What’s In A Number? What Your Phone Number Says About You
So you may have heard about this new legislation stipulating that companies may not direct customer complaints to an 0845 number. Before coming into effect on 13th June 2014, anticipation of this change has led to a back-lash against 0845 numbers as a sign of a customer-unfriendly company.
But are we too quick to judge 0845s? Having already invested in your number and your marketing, perhaps you think it’s too late to change now. After all, the only changes that legally apply to businesses are those directing customer complaints lines to 0845 numbers.
But if you were to distance yourself from 0845 numbers, or at least look into an alternative to offer your callers, what number should you go with? Perhaps you don’t feel a geographic number would suit you because you need to appeal to customers all over the UK. How can you retain your nation-wide appeal and provide your customers with an alternative?
The truth about 0845s
It’s time we got to the bottom of this 0845 thing.
Actually, 0845s aren’t as demonic as you might think. When calling an 0845 number from your landline, you are only ever charged a local rate. This means that you just pay whatever you’d pay to call any landline in the UK, between 1p and 11p a minute.
But when you call an 0845 from your mobile, the price gets considerably steeper and you could pay anywhere between 14p and 40p a minute.
Recent changes to UK legislation mean that companies cannot direct callers to 0845 numbers when calling specifically to complain. Dedicated customer complaints lines must therefore not begin with 0845, as essentially, you would be charging customers to complain.
So 0845 numbers are just local numbers unless you are calling from a mobile, at which point they cost significantly more to call.
Who are 03 numbers for?
03 numbers were introduced in their current form in 2007 as an alternative to 08 numbers. According to Ofcom, “These new numbers allow organisations to have a single national point of contact without consumers having to pay extra to call them.”
Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calls to local 01 and 02 numbers no matter where you’re calling from. This means you can call organisations from your landline, your mobile, a payphone or any other fixed line without the higher costs incurred by 08 numbers from some of these mediums.
Pros and cons
The benefits of employing an 03 number for your business are already apparent. While enabling businesses to convey a nation-wide image, they are also customer-friendly. 0845 numbers, on the other hand, are currently suffering from bad press. While not inherently bad or expensive, they do cost more from certain phone lines and packages.
You could argue that 03 numbers haven’t fully bloomed yet. Still relatively new, people aren’t sure what they cost to call. From this point of view, 0845 numbers represent professionalism and stability because customers recognise them and understand what they represent.
Do I need a new number?
Your clients are accustomed to your existing number. You have it printed on all your marketing collateral, advertise it on your website and social media channels and you’ve memorised it yourself, of course. Changing numbers might not be convenient, but adding a second number could be beneficial for your customers and therefore for you.
While alldayPA currently offer clients complementary 0845 numbers with every account, in light of the changes to UK legislation, we are now able to offer all new and existing clients an 03 number. If you already have your 0845 number set up, we can set you up a corresponding 03 number for you to advertise alongside your existing number.
So if your number is currently 0845 000 1111, we can set you up with an 03 number to match – 0345 000 1111.
This will be better for your marketing and for your memory, as neither you nor your callers will have to remember two different numbers!