Howdy – Zarte again with another blog article. Yes, I know I’m annoying, but I’m not sure Crimestoppers was the right choice of number.
Speaking of the right choice of numbers, how much consideration did you give to your business’ phone number or numbers? Because what might seem like a really irrelevant decision, can actually speak volumes about your business, and have an impact on the kind of business that you actually end up getting.
For instance, let’s start with the average small local business. For this, it’s best to have an average local number. Just a standard 01 or 02 number, depending on your location. If you’re aiming at an audience of mostly local people, then they’ll feel comforted by the idea of calling a business that shares the same dialling code as them. They feel that you’ll have their experiences and interests at heart.
However, what if your business reach is slightly further afield. Will people in the next dialling code feel the same sense of comfort? Perhaps, but there’s now the option to buy a second number for the same line – a number for the neighbouring area could give them the same sense of comfort, but you only need to answer the same phone.
Going further afield, there’s then what to do if you’re beginning to look at a more national reach. For one thing, the same logic can be applied as above. Buying a telephone number for each area you wish to operate in, and then having them divert to your same head office is a perfectly accepted and well used route. Indeed, these days technology is smart enough that you can even have your phone display which number is actually being called allowing you to answer “My Business, Liverpool” or “My Business, Manchester” or “My Business, Swind-“ actually, no that would be silly. No-one would call Swindon. However, I digress.
Another option at this point is to begin looking at national numbers, such as 03 numbers, and 0800 numbers. An 0800 number is a Freephone number from both landlines and mobiles, and is excellent when you’re trying to appear warm and engaging. After all, someone is far more likely to give you their business if they don’t have to pay for the privilege of trying to do so. 03 numbers on the other hand are charged at a local geographic rate, but still have the effect of appearing to be a national number – giving your business a sense of breadth.
In the past, you could also use 0845 numbers and 0870 numbers. These still exist, but are far less commonly used, for a number of reasons. Firstly, more and more companies decided that it was in their best interest to switch away from these for reasons of competitiveness. If the choice came between a company you had to pay a premium rate to call, and one you didn’t, then the one you didn’t would come out on top. But additionally, Ofcom ruled a couple of years back that it was unfair for customer care lines to be premium rate – as you shouldn’t have to pay through the nose to be able to call up with a query or complaint. It was ruled that all these numbers would have to be changed to brand new 0345 or 0370 numbers – again charged at the national rate. It also means that in cases where 0845 and 0870 numbers WERE acceptable, there was still nearly always a cheaper 0345 or 0370 option, meaning it was cost ineffective. And people also got wise to premium lines, making websites like Saynoto possible – tools to find the real numbers behind these lines. So yes, you can still use these numbers in some situations, but they’re becoming increasingly rare and defunct.
The final thing to consider when you choose yourself s phone number is whether or not you need it to be memorable or not. For a customer care line, that someone’s going to need to look up anyway, it probably doesn’t matter if it sticks in someone’s mind. But if you’re a company that relies on being memorable at short notice – tradesmen perhaps, or especially taxi companies, then you may well want a number that sticks in the memory. If a number is available, you can buy it for a one-off fee, with pay bands depending on how memorable the number is – however even the most expensive are in the lowish three figure range. This could very much be worth it in the long run.
So, with all this in mind – have you got the right phone number for your business? And if not, what are you going to do about it? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Until next time!