So, many of us have previously been convinced that having an 0800 (free to call) number will increase response rates on our marketing. After all, the logic is that if the call is free then people are more likely to want to pick up the phone and give us a call, right?
Well no, it’s wrong. And, even worse is that your 0800 number could be damaging your business.
And here’s why:
The thing is, many of us now use our mobile phone more than we do our landlines. In fact, I even have friends who no longer have a landline simply because they can’t see the point in paying for something they hardly use. A very valid point in my view.
The rise of ‘all inclusive’ mobile deals, where the cost of calling most numbers is cheaper than a landline, has made fixed-line telephony increasingly redundant for many people.
And here’s the key fact:
In February of 2011 more calls in the UK were made from mobiles than from landlines. And that shift has continued. More people have a mobile as a principal phone that a landline now.
Now you might be tempted to think “So what! My 0800 number has brought me loads of business in the past.” And you’d be forgiven for thinking that way but let me put it this way:
Calls to 0800 numbers cost quite a bit for almost all mobile phone users since these types of numbers are rarely included in call bundles. In fact, one mobile company was charging £1.50 per minute for calls to 0800 numbers.
So here’s the key point: You’re more likely to dissuade large numbers of people from calling you if you only offer an 0800 number as a means of getting in touch. Many people will be reluctant to spend the additional money to call you from their mobile phone.
The solution: give people a choice by offering an 01/02 number as well. That way you should be able to cover all eventualities and phone types. You can get virtual numbers quite cheaply that will forward calls to whatever number you need.
I hope that helps but if you’ve any thoughts on this then please share them in the comments below. It would be great to hear from you.
A very relevant question has just been asked about whether this applies to 0845 numbers in the UK. The short answer is yes.
Using a non-geographic number, such as 0800 and 0845 numbers, is highly beneficial for those using them as they promote a larger business image, appealing to more customers.
Using a geographic 01 or 02 number does offer a lower cost alternative, but for those businesses wishing to continue using a non-geo, the 03 range is available.
Calls to 03 numbers are never charged at more than the cost of an 01 or 02 call. This is from both landlines and mobiles. Also, the calls are included in all monthly mobile minute bundles, which makes the calls effectively free when calling from a contract mobile.
obviously the route for smaller firms is to use an 03 number.
But I still wonder if many people are reluctant to call an 03 number from their mobile phones because they don’t realise that it’ll cost the same as a call to a normal number?