Sorry, grandma. Gone are the days of home phones and landlines. When you move cities and/or states you face a difficult decision: do you keep your old number, or make the commitment to switch to the area code of your new location? For many people, this decision is of similar magnitude to keeping your maiden name versus changing to your married name.
Suffice it to say, your area code is a big deal. Like it or not, it’s part of your identity. You’re judged by, targeted by it, for better or worse. Songs are made about them (I’m looking at you Ludacris), there’s a black market for them (8 is apparently a lucky number in China) and some people are extremely territorial about them. Chances are, if you’re human and have been using a cell phone for more than 10 years, the caller ID function is your best friend, in knowing who to answer to, and, more importantly, who NOT to answer when they’re calling. When the number is not a known contact, a little bit of panic sets in, followed by some split-second investigative research of using the area code to identify where the call is coming from.
The Power of Local Numbers
So let’s get to the point: people are 4 times more likely to answer a call from a local number.
From what we’ve seen here, the thought process and likelihood to answer for each type of call is as follows:
- 800 number = Telemarketers (hopefully not anymore), debt collectors (eek). Absolutely do NOT answer.
- Out of State Number = Sales call for something I don’t care about, weird aunt Bessie finally got a number, overall highly suspicious. Let them leave a voicemail, and I probably won’t call them back.
- Local number = Maybe one of your friends got a new number, you’ve won a sweepstakes from a local radio station. It’s a 30% chance of answering, but definitely a double take of inquisition on who is calling.
There are a few things we know to be true about area codes: they can be a status symbol, people associate familiarity with them, and as of recently, they can be a selling tool for sales teams that are trying to reach a distributed targets in areas outside of their location with local presence dialing.
With all this in mind, companies with outbound sales departments that make calls across the country are jumping at the opportunity to have area codes that match their markets. What used to require a great amount of infrastructure and resources, with VoIP technology, is as easy as dialing 1-2-3.