The hidden cost of 0845 numbers – Are you making your customers look elsewhere?
Having just completed a wide ranging analysis on a couple of big landline telecoms projects for a few of our Clients recently, there’s been something of a trend appearing in relation to the dialling habits of both customers and staff which, given the savings we have identified for them, seems worth highlighting.
0845 numbers were a big hit in the 90’s and early 2000’s. They enabled businesses to give themselves a non-geographic presence and to get hold of some great inbound call statistics on who was calling them, from where and in response to what (i.e. advertising campaign tracking). It also meant that customers could call them from anywhere in the UK and pay only for a ‘local rate call’*. This was a boon for customers and businesses and it worked well… For a time.
Things have moved a lot since the mid 2000’s, however, and the virtual omnipresence of mobile phones is very important here. There is good anecdotal evidence that people are now far less likely to call an 0845 number (or even an 0800 number) from a mobile phone as these sorts of calls are not usually included in their call bundle, meaning higher costs to them. This obviously leads to customers (both potential and existing) putting off calling businesses from their mobile phones… And we all know what happens to something once we tell ourselves “I’ll do that later…”… Later never comes…
In addition to this worrying situation, businesses that use 0845’s will tend to find their own staff dialling the 0845 number themselves (on company mobiles). It stands to reason, as they will repeat the number to customers many, many times a day, so when they need to call a colleague, they dial the number they know. This takes them ‘out of the network’ and therefore creates a chargeable call, whereas the underlying ‘01/02’ number would typically have come out of your prepaid minutes bundle, so creating no additional cost at all.
All of this, combined with the fact that the same inbound calling statistics are now available for ‘01/02’ numbers and the ability of businesses to use virtual, non-geographical ‘01/02’ numbers has, in this writers opinion, made 0845’s obsolete.
If you are still using 0845’s, perhaps you might want to give us a call… The number is 0113 385 4693.
* – The Advertising Standards Authority actually forbids calling the prices for ‘084’ and ‘087’ numbers as equivalent to “local rate”, “lo-call” or “national rate” as these terms ceased to have any meaning in the UK in 2004.