Buying a 0800 number –All you need to know?
In the United Kingdom, there are different types of numbering for phone numbers which are regarded as geographical or non- geographical numbers (NGNs). All telecommunications are regulated by the Office of Communication (Ofcom). Geographical numbers consist of an area code – one for each large towns and cities. The non-geographical numbers such as 0800 numbers are telephone numbers that have not been assigned to any particular geographic location. A telephone company can provide the number to any geographic, mobile, or international location.
Types of non-geographical numbers
There are many different types of non-geographical numbers, also known as virtual numbers. The various types are suitable for different needs. Particularly they can be classified as:
- Freephone – These NGNs are such that the caller does not incur any cost for making the phone call, instead the receiver or the owner of the number incurs the charge of the call.
- Local rate – With these NGNs the caller pays the balance of the call cost, which is the local rate
- National rate – With these numbers, the owner of the NGN is able to generate a revenue stream, while the caller pays the national rate
- Premium rate – With a premium rate NGN, the caller is charged a special tariff, while the owner of the NGN is able to generate a revenue stream.
0800 Non-Geographical numbers
NGNs that start with 0800 are recognized in the United Kingdom as being freephone. This means that callers are not charged for making the phone call. The toll-free number is free of charge if it is called to a land line. If the call is made from a mobile phone, the mobile operator will still charge the caller often about 20p/min. These phone numbers are particularly useful for businesses since they remove a particular barrier for clients seeking to reach the company and can at times help in stimulating sales. The numbers offer the business a more professional look, an established image, and increases customers enquiries.
The toll-free 0800 numbers can be obtained for UK landlines, mobiles, VOIP numbers, Voicemail boxes, International landlines, and International mobiles. Service providers often provide different types of toll free package plan such as:
- Standard package – The standard package gives users the possibility to determine their freephone number route, which can be set for any UK landline. The users are provided with a “customer login” area and are able to alter the receiving phone number at anytime. Some service providers offer a package having 500 inclusive minutes every month (depending on the service provider); outside of the inclusive package calls are often charged on average at 4p/min.
- Bronze package – The bronze 0800 package lets clients route their freephone number to UK landline and mobile phones. Also the user also benefits from a voicemail system for unanswered calls. Inclusive in the package is 1000 minutes to UK landline each month. Outside of the inclusive call, charges are on average 4p/min and call made to mobile phones 12p/m, while voicemail to email calls are 4.25p/recorded minutes (depending on service providers).
- Silver package – With this package, besides having the possibility to route calls to UK landline, or mobile phones, and benefiting from voicemail system for unanswered calls, the user also can divert calls to other receiving numbers. 2000 inclusive minutes is provided with the package each month. Outside of the 2000 inclusive minutes, calls are charged at 4p/min; to mobile phones 12p/min, and to voicemail to email calls at 4.25p/recorded minutes (depending on service providers)
- Gold package – The gold 0800 number plan provide users the possibility to route call to UK phone numbers, mobile phones, VOIP numbers, and international numbers. Users also benefit from the option of being able to divert calls when unanswered to alternate receiving numbers. Inclusive in the package is 3000 minutes to UK landlines every month. Outside of the inclusive minutes, calls are charged at 4p/min, to mobiles at 12p/min, voicemail to email calls at 4.25p/recorded minutes, international landlines at 6p/min, and international mobile phones at 14p/min (depending on service providers)
Other types of packages can be found from various service provider and requires adequate enquiry, or comparison of services of one provider to another should you seek to obtain a 0800 freephone number.
Benefits of using 0800 numbers
There are many benefits associated with toll-free numbers. Firstly they are very good for frequent travellers. When used on a mobile phone, they provide unlimited roaming capability within the designated country. As a business, toll free numbers has the potential to boost their business. These numbers are such that charges are paid not by the caller, but by the called party. The numbers are a powerful tool for Customer Relations Management (CRM). Customers will make more enquiries into the business if they know that they are calling free of charge which will have as direct result to increase the customer base and the ROI. 0800 numbers are particularly sought after by a range of businesses for such reason. Some other benefits of toll-free numbers include:
- Easy to remember – A study conducted at Warwick University as indicated that about 80% of people are more likely to remember numbers starting with 0800, and would more confidently dial such number to make enquiries about products or services.
- Professionalism – Many people in the UK associate freephone numbers with well established and organized businesses, hence having such a number reflects well with customers and for the business.
