We all know that telephone numbers, even in the Internet Age, are part of our identity, and in a B2B or B2C context, they are critical to our brand identity. That is why the transferring of telephone numbers from one service provider to another is a non-trivial pursuit. It also can be complicated if not done correctly, causing frustration to say the least. The good news is that the folks at 8x8 Inc., a market leading hosted VoIP, contact center and unified communications provider, are out with a list of eleven best practices so that transferring your number does not become a time-consuming and aggravating event.
Knowing what to do
If you follow the steps below, number transferring can be made easy. As you will see, almost everything on the list has to do with mismatched customer records, but there are a few that are literally “tricks of the trade.” As 8x8 cautions:
“Phone (News - Alert) providers can be fussy when it comes to releasing your numbers to another provider. And when they reject number transfer requests…Most of these delays are preventable.”
Before looking at the list, what you need to know is that very often, transfer delays are caused by a mismatch between the information you submit on the transfer request and what your provider has on file on your Customer Service Record (CSR (News - Alert)). The bottom line, since this is by and large an automated process, if there is a mismatch your request will be rejected. And, also be advised that your CSR is different than your bill, so ask your current provider for a copy of your CSR to cut down on problems at the front-end of the process.
That said, here is the 8x8 (News - Alert) list.
1. Telephone Numbers Disconnected: If your numbers are disconnected, they cannot be transferred. Do not cancel your current service until your numbers have been successfully transferred! So don’t pull the trigger too early because there is no fix for this situation.
2. Special Features on Phone Numbers: Your provider will not transfer phone numbers that have special features attached to them. Call your provider and remove these before you begin the number transfer process or your transfer could take months longer than it should, while you continue to pay to keep those numbers active. Examples of features on the line include:
a. Remote Call Forward (RCF), Hunting, Ring Mate
b. CustoPAK, Foreign Exchange, Distinctive Ring
c. Centrex service
3. DSL on the Line: If you have DSL on your number, you will lose your Internet service if it transfers before you remove it from the line. Don’t risk this happening. Move it to another number or find an alternate Internet service before you request your number transfer. Most of the time your provider will block the number transfer, but if it goes through, you’ll be scrambling for Internet service and your phone service won’t work either.
4. Business Name Mismatch (for business accounts): You enter Smith Mufflers, but the provider’s record says Smith Brake and Mufflers. This will cause a rejection until the correct information is resubmitted.
5. Residential Name Mismatch (for residential or personal accounts): You enter John Smith, but your provider’s record says Matthew Jonathan Smith. Again, lack of a perfect match will result in a rejection until the correct information is resubmitted.
6. Service Address Mismatch: The address you entered doesn’t match your service provider’s record and causes a rejection. Possible causes include:
a. Entering the billing address instead of the service address
b. Entering the service address for another location
c. Entering the service address in a very different format than what they have on file
7. Incorrect Billing Telephone Number (BTN): If you provide the wrong billing telephone number (the main number associated with the account) it will trigger a rejection.
8. Incorrect Authorized Name: If the person who signs off on the transfer request (the Letter of Authorization) is different from the Authorized Name your provider has on file, your request will be rejected.
9. Outstanding Orders on the Account: If you recently made changes to the account or ordered additional services, this will conflict with the order to transfer numbers (there can only be one order active). You will need to cancel any pending orders on the account.
10. Transferring Some, But Not All Numbers on an Account: If you are transferring some but not all of the numbers on an account, your provider will be asked what your plans are for the remaining numbers.
11. Missing or Incorrect Account Number and PIN, or SSN (cell/mobile accounts only): If you are transferring mobile/cell numbers, you will be asked to provide either the account number plus PIN, or the last four digits of Social Security number on that account. Put in the wrong info and your request will be rejected.
A good way to think about this is practical experience from when you move and have to have mail forwarded, medical records sent to a new doctor, check your credit score when getting pre-qualified for a loan, etc. The reality is that if the information you are using for a request is not a match with what is on file, either a machine or a person is going to inform you, “request denied!”
As 8x8 says, when it comes to transferring your telephone number, being forearmed is you best way to prevent problems and almost everything that could stand in the way of the process being fast and simple is preventable.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo