Reconsider Vanity Phone Numbers – Fast Friday Fact

Cool phone.  A shame it can't dial your vanity phone number.
Cool phone. A shame it can't dial your vanity phone number.

Take a look at your cell phone.  Remember the old touch pad on your bulky phone?   Remember how the letters A, B, C appeared around the number “2”?

Those were the days of vanity phone numbers.  But those days are changing.  Our telephone system doesn’t have letters on the phone’s dialing pad.    Neither do about 30% of the phones I just randomly checked.

Your takeway?   Vanity phone numbers that spelled great words maybe as dated as asking an operator dial “BUtterfield-8” instead of a string of digits.  Think carefully about all your branding, even your online branding, to ensure that someone facing a phone without letters on the keypad can find your business.

8 comments

  • aty1776

    aty1776

    Reply

    I would tend to disagree. Over the past few years I have owned quite a few “smart” phones and I have always been always been able to dial Vanity Numbers without any trouble. I think that phone manufacturers recognize the importance of Vanity Numbers for business, industry and society. That is why they have built in tools that allow for users to dial Vanity Numbers. From my point of view I don’t see Vanity Numbers going away anytime soon.

  • George Bounacos

    George Bounacos

    Reply

    Good point. My HTC TouchPro 2 has a graphic for traditional vanity numbers. But many phones don't. I think vanity numbers are going away because I see more and more advertised with the numbers like this: SEO-HELP (726-4357). That strikes me as a kludgey compromise.

    And the Blackberry pictured above has no letter overlay. Presented with letters, how would someone dial accurately?

    Just out of curiosity though, do you sell these types of services? I ask because you used a Comcast address & an IP that ties to a company selling vanity numbers. That's not a bad thing necessarily. I'm just curious how the fact that many phones no longer have the ability to dial letters has really impacted your business.

  • aty1776

    aty1776

    Reply

    Hi George.
    You are right. I did some consulting work for a vanity service provider. To address your point, people dialing vanities from smart phones has not been an issue for their business because all smart phones can actually dial a vanity, i.e. from a BlackBerry you hold the ALT key down and press the letters, the phone transposes them into the appropriate digits according to the universal phone pad. People should refer to their phone manual to learn the specific process to dial a vanity from their particular brand of phone. And, I have to disagree that vanities are going away. Companies like Best Buy, FedEx, UPS, and 1-800-FLOWERS still rely on their vanity numbers for direct access to their customer service and sales teams. These companies have in a sense branded themselves with vanity numbers, and have been using them for years. To see them move away from that is unlikely, in my opinion.

  • George Bounacos

    George Bounacos

    Reply

    Thanks for disclosing your financial interest in the matter. I think transparency is best when making any business claims.

    I don't disagree that large brands have invested in 1980s style branding. That branding will come to an end in my opinion.

    And because this is a site for small businesses, I didn't want to steer them down a 1-800 FLOWERS path, especially since I consider that a flawed model in a world where dialing itself will becoming anachronistic.

    But thanks for coming back and sharing your thoughts. You have much more faith than I do that someone will read a telephone manual! 🙂

  • CMW2525

    CMW2525

    Reply

    I have actually heard this concern when I was working on a project at Motorola. What is actually dying off at this time is the type of phone pictured above, with all of the physical buttons. Over the next few years, most than 1/2 of all new cell phones from all manufacturers will be touch-screen models, and almost all of the phone-dialing buttons on touch screen phones use the international standard letter-to-button scheme that is found on the traditional old North American telephones. Personalized business telephone numbers may or may not slow down or die off as a result of more focus on web-site visits, but the ability to correctly dial a vanity type telephone number will actually continue to become a lot less difficult than it has been over the past 5 to 10 years, during the rein of the type of phones such at the one pictured. Just an FYI, and I'm glad there are folks out there thinking about ideas like this. Thank you. BC

  • George Bounacos

    George Bounacos

    Reply

    Oh no, my BlacBerry is going away! 😀

    Hey, BC, the physical phone issue vs the touch screen display is a great thing to bring up. Good call. I missed it entirely. Of course a display would have the vanity numbers.

    Like nearly everything else on this site, this blog was born of personal experience or someone's personal experience relayed to me.

    Then of course Google's Click to Call with its routing rules (see our contact page here) make the whole thing moot!

  • CMW2525

    CMW2525

    Reply

    I have actually heard this concern when I was working on a project at Motorola. What is actually dying off at this time is the type of phone pictured above, with all of the physical buttons. Over the next few years, most than 1/2 of all new cell phones from all manufacturers will be touch-screen models, and almost all of the phone-dialing buttons on touch screen phones use the international standard letter-to-button scheme that is found on the traditional old North American telephones. Personalized business telephone numbers may or may not slow down or die off as a result of more focus on web-site visits, but the ability to correctly dial a vanity type telephone number will actually continue to become a lot less difficult than it has been over the past 5 to 10 years, during the rein of the type of phones such at the one pictured. Just an FYI, and I'm glad there are folks out there thinking about ideas like this. Thank you. BC

  • George Bounacos

    George Bounacos

    Reply

    Oh no, my BlacBerry is going away! 😀

    Hey, BC, the physical phone issue vs the touch screen display is a great thing to bring up. Good call. I missed it entirely. Of course a display would have the vanity numbers.

    Like nearly everything else on this site, this blog was born of personal experience or someone's personal experience relayed to me.

    Then of course Google's Click to Call with its routing rules (see our contact page here) make the whole thing moot!

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