UKIP’s wrong number: what should happen in a case of mistaken identity?

By Matt Watts

9 years ago

When creating advertising or marketing material to be shown to the public, many people will have had the same recurring worry: what if there is a printing error or mistake? This week, we saw this go spectacularly wrong for UKIP, as they managed to display a phone number they didn’t own on their billboard material. The number they actually printed belonged to a photographer who promptly received a barrage of phone calls to her phone.

But what should you do if you realise that you’ve used someone else’s phone number? The best you can realistically hope for in this situation is that the number is unused and you could potentially buy the number and then forward it onto the correct number which would avoid any disruption.

In UKIP’s situation, the number belonged to photographer Alexandria Hall, so what can they do? The first step is clearly to contact the number in question and explain the situation to them. From there a number of options exist. For example, they could move the number into a call management platform which would then play a number of options. This way you could present the problem along with the options to speak to a UKIP representative by pressing 1, or speak to Ms. Hall by pressing 2. This could easily be used as an intermediate measure to ensure Ms. Hall doesn’t get bombarded by calls which are nothing to do with her, whilst also ensuring she doesn’t lose out on any potential business. You can also monitor the results with this option, meaning that when people stop pressing the UKIP option, the number can be taken out of the call management system and normal practice can resume.

The alternative, whilst similar, is more severe as it would involve simply auto-forwarding all calls to the correct number and providing a new number for the inconvenienced person. Obviously, this option wouldn’t be appropriate as Ms. Hall could lose out on potential customers, but if this were a personal number this could prove to be the most convenient way of alleviating the problem. In this case, normal practice would be for the offending company to cover the costs of the number transfer and to take ownership of the process.

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