Businesses love to have vanity phone numbers. In fact, it’s kind of an American pastime to come up with a novel phrase and let people crack the code to find out what the real phone number is. Some are actually pretty effective, even fun to memorize and use.
As much as we love them, though, vanity phone numbers can be problematic. Here are some of the reasons using a vanity number may not be such a great idea, after all.
1. There’s a higher risk that callers will dial the wrong number.
There is always the chance of a caller misdialing your phone number, but the chances are far greater when your caller has to, first, translate the letters into numbers, and then dial it without making a mistake.
Essentially, the person dialing has to either visualize the actual number in their head, or look back and forth between the letters, and the numbers on their dial pad. The correct number can be easily lost in translation. Superficially, the phone number represented by words seems like it would be easier for the person dialing it, but it actually turns out to be more work than simply using the numeric version.
2. Most people don’t like dialing them.
We’re all familiar with this experience: You see a cleverly-worded phrase, like “1-800-BUY-CARS”, on a billboard, television commercial, or website, and you need to call this place, so you must then proceed to decipher it.
As you begin to dial, you realize immediately that this is going to be more trouble than it’s probably worth. You may not even have the alphabet key on the dial pad in front of you, forcing you to mentally translate the words into numbers.
This requires thinking carefully about each letter and making sure that you dial the right corresponding digit. It can actually be fairly irritating to figure out and dial a vanity phone number, not to mention the fact that it takes a bit of time.
3. You probably won’t get the one you wanted.
Most people get their hearts set on a certain vanity number for their business and just assume that it will be available. That is often not the case, and many are shocked to find that the one they want is already registered. That is not necessarily because someone else has also thought of their brilliant wordplay, but simply because it was taken at random.
So, then you have to compromise. As you discover that not only your 1st choice, but your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices are all taken, you end up with a vanity number that is far from what you originally planned. Long story short, it’s tough to get your first choice.
4. You don’t really have to list the vanity number.
Here’s the kicker: To avoid confusion, you’re most likely going to end up putting the real number in parenthesis, next to the vanity phrase. And guess which one your callers are going to use? As witty and memorable your vanity phone number may be, it’s just easier when you can see the number right there in front of you. Most importantly, it cuts down on dialing errors that are more likely to occur with a vanity number.
In defense of vanity phone numbers, sometimes they’re actually helpful and effective. If you are lucky enough to have a really good one, it’s nice to be able to give customers a phrase that they can just recall from memory when they need to reach you.
That said, you’re probably better off saving yourself the extra fee that your carrier will charge for a vanity number search, and just get a regular number that stands out and is easy to remember, such as sequential numbers.
Accessing information is so quick and easy these days, that anyone who wants to find the phone number for your business can probably look it up on their smartphone, in less time than it would take them to translate a vanity number.
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