Direct inward dialing, or DID, is a VoIP feature in use by millions of businesses across the country. You may use it every day and not know it, but once you’ve used it, you’ll know DID is almost indispensable to your business.
Have you ever tried calling a business and been confronted with an auto dialing system where you have to hunt for the right place to route your call? DIDs eliminate this frustration by providing employees with unique, virtual direct dial numbers that eliminate or reduce your need for an auto attendant. DIDs are a key feature for VoIP services. Here’s how DID works and how it can help your business.
What is DID for VoIP?
The DID feature allows a company to use a block of virtual, specific phone numbers to connect to a company’s internal phone system. That phone system can be a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) or VoIP. This feature lets companies set up individualized phone numbers that bypass reception or the automated attendant and go straight to a desk extension or a series of extensions. You can use a “find me, follow me” feature to even call through several of these numbers so that every call is handled by a person.
There’s some power in being able to say, “Call my direct line.” It’s a relationship-builder that you can use to subtly further your customer relationships. The DID number looks the same as any number; it is indistinguishable from a standard line on plain old telephone service (POTS) or your cell phone. But the DID doesn’t require a landline to work, which makes DID numbers inexpensive to add to your existing VoIP or PBX.
How does Direct Inward Dialing Work?
If you have standard landlines and a PBX on a public switched telephone network (PSTN), a company like VoIP First Media can virtually connect a block of DIDs to a company’s PBX. These individualized numbers are assigned to your team members. When a call comes into the direct-dial number, it routes through the trunk to the PBX and the virtual DID number. You can combine the DID feature with DOD, which is a direct-outward-dial feature that allows an employee to dial out from the DID number instead of just receiving inbound calls.
The beauty of DID in this instance is that you can have just a few trunk lines that you’re paying for, and thus can tack on 50 DIDs with very little cost for your company.
But if you have business VoIP service, DID works well without the expensive trunk lines or even the hardwired PBX system. Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) uses the internet to make calls. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way to modernize an outdated business communications system. VoIP works by way of SIP trunking, which takes virtual phone lines over the internet and connects the DID numbers to increase the number of lines flowing into your business. The SIP trunk lines activate as they’re needed, so you can imagine how your monthly phone bill improves with virtual phone service.
Having VoIP with DID lines is a very scalable way to build your business. Say you’re about to run a sales campaign. Key to the order-taking process is having a set of phone lines where customers can call in. With DIDs and VoIP, you don’t have to hire a traditional phone company to come out and add more physical phone lines. Just tack on a block of 50 DIDs and wait for the calls to come in. If it’s a national campaign, you can even establish DIDs by geographic territory so you know where orders are coming in from.
Call Centers and DIDs
Let’s tackle a specific use case to help you understand the best ways to leverage DID technology. Call center DIDs are designed to cut your operational costs while still providing excellent call response metrics. Here’s how it works.
Say you have eight lines, or trunks, flowing into your call center. You can attach 100 DIDs (or 50 or 25, or any other number) without having to add more trunks. This is important, because a busy call center is often your first point of contact with a customer. Obviously, the voice support of your customers remains a top priority. Call centers traditionally use a PBX for call management. These systems can add DID functionality for a low-cost, efficient way to expand the reach of their legacy PBX systems.
Benefits of DID VoIP
There are myriad benefits of DID VoIP for business, whether you have a call center or just an internal team. This includes:
- Cost savings
Business VoIP services save companies thousands of dollars each year. Adding DID virtual numbers means you also avoid the installation costs of hardwiring phone service. You can use DID numbers even on different continents and save on long-distance phone fees. Finally, you don’t need to add more physical hardware to your existing system to use DIDs.
- Time savings
Sending calls directly to an individual means that business will become more efficient. Imagine your world without “telephone tag” and you’ll get a sense of how DIDs can facilitate more efficient communication. When the customer can reach who they need on the first try, follow-up becomes faster and easier.
- Improved customer relationships
Speaking of the customer, having DID numbers means you can link an account manager with a group of customers for more efficient care delivery. This personalization is critical to maintaining relationships with your clients. If you’re giving your number a generic call center number where they’re on hold, or perhaps worse, if you are sending them through a PBX every time, it can become incredibly frustrating. Giving a customer your “personal number” means that you’ve established a commitment to providing them with the best in customer support. Does your competitor offer this kind of service?
- Supports remote workforce
We know that many companies have moved their teams remote. Many say they aren’t planning on going back to a traditional office. Today, DID VoIP can add a direct virtual number to your employee’s cell or home line. This overlay protects the privacy of the employee while facilitating communication between the customer and the employee, no matter where they’re working.
- Better team communications
DIDs come with a dedicated extension so that employees can easily pick up the phone and call each other. They don’t need to be in the same building, city, or even geographic area, either.
- Local phone numbers
Interestingly, many people prefer calling local phone numbers. If your business is located in one primary location but wants to expand across the country, DIDs allow you to provide the appearance of local service, even if you’re not physically in that location.