- Portability – Unlike geographic numbers, NGNs are not specific to a geographic location. The same number can be used in any part of the country, or even internationally. For businesses this implies that if they move location or relocate to another country, they can still continue to use the same number, which helps to maintain accountability and increases customers’ confidence in the business.
- Discretion – The fact that NGNs are not linked to any specific number means that a business can set up its headquarter in any country and not have to worry about customers being afraid of calling internationally. The customer in many the majority of cases would not be aware that they have made an international call. This offers the business a lot of discretion for instance if it has its base in India, but can still serve customers calling from the United State.
- Complete call management package – Most businesses acquire the complete package of 0800 numbers. This includes Voicemail, auto attendant, and fax to email. The voicemail records calls which include an answer call whereby the caller is greeted by a voicemail that is unique for the company. The auto attendant can forward calls to the correct person, or department, and the fax to mail means that communication via fax can be sent directly to the email. All these services are essential for a business to function properly.
How does NGNs Work?
NGNs in general and a 0800 number in particular makes possible for customer to call the number without incurring any charges. The cost of the call is incurred by the recipient. Many service providers often provide a 30 days free trial period. To acquire such a number, you do not need to have another phone line installed. The NGN number is pointed at the existing landline or the mobile phone number. You also do not need any special equipment installed. All that is required is the destination number for the NGN to be pointed at.
An NGN can be diverted to any phone number that you designate for instance, if you have your calls diverted from your landline to your mobile phone, then if you have an NGN and a call is made on your landline, the call will also be diverted to your mobile phone.
0800 numbers FAQ
Q – How can I obtain a toll-free number?
There are many different service providers. These service providers can often be found online. When seeking to obtain a freephone number, you should always make a comparison to obtain the best quote in the market.
Q – How long would it take to have a toll-free number connected?
It depends greatly from one service provider to another and it all boils down to customer service. At times there are companies who actually are 0800 resellers and not the actual service provider. It is always important therefore to always make sure that you know the company you are dealing with since the reseller would often give a higher quote than if dealing directly with the main service provider. Generally and on average being connected to a toll-free number would take about 7 days.
Q – Can I change the number the toll-free number is pointed at?
Yes, a toll-free number can be pointed at any landline, mobile phone, VOIP, and even international number. You can change the number which the NGN is pointed at, but make sure when buying a NGN, make sure that you are able to change where the NGN is pointed at as many times as you desire. Some service providers often charge a cost for making a change that can be as much as £45 for the service.
Q – Is it possible to have more than one 0800 number sharing the same line?
Yes, depending on service providers, it is possible to have several toll-free number pointed at the same telephone, or mobile line, subject to charges of course. Most of the times companies seek multiple numbers pointed at the same for number for advertisement. They desire to have a number for each product being advertised which facilitates statistics.
Q – Can I pick a number that I desire?
Toll-free numbers are usually provided automatically by the service provider, but often for a premium price, there is an option where you can choose a memorable number. Memorable numbers are often used by companies because they are easy to remember therefore great for marketing reasons.
Q – Can the number be called from abroad?
Yes it is possible to call the number from abroad, but it will much depend on the international service provider. The 0800 number is a free-toll number in the UK; you may still have to pay a certain charge from the country you are calling from. It is necessary to find out in advance by making the necessary enquiry.
0800 reverse calls
A new type of freephone call service that is being provided in the United Kingdom is the toll-free number reverse call. This is a service whereby a person can make a call to a landline or mobile phone number with a reverse charge. It is particularly useful if you are credit to make a phone call from your mobile phone, or do not have any money to make a call from a pay phone, have been speaking to someone and suddenly cut off, in an emergency situation like for instance you are stuck somewhere and have no credit on your phone.
With a toll-free reverse call, you can make the call by dialling 0800REVERSE, you will then be asked to provide the landline or mobile phone number you wish to call. You also need to provide your name so that the person receiving the call will know that it is you who is calling.
Reverse called should be made only when necessary, the person receiving the call will not be charged unless he/she accepts the call, nevertheless reverse calls are very expensive and can sometimes be charged up to £4 for accepting the call and 50p/min call charge.
Ofcom (the Office of communication) is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communication industry. Recently it has announced a wide range of changes that will benefit the consumer even more with regards to non-geographical numbers. Some measures include simpler number ranges and standardized charges. 0800 numbers is a very useful tool for businesses seeking to establish themselves and are in very high demand. They are also useful in cases such as reverse calls, when a call needs to be made in an emergency.