Direct inward dialing (DID) is a service that telephone companies offer that allows businesses to assign individual phone numbers for every employee or department within their organization. This means that someone external to the company can directly call a specific person or team within your company, without having to go through a menu or a switchboard operator.
DID can help your company save time, money, and energy, making your teams more efficient—and your customers happier. Here’s how, more specifically, you can reap all the benefits of direct inward dialing and why it can be such a game-changer for your business.
Direct Inward Dialing Is More Than a Hotline
How often have you had to call a company for an urgent matter, only to end up lost in a maze of “Press One” and “Press Two” instructions from an automated voice? And how many times have you had to wait on the line for several long minutes just to be transferred between departments?
If you’ve ever been through this experience, you know how frustrating it can be. This is precisely why you should consider getting DID for your business—to give your customers a better overall customer experience. Ultimately, this should result in happier customers who are more likely to buy from you and even recommend your products and services to others.
From the customer’s perspective, a direct inward dialing number works like every other phone number: they call a specific department and get their answers.
From the perspective of the business employing DID, however, things are a bit more complicated. DIDs are not separate phone numbers—they’re like branches of a tree, connected to the same trunk, drawing nutrients and water from the same soil. In DID, this trunk is called ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) or ISP (Integrated Service Provider).
When someone calls a DID number, they’re automatically redirected to the branch assigned to that number. In the background, the phone system at the ISP looks at the phone numbers, matches it with the direct inward dialing number assigned to each person or team, and routes the call to the right phone. All of this is done by a system called a Private Branch Exchange (PBX).
Advantages of Direct Inward Dialing
Direct inward dialing comes with a long list of benefits you should consider for your business. Some of the most important ones include:
- Provide a better experience for your customers, which increases customer satisfaction
- Creates a personalized service for customers, which builds loyalty
- Saves time for your team members and departments
- Helps you stay financially lean
- Enables you to stay flexible from a hardware standpoint
Being able to route phone calls to the person who can handle them best is a great benefit, both for your business and for your customers. DIDs help make communication more direct—and without the need for intermediaries, it also makes the interaction between customers and your company more efficient.
Direct inward dialing can help you save money and increase operational efficiency across the different departments in your organization. DID doesn’t need expensive hardware investments, it helps your team spend their time more wisely, and has the potential of both maintaining and attracting new business.
Direct Inward Dialing With VoIP
Traditionally, direct inward dialing worked through PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)—the classic ensemble of circuits that telecommunications used to rely on. This old school system needed trunk lines to connect to a company’s hosted PBX, which means the entire system needed actual leasing and copper wires.
In this setting, all inbound calls were forwarded to the PBX using the trunk line. Once there, the dialed number and calling party were provided, and then the PBX routed the inbound call straight to the intended phone extension.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this system, but the hardware requirements make it expensive and hard to scale. Plus, every new phone line added to a PSTN DID system means that at least some degree of business interruption will occur.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) simplifies direct inward dialing. Because it uses the internet to make and receive calls, this technology can make DID installation smoother, less costly, and easier to scale.
Instead of the PSTN trunking, VoIP uses session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking. These are not physical lines, but virtual ones, connected across broadband and available whenever needed. Not only is this less cumbersome in terms of how much space it takes up, it’s also easier to scale because you don’t have to call your telephone service provider to install physical trunk lines.
The best VoIP services allow you to add and remove lines whenever you want, have an unlimited number of calls simultaneously, save time and resources, and do it all at your own pace, accommodating changing business needs.
When to Use Direct Inward Dialing
DID systems can help a wide range of businesses. From assigning phone numbers to each member in your sales team to ensuring each of your departments has its own phone number that customers can call, there’s a wide range of use cases direct inward dialing can help with.
If you run an online store, you know that customer care, prompt service, and quick returns are all essential to the success of your business. Research shows 88% of consumers believe their shopping experience is just as important as the products they’re buying—or the brand they’re buying from.
Direct inward dialing can help you streamline the interactions between your customers and the different departments in your business.
For instance, you could have individual phone numbers for each person in your Returns department. This way, your customers will know exactly who they can call when they have questions or want updates on their order status. Likewise, you could have individual phone numbers for departments that specialize in customer care, technical help, sales, and public relations.
Creating personalized sales experiences is an effective way of getting your customers to continue buying from your business. Pair this with an exceptional customer experience, and they’ll be much more likely to remain loyal to your brand and recommend your business to others.
Direct inward dialing can help you create individual phone numbers for each of your sales reps. This way, every customer knows they’re assigned to one person who knows their history with the company, their needs, and their expectations.
Local Numbers in a Target Market
If you want to break into a target market, direct inward dialing can help you set up a local business presence with virtual phone numbers. This way, your potential customers see you as part of their community and feel more comfortable doing business with you.
You could use different area codes for different regions, making it easier to expand into new territories and establish yourself in multiple markets simultaneously.
This type of approach builds trust with local markets because it shows that you care about supporting them where they are, in their language, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. After all, customers might find it difficult to buy from an international company without a local call center—but with DID, you can create local phone numbers for your target markets and bring your business closer to them.
This is a classic use case of direct inward dialing, but nevertheless a very relevant one. If you run a hotel and want each room to have its own phone number, you need DID. You don’t want every call your patrons receive to be manually routed through your hotel reception, as this is inefficient for your staff and can potentially feel less private for your patrons.
VoIP direct inward dialing enables you to create as many phone numbers as you need, as well as adjust them when you need it. Plus, because it doesn’t require physical copper cable work, it won’t disrupt the well-kept atmosphere of your hotel.
Legal services should feel private and personalized. Same as in the hotel use case described above, people who need legal advice or support want to make sure their conversations are as private as possible. They don’t want to ask your receptionist to connect them to their lawyers every time they need to talk.
Plus, they want to feel like they receive a service that’s custom. No one wants to feel like just another case in a folder somewhere at the bottom of a long list of cases on a legal firm’s main desk.
Direct inward dialing enables legal services to make sure their clients have an easy way of reaching their lawyers at any time. It doesn’t matter if you run a solo practice or have hundreds of attorneys working for your firm—with DID, you can create personalized phone numbers for each attorney or department and streamline communication between different parties involved in a case.
This not only improves the overall customer experience but also makes it easier for your team to manage multiple cases and provide the best possible service to each client.
Government agencies are another great example of how useful DIDs can be. For instance, local municipalities and federal offices can have separate phone numbers for each of their departments. This way, citizens could call for assistance and information, and they’d get in touch with the department that can help them most. This not only streamlines the communication between government agencies and citizens but also helps improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.