Non-Geographical Telephone Numbering unravelled
UK 0800, 0808, 0844, 0845 numbering: which is the best telephone number for your business?
Confused about what is the best option for your business? – Lets take this opportunity to explain, Non-Geographical numbering. A very common situation for businesses is confusion; often not assisted from the myriad of information available in the world-wide-web. What’s most important is that you improve your understanding and then from an informed position, make the right choice of phone number for your business.
01 and 02 numbers are the backbone of the numbering system – they tell you at a glance where a business is geographically located. However with the emergence of VoiP the lines have become blurred as the old rules no longer apply. However where ever your business is physically located, choosing numbers for your business (now we know VoiP allows flexibility) is still based upon the same rules of where your target customer is physically based and targeting your service market locally to your number. For instance choosing either an 0207, 0208 or 0203 number will suffice for a London target audience.
For example – when you are looking for a electricians, the reaction of most people is to reach for the local paper or the yellow pages (both still great for small ads) alternatively google to find someone physically located close. As not everyone is an A-Z of their town, people look at the prefix of the number as a way of identifying the location of the service. (But what about mobile numbers I hear you ask? Well, bad news for businesses if you are using a mobile number in your advertisement, surveys show that 65% of potential customers are put off by a mobile number as they are seen them as somewhat ‘untrustworthy’ – if you are in business you’ve simply got to have a landline!)
Non Geographic Numbers?
Putting it simply it’s a national number which isn’t tied to a particular part of the UK – so it could be routing to any City or town in the UK or even a mobile number hence its not tied to a geographic area. In the world of telecoms non geographic (or Non-Geo) numbers can route to any existing landline or mobile number in UK or even be routed internationally. Calls can be routed to multiple landline and mobile numbers, and also to multiple voicemail destinations. How you set up the call routing and IVR options are entirely up to you.
So what options are available with non geographic numbers?
Non-geographic numbers come in a variety of number ranges, including:
0800 numbers Free-Phone numbers
With an 0800 freephone number your company can be perceived as a larger and more established business. Research has proved time and time again that customers do recognise and trust 0800 numbers. These are the classic UK Freephone numbers – free for the customer calling with the recipient company bearing the cost of the inbound calls. 0800 freephone numbers are a highly effective advertising and marketing tool, as they invite prospective customers to call for free. In fact research shows 0800 numbers can improve advertising response by 190%.
0800 freephone numbers send a positive message to customers, helping businesses to build a respectable image and customer base – that’s why all the Corporate companies use them. Surprisingly cost effective these numbers are for your business, generating sales leads and creating an improved image for your business.
What about 0808 Free-Phone numbers
0808 numbers are the latest version of the Freephone Numbers and have been introduced by Ofcom as new freephone numbers since 0800 ranges are now in extremely short supply. 0808 numbers offer all the same freephone advantages of 0800 numbers.
0843, 0844 and 0845 NGN Numbers
0844 and 0845 numbers are a recognized ‘caller pays’ Non-geographic number range – in essence calls to these number ranges cost between 1p and 13p per minute for landline customers, plus a call set-up fee. Calls from mobile phones cost between between 5p and 41p per minute, depending on the provider and the number called.
Many small businesses have used these numbers in the past to cover the costs of supporting their telecoms however businesses should be aware that since early 2014 Ofcom regulation requires that these numbers are not used for support or customer service lines (after all why should businesses profit from a complaint). But if you are a small business and have only one contact number that you use for all communications you won’t be compliant with this regulation if you don’t provide an alternate number – this is where 03 numbers come into the picture.
These are non-geographic numbers, but unlike their peers they cost the same to call as local numbers and must be included in inclusive minutes and discounts in the same manner as local calls. For businesses using 0843, 0844 and 0845 numbers and want to retain these but not fall foul of the Ofcom changes, the 0343, 0344 and 0345 variants should be available to you as well.
So which suits your business best? Local Telephone Numbers Vs Non Geographic
It’s really up to you and depends on where you see your customers coming from. Think of the customer (and think like a customer) – what type of numbers would you call for a service similar to yours, are you comfortable dialling certain number types (especially from a mobile where 08 ranges can cost considerably more).
As customers become more cost aware and businesses see the long term value of a customer centered approach think of how a prospective customer would look at your business and then choose the number type that’s right for you. You may also be interested to read about International Toll Free Services (provide a virtual presence in over 150 Countries Worldwide – choose an ITFS number).