The Importance Of Choosing The Right Telephone Number

Published on 06th Oct 2014 in Tech

Choosing the right telephone number for your business is vitally important because it says a lot about you and your relationship with your customers. But if you don’t know your 01's, 02's, and 03's from your 080's and 084's or the potential costs to you and your callers, it can be a minefield.

More than just a number

Telephone numbers are more than just a means of customers and prospects getting in touch with you, vital though that is to a thriving enterprise, and can say a lot about your business. If you provide only a mobile (07) number, people may think your business is small. Choose a geographical number (beginning with 01 or 02) and you appear to be tied to a specific area, which is fine if you want to operate on a local or regional basis, but not ideal if you have ambitions to trade nationwide.

Provide a number that begins with 08 and callers may worry that the call will cost them too much following the recent bad press about these numbers being used for customer service lines.

First impressions count and the phone number you choose can have a direct impact on how potential customers and existing customers choose to get in touch with you. The customer or prospect may not make the call if your number seems uninviting and expensive to call, losing you a new client or conversely an existing customer that chooses to go elsewhere.

Playing the numbers game when it comes to choosing a phone prefix for your business or organisation can be daunting so here’s a guide that will help you choose correctly.

Freephone 0800 / 0808

The best way of attracting more calls to your organisation as it shows your customers you want their business by allowing them to call you for free. Of course this means that as a business you cover the cost of the call so it is a more expensive option.

Unfortunately calling Freephone numbers from a mobile is not yet supported in the UK and so you in addition you will need to provide a mobile friendly number.

01 / 02 Geographic Numbers

These are standard UK local area codes, such as 0203 London and 0121 Birmingham, with over 350 different area codes available. They are widely recognised and trusted hence the benefit of using different local area codes to appear locally within your advertisements target market. On the flip side these numbers are not ideal if you are targeting a national audience as you could deter callers from outside your geographic area from calling you.

If you are in the same local area calls to these type of numbers from a landline are at a local rate and are normally included free in your call plan at evenings and weekends. They are mobile friendly and are often free with inclusive minute packages by most mobile providers.

Non-geographic numbers 0843 / 0844

These are known as non-geographic numbers and are used by established companies wanting a national presence but without the associated cost to the business of using Freephone numbers.

Calls are charged at 5.1p from BT landlines, considerably more from mobiles, factors which have contributed to the negative press for these number types, even though a call to an 084 number can actually be cheaper than calling an 01/02 number outside of your area during the day time.

Do not use this type of number if your main goal is to increase the number of calls from consumers.

Premium Rate Services 09

Classed as premium rate numbers calls are charged between 10p and £2.50 per minute from landlines and considerably more from mobiles. These numbers are good for businesses wanting to provide a service over the phone using the revenue kickback model to bill the customer via the cost of the call. To operate this service you must register with PhonepayPlus.

03 UK Wide Numbers

If you’re looking for a single number to reach out to both your landline and mobile callers then 03 could be your lucky number! These numbers were brought in to replace the 0870 / 0845 number ranges to help stop the price confusion for consumers. One of the challenges faced by any new number range is how familiar the public is with it. This is something that the 03 number range has encountered however more and more organisations are realising the benefits of this particular number range for their callers. Radio 1 and the NHS are just two of the major organisations that use 03 numbers.

Calls to these numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 / 02 Standard numbers and are included in all bundled free minutes on all mobile / landline networks. While it may not suit every business, 03 has the following advantages:

  • It will be free to use for the majority of callers as, by law, it has to be included in free minutes and free call deals;
  • Even if paid for, a call to 03 will cost no more than a local call
  • You may attract more enquiries from outside your area – with an 03 number you won’t be judged on your location

As a business all you really want is the phone to ring. You want more enquiries about your products or services, hopefully converting these into sales. To make it easier to choose the type of number that is going to best suit your needs decide what you want to use your phone number for and whether this number will facilitate your overall business strategy and objectives.

If you’re unsure what type of number is best we recommend operating a few different numbers, then measure and track the calls to determine which number generates the best results for your business.

Digital Communications Manager

Andy Eastham
Digital Communications Manager

Loves comms and pr

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