This week, I want to give you the heads-up. Thanks to Ofcom, some important changes are happening to 08 numbers next month. In fact, these changes are being billed as the biggest change to telephone calls in over ten years ...
Changes are happening to two types of calls:
Firstly, so-called service numbers - these are calls that begin with 084, 087, 09 or 118. From 1st July, businesses will need to advertise their service charges - i.e. the cost per minute that customers will be charged, when they call these numbers. For more information about these changes, I suggest you check out this video:
Secondly, changes are being made to 0800 and 0808 numbers - and this could be good news for you!
Freephone will now mean free (once again)
From 1st July 2015, your customers will be able to ring 0800 and 0808 numbers from their mobile for free! In the past, these numbers were seen as 'customer friendly' and a way to entice prospects to pick up the phone. But in recent years, 0800 numbers have become less attractive because these calls were NOT free from a mobile. What's more, a 'free' number was sometimes more expensive than a geographical number.
But, from next month, once again you can offer your customers a free way to get in touch - so have a think about how you could use that message in your marketing. You've still got a few weeks to plan and get ahead of your competition. Here's a suggestion ...
Track your calls
0800 numbers are virtual numbers. This means they are NOT connected to a landline. Instead, they are routed to your mobile or your landline - even an international number - via a call management platform.
There are a number of reasons for offering your customers a 0800 number. A free call is most certainly one and when the new rules kick in next month, this feature will become more interesting. In addition, a non-geographical number can give your business a national presence - and that may be desirable if you wish to offer a national service.
But there's another advantage. Depending on the company you choose to purchase your 0800 number through, you should be offered a variety of call analytics. The most interesting in terms of Call Handling is the number of calls you receive on each number.
"I promise, you are almost certainly understating your inbound Call Handling problem!"
I've found that most businesses have no idea how many calls they're missing. That's because it's almost impossible to count up the calls you miss because you're engaged, away from your desk, or otherwise unable to pick up. This is a BIG problem!
Remember, for every call that goes unanswered there's an opportunity missed. For sure, there will be some calls you'll be very glad to have avoided! But equally, there will be a good number of calls that could have translated into profitable business - if only you'd picked up.
What are you going to do?
So let me set you a challenge. If you're not ready to outsource your overflow to a professional Call Handler (and ensure you never miss a call again), at least invest in some 0800 or some tracking numbers. That way you can get your hands on the statistics that reveal the size of the Call Handling problem you're actually facing!
I promise you it's easier than you think to get a selection of phone numbers in place for your business. We use call tracking numbers at Genie Towers and they're a great way to gauge the effectiveness of different types of marketing and to track the origination of different enquiries.
You can get these numbers set up for free. The monthly fee is usually very small and then you simply pay a pence per minute charge every time someone calls. Simple.
So you see, I think the telephone call changes that are happening next month, present a fantastic opportunity for you not only to offer a better service to your customer,, but to get a firmer grip on your inbound calls.
So why not give 0800 numbers a go and see how you get on? I'd love to know your plans, so please leave a comment in the space below.
I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.
Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!
I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.
Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!
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