning towards running in tandem for at least a year. Change everything, but keep the old number running. I like Diva's idea of simply monitoriing who is calling the old number and making appropriate adjustments .... BUT many of the options out there will require me to use existing phone jacks for the new number so I need to figure out how I can still get incoming calls from the old number (not to mention the dedicated lines for the credit card machine and fire / security system).
 

agoodman

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it's a toss up .... I am in the same situation, Windstream is the ONLY provider in the area for home phone and internet .... I would also save a LOT if I could change to VOIP / cell only or Magic Jack type phone but I have so much collateral PRINTED that my existing tel number is on and no way am I going through stamping each one with new tel .. if you don't have a lot of printed collateral I would say GO FOR IT
people will get a "this number is no longer in service" and will look up your new number
 

gillumhouse

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Thank you for all the input. There is so much to think about.
Our die-hard guests call us.
The new phone number costs nothing.
Unfortunately many of our die-hards don't know what a computer is (and yes, these are GOOD repeat business guests and referrers). I can do a snail-mail blast and make a lot of calls but with so many local businesses going under hearing "this number is no longer in service" could be a death sentance.
I'm leaning towards running in tandem for at least a year. Change everything, but keep the old number running. I like Diva's idea of simply monitoriing who is calling the old number and making appropriate adjustments .... BUT many of the options out there will require me to use existing phone jacks for the new number so I need to figure out how I can still get incoming calls from the old number (not to mention the dedicated lines for the credit card machine and fire / security system)..
Cheap snail mail for your non-computer gueats VISTAPRINT!!!
Do a postcard with your inn photo so they KNOW it is from you with the message - we have a NEW phone number!!!! Here it is. Please add us to your phone list of family, friends, and FAVORITES!!
 

Generic

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Maybe I don't understand something... how is your phone number not portable? Do they offer a virtual phone number service? We have one that we can program via the Internet to forward calls to a certain number at certain hours. You could use that to forward to a VOIP line.
Of course, I mostly get questions on my voice line. People book my rooms online. It actually changes our guest demographic from that of other B&Bs. We have a much younger clientele.
 

The Tipsy Butler

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Maybe I don't understand something... how is your phone number not portable? Do they offer a virtual phone number service? We have one that we can program via the Internet to forward calls to a certain number at certain hours. You could use that to forward to a VOIP line.
Of course, I mostly get questions on my voice line. People book my rooms online. It actually changes our guest demographic from that of other B&Bs. We have a much younger clientele..
complicated, but a reality. Our # CAN NOT be transferred. It's a small, local company with a monopoly. A call-forwarding arrangement would still require me to keep them as my primary carrier.
 

Alibi Ike

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Thank you for all the input. There is so much to think about.
Our die-hard guests call us.
The new phone number costs nothing.
Unfortunately many of our die-hards don't know what a computer is (and yes, these are GOOD repeat business guests and referrers). I can do a snail-mail blast and make a lot of calls but with so many local businesses going under hearing "this number is no longer in service" could be a death sentance.
I'm leaning towards running in tandem for at least a year. Change everything, but keep the old number running. I like Diva's idea of simply monitoriing who is calling the old number and making appropriate adjustments .... BUT many of the options out there will require me to use existing phone jacks for the new number so I need to figure out how I can still get incoming calls from the old number (not to mention the dedicated lines for the credit card machine and fire / security system)..
Your die hards and mine, too. Most of them never book online, they just call and ask if we have anything for them. Or, they show up at the door, praying. Diva's idea is a good one. I know thru the phone co you can get distinctive ringtones for different numbers on the same phone line. It is possible the VoIP plan can do the same. You set a certain ringtone for that and let the old number ring as usual. Let me know if it's possible. I see a revolt in the making!
 

Alibi Ike

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Maybe I don't understand something... how is your phone number not portable? Do they offer a virtual phone number service? We have one that we can program via the Internet to forward calls to a certain number at certain hours. You could use that to forward to a VOIP line.
Of course, I mostly get questions on my voice line. People book my rooms online. It actually changes our guest demographic from that of other B&Bs. We have a much younger clientele..
GBManor said:
Maybe I don't understand something... how is your phone number not portable?
The phone company has certain numbers they refuse to sell. So it depends on where you live if your exchange or prefix is for sale or not. I could move down the street and take my phone number with me, but not if I move out of the area. And the phone company owns the number, not me, so they decided if they want to sell the exchange I'm on to a competitor. (VoIP or another phone company or whatever.)
 

Joey Camb

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thats a pile of
it would be illegal in this country to (A) have a monopoly and (b) not let you take the number with you. It is one of the things I have always thought was odd about the USA as it is supposed to be the land of free enterprise but banks and phones and power don't seem to have got the memo.
 

gillumhouse

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thats a pile of
it would be illegal in this country to (A) have a monopoly and (b) not let you take the number with you. It is one of the things I have always thought was odd about the USA as it is supposed to be the land of free enterprise but banks and phones and power don't seem to have got the memo..
But it is not a true monopoly. They own that phone exchange as Ike explained. If it were a true monopoly she would not be able to get another phone company with another number. A true monopoly is illegal here also. snicker/snicker. There are many electric companies in the US - however if I want electricity to MY house I have to get it from the power company with the franchise in my area - or get a BIG generator. What choices do you have for your utilities? Can you get electric service from Company A or Company B or Company C or does Company B turn the lights on and if you want lights you get the juice from them. Company A may supply the next county and Company C supplies the Dales, but you are in the baliwick of Company B. Same thing here - who has the franchise for that area.
 

Joey Camb

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thats a pile of
it would be illegal in this country to (A) have a monopoly and (b) not let you take the number with you. It is one of the things I have always thought was odd about the USA as it is supposed to be the land of free enterprise but banks and phones and power don't seem to have got the memo..
But it is not a true monopoly. They own that phone exchange as Ike explained. If it were a true monopoly she would not be able to get another phone company with another number. A true monopoly is illegal here also. snicker/snicker. There are many electric companies in the US - however if I want electricity to MY house I have to get it from the power company with the franchise in my area - or get a BIG generator. What choices do you have for your utilities? Can you get electric service from Company A or Company B or Company C or does Company B turn the lights on and if you want lights you get the juice from them. Company A may supply the next county and Company C supplies the Dales, but you are in the baliwick of Company B. Same thing here - who has the franchise for that area.
.
our water is like that but phone, gas, electric, cable are ones I can get from anyone I just go on Uswitch and punch in the details and get the cheapest one and change. Just changed for my rental house and should save $1200 over the next year was very straight forward they just needed gas and electric meter readings (I get both from the same company as you get a discount, you also get a discount for direct debit)
 
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