Dedicated Vs. Shared Phone Number: How To Determine What Your Business Needs

Emma Brown
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SMS text messaging is an integral component of direct customer outreach. Done right, it forges an open, two-way, one-on-one line of communication with your audience. The more touchpoints you offer, the further your marketing reach extends—which ultimately results in greater loyalty and higher sales. However, to maximize text marketing’s potential, you must first consider your jumping-off point. Should your business invest in a dedicated phone number or a shared phone number? The answer to that will be different for every company. So, let’s distinguish the two and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of both.

What Is a Dedicated Phone Number?

Simply put, a dedicated phone number is one that’s uniquely tied to your business. It’s an unchanging number that leads directly to your business’s customer service department, or at the very least, an individual employee. This type of phone number can be assigned to mobile devices, desk accounts, or a virtual VoIP account.

The majority of these numbers come in standard 10-digit formats, although brands can choose to use a short code. As the name suggests, it’s simply a shortened dedicated number, typically comprised of five or six digits. With fewer numbers, short codes are easier to remember. That in itself is a noteworthy advantage. Customers can’t buy what you’re selling if they don’t know where to find you or how to get in touch.

The goal of dedicated phone numbers is to provide your customers with more quality access to your company. That’s because it allows them to send messages to the same number whenever they want. Customers can also save your business as a contact, which will prevent you from being regarded as spam. Furthermore, clear lines of communication will increase the reputability of your marketing messaging, promotions, and deals. Not to mention, using the same number to manage all communication with a customer will create a log of their previous interactions. That means everyone can stay on the same page even when dealing with different customer service representatives. Making customers repeat their grievances or questions over and over will only foster frustration. Having the right systems in place—like a dedicated company number—can go a long way in keeping customers heard and happy.

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The Pros and Cons of Using Dedicated Phone Numbers for Business

Dedicated phone numbers project credibility. They reiterate that a business is established, reputable, and guaranteed to promptly respond to inquiries. The ability to easily communicate with a company gives customers a sense of security when purchasing a product, using your services, or conducting business with your company.

As a whole, dedicated phone numbers make for an easier customer experience. Moreover, consistency in communication channels will alleviate the very valid concerns your customers have about phishing scams. Here are some of the key benefits of having a dedicated phone number:

  • Increased reputability as a result of consistent communication points
  • Higher consumer confidence in the authenticity of your marketing messaging
  • Better customer service, as it’s at their fingertips and available any time
  • More brand recognition and loyalty because chat logs and saved contact numbers create better relationships
  • Simplified purchasing processes, as customers can reach out to get their questions answered and issues addressed immediately
  • Greater confidence in purchases because it’s easy to get the help you need well after buying

For these reasons, it’s no surprise dedicated phone numbers are quickly overtaking their shared counterparts—particularly because their cons are far and in between. Truly, the only drawback of having a dedicated business phone number is slightly inflated costs. Granted, even though a shared phone number comes with a slightly smaller price tag, the long-term benefits of a dedicated line brings will more than makeup for the higher upfront costs.

What Is a Shared Phone Number?

An algorithm randomly selects a shared phone number out of a reservoir of potential options. You can then send your SMS message using that appointed number. However, it’s important to note that shared numbers are used by multiple brands, as their name implies. For example, your customer’s phone might already have a chat log of branded messaging from other companies under the same number that you send your SMS. In addition, other brands will be actively sending messages via the same number you are using.

Outside of their communal nature, shared numbers function much like dedicated numbers. Multiple employees can send and receive messages from the shared phone number, making it a flexible customer service option. Also, much like a dedicated number, shared SMS options can route incoming messages from customers to available team members.

Shared phone numbers can be a cost-effective solution for running SMS campaigns for companies that are less focused on building a reputation. Although shared numbers may not be suitable for more established brands, they can be a viable option for younger companies operating under stricter budgets.

The Pros and Cons of Using Shared Phone Numbers for Business

Sure, SMS marketing is an effective outreach method for most companies using shared numbers. Still, it begs the question: would these companies see better results if they switched over to a dedicated business phone number?

It’s a fair question to ask because, compared to their dedicated counterpart, a shared phone number boasts just one advantage: cost. Companies split the costs of these numbers, thereby reducing the upfront investment it takes to run a text marketing campaign. However, when you dive a little deeper into your projected return on investment, you’ll see that the potential costs of a shared number might be higher than they appear. Here are the cons of relying on a shared phone number:

  • Your customers feel disconnected from your company. When multiple businesses are using the same number, it can be difficult for a customer to get in touch with the appropriate team post-purchase. If there’s a problem with their order, an inability to get in touch can appear unprofessional at best and scam-like at worst.
  • Major carriers have blacklisted shared short codes. Shared short codes are just like their dedicated counterparts. They’re made to be more memorable because they have fewer digits. The only difference is that they’re shared between multiple businesses. Sadly, bad actors frequently use these shared codes maliciously, like spamming customers. Needless to say, others’ wrongdoings can get you blacklisted—abruptly cutting your customer communication and effectively ending your campaign.
  • Shared keywords can disrupt your campaign. The keywords you choose to opt into or opt out of in your messaging might be the same for other brands using your shared phone number. This limits the specific keywords you can use to build customer profiles and create a personalized conversational structure. Additionally, if a customer inputs a keyword to opt out of a different brand's messaging, it might unsubscribe them from all brands using that number, including yours.

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Dedicated vs. Shared Phone Numbers: What Does Your Business Need?

Newer, less established businesses pressured to spend less generally use shared phone numbers. However, the drawbacks of sharing a number can have detrimental impacts on your SMS marketing campaign returns. That’s why more businesses are choosing to invest in a dedicated phone number, particularly in dedicated short codes.

If your business can invest in a dedicated phone number, you’ll be setting your company up for long-term mobile marketing success. However, if your means are limited and you simply need to generate some interest and awareness in your product launch, a shared phone number can help you generate momentum.

Regardless, the fact is that SMS messaging is taking over the marketing space—and for good reason. It’s an invaluable way to generate customer engagement, no matter which type of number you choose to invest in. Of course, it’s hard to deny that dedicated phone numbers are the better option if you’re able to sustain their upfront costs. However, that doesn’t mean that shared phone numbers don’t offer returns for their users, too. Still, we’ve got to recommend upgrading to a dedicated number as soon as you have the means to do so.

Upgrade Your SMS Marketing With Landline Remover

Ultimately, your choice of a dedicated or shared phone number will come down to costs. What are you able to invest in your campaign, and what are your projected returns for doing so? Regardless of those answers, it's mission-critical to ensure that your campaign dollars stretch as far as possible.

One hidden cost that you need to consider is the lost cost of sending texts to landlines. Unfortunately, up to 30% of your SMS budget can be wasted on landlines. Imagine how much further your marketing budget would go only if you could ensure that your messages are going where intended. Luckily, Landline Remover can confirm that your SMS messages will be delivered to mobile numbers before you send them! Meanwhile, their smart features help you navigate regulations and stay in compliance—protecting both you and your customers in the process.

Reach out to us to learn more about how Landline Remover can help optimize your SMS marketing campaigns today.