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0800 Numbers - The 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions!

Jan 15, 2008
0800 numbers are becoming more and more popular as businesses realise that potential customers are more likely to make a call if it's free.

Buying 0800 numbers online can be a potential minefield. I have provided answers to the seven most frequently asked questions regarding 0800 numbers which will help you get the best deal on 0800 numbers for your business.

1. How do 0800 numbers work?

An 0800 number is "pointed" at a landline or mobile number. You don't need an extra line, wiring or any other equipment whatsoever to have an 0800 number - you just need to provide a destination number for the 0800 number to be pointed at.

An 0800 number will follow any divert that you put in place. For example, if you divert your landline to your mobile out of business hours then anyone who dials your 0800 number will get you on your mobile. You can have 0800 numbers pointed straight to your mobile but I will explain this in more depth in question 3.

Before you buy an 0800 number online make sure you can change where the 0800 number is pointed at as many times as you want at no extra charge. Some companies charge up to 45 for this service so beware.

Also check that you are charged by the second and that your calls aren't rounded up to the nearest minute. It is amazing how may calls are well under a minute so make sure you only pay for what you use. Look for the phrase "per second billing" on any 0800 number website.

2. Is there such a thing as a "free" 0800 number?

The answer in short is no.

Many companies claim to offer "free 0800 numbers" but when you dig deep and examine the fine print you will probably find that "free" means that the connection fee is waived. I have also seen that some 0800 number providers claim that their numbers have no call charges associated with them. Beware - if this is the case then there is often a hefty monthly rental fee to make up for this.

If you are in the marketplace for an 0800 number then you should expect to pay a modest set up fee of a few pounds plus a monthly rental and, of course, call charges.

Remember that there's no such thing as a free lunch!

3. How do I "point" an 0800 number at my mobile?

There are a couple of ways to do this.

First method:

A lot of people use a landline for business and divert it to their mobile when they are out and about. Firstly set up an 0800 number and have it pointed at your landline. Then, when you leave your office, set up a divert on your landline to your mobile. This usually involves punching a code into your phone. The 0800 number will follow any divert you set up on your landline. You need to check what the transfer costs will be from your landline to your mobile - the charges can be quite hefty and will vary significantly from one carrier to another.

Second method:

Set up an 0800 number and have it pointed at your mobile phone permanently. Set up fees, rentals and call charges are normally higher as the perceived risk for the carrier is greater. The second method can still prove to be more cost effective then the first method. Start up businesses often prefer the second method as they may not have manned offices from day one.

4. Can I get a UK 0800 number and point it overseas?

Yes - you can point a UK 0800 number to a country outside the UK.

Your customers won't be charged for calling the 0800 number but you would pay to receive the call on your telephone number outside the UK.

Expect to pay a set up and monthly rental.

Bear in mind that the charges to receive calls will be variable according to the country the call terminates in. The USA and Canada are relatively cheap but some countries are expensive such as Nigeria and India where it is perceived by carriers that the credit risk may be potentially higher.

5. Will 0800 free phone numbers increase the number of inquiries I receive?

Yes.

The Henley Business School found that 80% of customers are more likely to call an 0800 free phone number. It's not hard to fathom out why this is the case. If you had the choice of spending something or nothing what would it be? This makes 0800 numbers an invaluable marketing tool. In a competitive market place an 0800 number could give your business that extra and vital "edge" over your competition.

6. How much should I expect to pay for an 0800 freephone number?

There are large variations in the 0800 marketplace - it can be a minefield. As with most things if a deal seems to good to be true then it probably is.

Beware of companies that offer zero cal charges, zero set up fees and a zero monthly rental. Think about it logically - it costs any company money to invoice its customers. The only way that 0800 companies can recoup their costs if they offer no set up and no rental is by high call costs. Remember that with 0800 you pay the cost of the call.

Another thing to watch out for is companies that offer "free minutes". Obviously no-one can afford to give away free minutes. What these companies do is sell bundles of minutes to you for a fixed price in much the same way as you would buy a text bundle for your mobile. The odds are you won't use exactly the amount of minutes you paid for. If there is a shortfall the 0800 company wins which is what they gamble on. If you go over your minutes you pay anyway.

Again make sure you choose a company that offers "per second billing" where your calls are NOT rounded up to the nearest minute.

Bottom line - expect to pay a modest set up fee, a monthly rental of around 2 + VAT per number and call charges around 4p per minute. Any more and you are paying over the odds.

7. How long does it take an 0800 number to be connected?

This varies greatly from company to company and boils down to the robustness of their systems and their attitude to customer care.

Look for telecoms resellers who can assign you an 0800 number immediately over the phone.

Some companies let you choose and pay for an 0800 number online.

Make sure you know who the company is that you are dealing with if you decide to buy online. Some telecoms resellers do their best to cover up their identity on their websites. Make sure you can see a physical address and that you have a contact phone number. Better still choose a company who actually provide a contact name.

Most 0800 number resellers should be able to connect your number within 24 hours.

One final word of warning - don't give the number to anyone (especially a publisher) until you have confirmation that the number is connected!

If you heed the advice given in the 7 most frequently asked questions then you will be well on your way to harnessing the marketing power of 0800 numbers.

Contact Details:

David Clarke
DBS
Heath Farm
Wellingore
LN5 0DW

Telephone: 01522 811 688

This article is free to republish provided the resource box / author's bio remains intact!
About the Author
David Clarke is a marketing consultant in the UK and his company provides 0800 numbers, 0845 numbers and local virtual phone numbers to businesses in the UK and internationally. David has vast experience in using 0800 numbers to monitor and track advertising.
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