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0845 in - 0800 out??

The popularity of 0845 numbers is outstripping Free Phone 0800 numbers. Recent search engine statistics for February 2008 show that online purchases of 0845 numbers outweighed 0800 numbers by a factor of 3 to 1.

In recent years 0800 has been seen to be the way to go. Business people have known that they can attract potential customers with the lure of a free phone call so why this change in trend from 0800 to 0845?

A major advantage of 0845 numbers is that they offer one fixed annual cost to business owners. This is because business owners do not pay to receive calls on their 0845 numbers. Typically you will pay a modest set up fee to purchase an 0800 number plus an annual fee and that’s it – no nasty surprises.

This isn’t the case with 0800 numbers as businesses pay typically anywhere between 3p and 6p per minute to receive calls made on their 0800 numbers as well as a set up fee and monthly rental. If call traffic is high on an 0800 number then the monthly bills for call charges can rapidly rise to an unacceptable level.

0800 numbers can be open to fraudulent use by employees and their families as well as salespeople. If your employee’s wife finds out that she can ring her husband at work for free by using the company’s 0800 number there is not a great deal anyone can do about it. There is no great incentive for your employees and their families to use an 0845 number to ring up work as they realise that they have to pay for the call just as if they had dialled the landline number.

A common tactic for telesales people is to go through a Yellow Pages, BT Phone Book or Thomson directory and just dial business that display 0800 numbers in their adverts. Obviously this practice greatly reduces telesales costs but can be incredibly frustrating for businesses who continually receive telephone solicitations on their 0800 number. 0845 numbers come into their own again as telesales people would simply not make the effort to just ring 0845 numbers as they understand there is a cost element to the call.

In many ways the increased popularity of 0845 numbers is a self fulfilling prophecy. The more 0845 numbers that are purchased the more they appear in adverts – the more they appear in adverts the more the public accepts and understands them. Try conducting a straw poll at your office by asking your colleagues what it costs to call 0800 numbers and 0845 numbers. Most people understand that 0845 calls cost the same as a local call so they do not represent a barrier.

Both 0800 and 0845 numbers give businesses the opportunity of a great monitoring and tracking service. The concept is simple – just put a unique number in each advert that you have and make sure that it doesn’t appear anywhere else. Look at the itemised bill you receive from your telecoms provider every month and it should list the numbers of calls your advert receives. At a glance you will be able to see how well your adverts are performing.

So, if you are considering purchasing an 0800 or 0845 number you have some decisions to make as to which one you go for. 0845 is making massive strides on 0800 number yet 0800 is a double edged sword offering free calls to your customers but being open to potential abuse.

Agree? Disagree? Do let David Clarke know what you think by commenting below.

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