Microsoft Teams number management is one of those topics that becomes a chore.
As a result, it often gets parked until the end of your Teams deployment.
The direct result of that is you have numbers all over the place, a lack of visibility, and a lot of manual hide and seek when you need to make changes.
What we really should be doing is thinking about number management best practices before we deploy Teams Phone.
“What can I do now that will save me time and effort later on?”
Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it’s dull. Heck, before writing this blog post, I literally asked:
The response I got was a resounding “Go for it!”.
So, please watch the video below and read the responses from each of the hand-picked Teams specialists as they share their Microsoft Teams number management best practices with you.
1 – Have a centralized and consistent data source for all phone numbers
Martin Heusser, Microsoft MVP and Senior M365 Engineer at Houlihan Lokey, says that when your data is stored in countless spreadsheets and maintained by different individuals, you end up with outdated, incomplete, or duplicated data.
In some cases, people don’t even know the data exists at all.
When everybody works from the same information, you’ll avoid all these problems and remove potential information barriers.
Consider a dedicated number management solution to keep everyone on the same page and stop duplication of administrative tasks.
Suggested Reading: Solve Your Microsoft Teams Number Management Woes
2 – Keep contiguous numbers together
If a number range starts at 000 and ends at 100, it’s ideal to group the users within the entire range together. This is mainly to keep them identifiable in the future.
For example, if your marketing team has an entire range assigned to them, it makes complete sense to assign a new staff member one of those numbers instead of a new one.
Likewise, if you have smaller departments, you can allocate sub-sections of that range so consecutive numbers get grouped together.
You may have a DDI range that starts 000 and ends at 100 but choose to have the following configuration:
- 000: Main inbound number
- 001 – 009: Marketing
- 010 – 019: Sales
- 020 – 039: Support
- 040 – 049: Accounts
Even if you only have 10 support staff at this moment in time, leaving space for future growth is catered to by the reservation of the extra 10 numbers allocated in the 020 – 039 range.
Using contiguous numbers helps with:
- Number porting in the future
- Administration and management
- Identification of which department a staff member belongs to
- Reassignment of numbers when staff members leave and their replacement begins
Suggested Reading: We Created A Single Pane Of Glass For Microsoft Teams Management
3 – Automate number quarantining
When managing phone numbers in large enterprises, staff turnover is higher than in smaller firms. That means the amount of moves, adds, and changes is naturally higher too.
If a user leaves, what you don’t want is their phone number to return to a free-for-all pool of numbers then get assigned to the next person that joins your company.
Because if a sales user had the number ending 019, their customers will likely have their direct dial saved and call it out of habit. If you have randomly assigned that number to a new user who happens to be in accounts, your customer is getting an inferior experience to the one they’ve come to expect. You’re choosing to add an extra transfer in their call journey.
You’re also unfairly treating your new accounts user as a receptionist, asking them to forfeit time in their day to carry out the work of a phone system.
The ideal scenario is automation that quarantines a phone number when a user leaves your company, removing the chance of incorrect assignment.
Within this quarantine pool, you may have a few scenarios applied:
- Call forwarding to other sales users
- Call forwarding to a sales huntgroup
- Play a message stating the user has left
- Do nothing and stay quarantined
Suggested Reading: 5 Benefits Of Automated UC Provisioning
4 – Reserving memorable numbers
Setting aside Teams phone numbers that have either a memorable number or frequently used number seems like a simple Teams number management best practice, so why doesn’t it happen?
If you have a range from 000-199, for example, you’ve got several memorable (sometimes called golden numbers) to choose from for various scenarios.
You might choose:
- 000 as your main company number
- 111 as your sales number
- 222 for a specific marketing campaign
- 5050 for a 50% off time-based offer
- 5000 set aside for another day when it would be perfect to use it
The moral of this story is to choose wisely when first assigning numbers to various users, groups, and devices.
On receiving your new range, or if you’re lucky enough to choose one from your provider, sort through nice-looking numbers and reserve them in your Microsoft Teams provisioning app.
Even better, if you can configure some rules to automate this, you can save time every time to get new numbers from Microsoft or any vendor.
Suggested Reading: We Fixed The Worst Thing About Microsoft Teams
5 – Organize numbers by meaningful location
If you’ve got lots of numbers across multiple offices and different regions, they’re likely organized by area code or prefix.
This is a good start and is okay if you’ve only got one office per geographical location. But if you’ve got two New York offices, for example, organizing your New York numbers in one group doesn’t really help.
Sure, you separate them from the rest of your locations. But you’re still none the wiser about which numbers belong to which office.
The ability to customize locations and store numbers by meaningful locations means you can organize numbers by office rather than per area.
Choosing to organize your numbers by meaningful location will lead to more efficient number management and less of a headache when it comes to administration.
Suggested Reading: How To Automate Microsoft Teams Number Provisioning