Doctor's surgeries, local services and Local Numbers

Telecoms /

A couple of weeks ago I got an alert pop up about doctor's surgeries in Croydon. That in itself sounds a bit strange, but the alert was actually to do with 0844 numbers rather than the doctor's surgeries. There were a number of things within this article that really highlighted the benefit of virtual Local Numbers but also a misunderstanding regarding 0844 numbers.

Reducing the cost for your callers

We keep banging on about this, so I don't want to make too much of a deal about this. The simple fact is that it is really expensive to call an 08 number from your mobile. As the Telegraph reported, the number of calls made from mobiles overtook those made from landlines in 2011, so organisations need to be taking this into consideration if they want to actually meet the needs of their consumers.

Local services should surely have local numbers

08 numbers are Non-geographic. My doctor's surgery is down the road from me. Why aren't they using a local number? This just seems completely strange to me. There's research that has said that people prefer calling local numbers when looking for services, because they want a service that’s local to them. It's the perception that this will provide them with a more accountable service because they’re so local.

What we often encounter is customers telling us that they live on the boundary between more than one area code. Virtual Local Numbers provide the perfect solution to this. You can present numbers for those areas local to you that you can genuinely serve and receive everything to your existing landline or mobile. This will make your local advertising more effective.

It's a phone system that can handle all of your calls, regardless of the telephone number

The last thing that jumped out was the comment by Coulsdon resident Peter Appleford. He said he appreciates the benefits of the 0844 system and its handling of a lot of calls.

From our perspective, it doesn't matter what telephone number you're using. That won't affect the handling of a lot of calls, it's the facility behind that manages the volume of calls. Again, from our perspective, there are a number of Call Management services that you can use on any number range, including Local Numbers that help direct you to the correct person/department (Virtual Receptionist), or stack up calls in a queue when you're inundated with callers (Call Queuing). There are also services like Information Line that can give out directions to callers without any interaction at all.

So, all of that from this article, just in case you wanted to read it for yourself.

Mark Burcher