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Non Geographic Numbers Guide
Your ultimate guide to 0800 Numbers, 0845 Numbers, 084/087 Numbers

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Many companies don't realise that Non Geographic telephone numbers can be a really effective marketing tool in terms of generating revenues, increasing customer bases and also tracking all the calls you receive. By using a non geographic number, your company could gain more than extra custom.

What are Non Geographic Numbers?

Originally devised in the US, Non Geographic or telemarketing numbers are special phone numbers that don't pin you to a geographical area but can help gain customers and or extra revenue, and make marketing your company easier.

BT introduced the freephone numbers into the UK in 1985 and since telecom's deregulation, other operators are also able to offer telemarketing numbers to businesses.

Most of us recognise and understand the concept of an 0800 number, but the extent of its use, and that of other telemarketing numbers, is still nothing like in the US.

Companies using Virtual Numbers
British Telecom Microsoft
Barclycard BBC

Non Geographic numbers are split into seven different categories, and each has its own specific benefits:

0800 Numbers - Freephone Numbers
Freephone numbers have an 0800 prefix and are free of charge to the caller. This means that your business pays the cost of all the calls.

An 0800 number gives your company a national image and can increase incoming calls by up to 300% more than a standard number. Research shows that 61% of UK consumers are more likely to call a company with a freephone number in preference to a comparable competitor without one.

If paying for your customers to call you means that you can develop a substantial number of sales leads and drive up your profits, then a freephone number is definitely worth the investment. Offering a free call also inspire trust in your customers and offers an incentive to call more often, meaning that you can build a lasting relationship. It can also work well to establish your company as having caring after-sales services and can even save you money by replacing personal sales visits.

0845 Numbers - Local Numbers
Sometimes referred to as Lo-call, local or 0845 numbers enable the customer to call you for free from BT land lines, no matter where they are in the country, and your business pays nothing to receive the calls.

As with freephone numbers, 0845 numbers are proven to generate three times the response from customers and enable you to attract customers from beyond your local area. It also promotes a certain amount of professionalism and distinguishes you from your competitors. Most Internet service providers use 0845 numbers, as it allows them to offer lo-call costs to subscribers nationwide.

0871 and 0844 Numbers - Fixed Rate Numbers
Two new fixed rate 08 telemarketing numbers were introduced in March 2000 - 0871 and 0844.

The advantage of adopting one of these telemarketing numbers is that you can generate an additional income for your business. Companies can generate £1000's per year, while for medium and large enterprises this figure is in hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.

0844 numbers (similar to 0845) cost the caller up to 5p per minute, at all times, whereas 0871 numbers cost the caller up to 10p a minute, again at all times. 0844 and 0871 numbers offer highest non-premium number revenue. For example, with our 0871 numbers, your business will receive 0871 rebate of up to 7 pence per minute for every daytime call received.

0870 Numbers - National Numbers
0870 Numbers can no longer generate income for your company. BT Customers with inclusive minutes that call you are not charged for the call from BT land lines, regardless of their location within the UK. With 0870 numbers your business pays to receive incoming calls. Customers wishing to obtain an 0870 are advised to get an 0871 or 0844 number instead, so that they can continue to generate revenue from calls received.

0870 numbers convey a professional, national image. They are used for a variety of different activities e.g. providing technical support, helplines, order lines and information services.

Premium Rate Numbers
Premium rate numbers (090), although not strictly telemarketing numbers, are also worth a mention, as the premium rate industry is worth £2 billion in the UK alone.

They are generally used for technical support, chatlines, phone-ins and competitions. Calls are charged at a higher rate to callers, some tariffs are 25p per minute, others are as high as £1.50 per minute.

The caller pays for the entire phone charge, and the revenue generated from it is split between the telephone operator and the business receiving the calls. If, for example, your company set up a premium rate phone line charging £1 a minute, typically you could expect to earn as much as 56p per minute on each call.

Premium rate numbers do, however, have strict guidelines, so make sure you enquire about these, when considering your options. The guidelines can be viewed at the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS) website which regulates the content and promotion of premium rate telephone services.

Alphanumeric Numbers
An alphanumeric number is where a word is dialed in place of a number. For example, ‘0845 121 FREE’ would be 0845 121 3733 (local=0845 121 and then F=3, R=7, E=3, E=3).

Alphanumeric numbers can be freephone, local or national numbers and, the more memorable they are, the more expensive they are to purchase.

A large number of companies feel that the novelty value and high memorability of alphanumeric numbers draws customers to use them. Not all handsets have numbers etched on to the keys so always make sure you print the full number, and you're also fixed to a maximum of six characters.

Personal Numbers - 0700 Numbers
Known as "Personal Number", "One Number", "Follow Me Numbers" or "Call Shield Numbers". Personal Numbering services start with 070 and can route incoming calls to a selection of numbers specified by you.

The service gives you the ability to forward all incoming calls to a phone of your choice such as your office, mobile, home or another temporary number all free of call charges.

When you order your number online via our website, you enter the initial diversion number you wish calls to be delivered to. That telephone will continue to function as before, accepting its own calls, as well as those to your 0700 Personal Number.

To re-route, you simply log in to our website and follow the on-screen instructions for amending your destination number.

If you wish to have an immediate re-diversion you will need to purchase our Dial-In Plan Switcher advanced service, which allows you to pre-define up to 3 diversion numbers and instantly change the routing free of charge, as and when you require, by using a dedicated PIN protected access number.

There is also a range of optional advanced services to assist in other aspects of call management.

Credit for this article supplied to UK2Numbers goes to james.west from BT (www.bt.com) customer services.

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