Like many of us, I spend a lot of my time on the move, either out at meetings or travelling between meetings, so I rarely use a landline. Ever needed to call a "freephone" 0800 number whilst on the move? That’s 20p a minute if you’re an O2 customer. And the charge is the same for a "non-geographic" 0845 or 0870 number. What’s even more frustrating is that a lot of "customer service" departments employ these exorbitant phone numbers.
These are the usual two excuses I hear from companies that employ "non-geographic" phone numbers….
- "We want to give the impression of being a larger company than we really are" – But there are so many one-man bands out there that use 0870 / 0845 numbers, that argument no longer washes. People are no longer fooled by a phone number.
- "We serve the whole of the UK, not just a a local area" – But with increased mobility and use of the internet, how many companies these days only serve a local area? In fact, most callers have no idea which local area your dialling code represents unless they actually live in the area. And even if you have a "local" phone number, it’s increasingly meaningless as more and more numbers are virtual. There are offshore businesses that have a London dialling code.
As for 0800 numbers, why even bother offering "free" calls when national calls are only a few pence a minute (and are part of a mobile phone user’s inclusive minutes)?
So before you decide to advertise a "non-geographic" phone number, remember that many of your customers are mobile users. Think about how they will feel about having to pay 20p/minute for the privilege of calling you.