Just last month we were taking a positive look at 0800 numbers and 0844 numbers and we thought it's something we want to continue. 08 numbers generally get a bit of stick, it's a wonder anybody buys them. Why do landline users shy away from them (except for Freephone numbers) and mobile users think they're the anti-Christ? What seems to be the problem? It’s all about perception.
The bleak conclusions we come to
There's no point ignoring it, folk up and down the country think that 08 numbers simply lead to call centres for huge organisations who don't think much of personal service. Now that is quite a bleak conclusion to come to and it is difficult to challenge how these numbers are perceived. I am not going to sit here at my cold desk writing that this isn't the case, when it can be, but surely there's something positive to say.
What's good about 08 numbers?
Where can we draw positives from? Here are a few ideas for how we can build a positive perception:
- Appearing as a large organisation can be a benefit. Although this hasn't shown to be exactly true in the current economic climate, but people look for established businesses for security with their purchase. Using an 08 number can be a positive then if you're perceived to be a larger or more established business; particularly if you then ensure that you provide excellent, personal customer service.
- If your business is in the position where it doesn't need to be tied to a specific local area, then use a telephone number to demonstrate that. Again, an 08 number will do that for you. If a Local Number is too restrictive, advertise an 0800 number, still receive your calls at a central location and allow your business to grow across the UK.
- Specifically 0844 Numbers offer you an opportunity to generate revenue from calls that you receive. For example, placing this number as a computer technical support line can be really good. It's a fixed cost to call from a UK landline, where most PC users will be. You can then offer this service for just the cost of the call, but you could earn something in return.
- Finally, if these numbers are appropriate then they also offer you a cost saving opportunity. All calls received to an 0845 or 0844 number that are forwarded to UK landlines are free. Coupled with the previous point and this could increase the revenue from your technical support line.
I wonder if we can really begin to be truly positive about these numbers, but they do have a place and they do have their benefits, to both caller and business, when used appropriately. I guess it is all about our perception then and looking for that right time to use them.