A. Neil Sherring of Windsor Telecom writes:
Let’s start with a fact. According to an Ofcom report, 83% of small and mid-size businesses believe that their 0800 or 0845 numbers are important to them. This demonstrates their popularity and universal appeal. Non-geographic phone numbers, such as ‘0800 freephone’ and ‘0845 local rate’ have attracted much press coverage of late, yet, like yourself, few businesses owners actually understand how they operate and the benefits they can bring.
How non-geographic phone numbers (NGNS) work
An NGN, such as an 0800 number or an 0845 number, works in tandem with your existing landline or mobile phone number. This is activated remotely via state of the art switches. There is no interruption to your landline or mobile phone number when the NGN is applied. NGNs can be fazed into your business as and when it suits you.
Benefits of NGNS
Firstly, the memorability of NGNs ensures that your number will always be well remembered and remain top-of-mind with your clients. The use of an NGN will no doubt improve the response rates to your advertising. Henley Centre research has shown that advertising response rates can increase by as much as 50% with the use of an NGN.
Looking specifically at the benefits of 0800 numbers, they are free to dial, which demonstrates your commitment to customer care. As your customers are not paying to call you, you are required to pick up the pence per minute (ppm) call charges. 0845 numbers are charged at a ‘local rate’ to your callers (typically 3ppm), again positioning your company as dedicated to customer satisfaction. They furthermore allow you to market your company nationally (as you aren’t restricted to a particular area of the UK) while maintaining a local identity.
The use of an NGN also ensures that you will always have one business phone number for life. If your business relocates or you are out of the offi ce then you can instantly change the direction of your NGN to a new landline or mobile phone number. This helps to avoid any expensive re-advertising or re-printing costs and puts you in total control of all of your calls.
An NGN in your business, whether an 0800 or an 0845 number, will no doubt enhance your productivity, boost your sales and signifi cantly sharpen your competitiveness.