In this day and age, many companies have turned to social media to interact and communicate with their customers. However, making a simple phone call is still a popular way for customers to reach companies and interact on a personal basis.
Getting a phone number for your business may seem like a simple step, but there are many factors to consider. Your type of business and how you want customers to reach you are just two of the things to consider when choosing a phone number.
Your business phone number will likely be attached to all types of communication, including advertisements, invoices and on your website. It's a good idea to choose a phone number carefully, based on relevant information, so that you don't have to change your number in the future.
In this article, we'll look at the different types of business phone numbers and why it is an important decision to make for your company.
Customers may need to reach out to your business directly, which is usually via a phone call if they want to talk to someone and get an immediate response. Business telephone numbers also add a sense of consistency for customers as they know which number to contact your business on. It will usually be advertised on your website, social media accounts and adverts.
Business phone numbers appear more professional than mobile numbers as they give the customer stability and authenticity. In the same way, customers may prefer to call a local number as they might feel more comfortable contacting a business on a familiar number. However, a non-geographical number can appeal to customers all over the country as it can help your company seem established and with a good national presence.
There are a variety of different types of phone numbers that you can choose for your business, depending on factors such as the type of person that you are targeting, your hope for business expansion and the cost that you are willing to pay.
Business phone numbers can help you to achieve a good work-life balance. Self-employed individuals who use their mobile numbers for business may struggle to set professional boundaries as they can be contacted outside of their normal working hours. A business phone number will add a sense of professionalism for customers and will have the added benefit of creating a separation between your personal life and working life. It also means that you don't need to give out your personal number to customers or buy an additional mobile phone for business use.
Your company phone can be set up with a voicemail or call diversion system, which means that customers are able to leave a message if you are unavailable or be transferred to the relevant person. The business phone can also have a greeting message added for customers when they contact you. This can give you more time to answer the call and also reassure customers that they have phoned the right number. The greeting message can be changed for hours outside of the working day so that customers can phone again when the company is open or leave a message.
Your phone can be set up to receive multiple calls at the same time. This means that you don't have to list multiple business numbers as customers can call one central number, and you or your employees can answer when you are available. Business phones also allow you to screen calls so that you can send the caller to voicemail if you are in a meeting or otherwise engaged.
Phone numbers that are unrelated to your location also mean that you won't have to change your number if your business relocates. This gives consistency to your customers and means that you don't have to worry about updating your website and advertisements with a new phone number every time your business moves, such as when you expand and relocate to bigger premises.
It can be frustrating for customers that have to try and find different phone numbers when they are trying to reach specific people in a company. A central business phone number can act as a hub to direct customers directly to the relevant person.
Customer service is a large part of companies and can impact whether a customer has a good or bad experience and influence their decision to use your services again. Speaking to a person on the phone can help to give customers a memorable experience when dealing with your company. They can have their questions answered immediately and won't have to wait for an email or text. Phone calls between your company and customers can strengthen your relationship with them and inspire more trust in your business.
There are various different types of phone numbers that you can choose between for your business. They can say different things about your business, which is why the decision should be based on your customer base and who you are hoping to reach.
The different types of business phone numbers are as follows:
Local rate numbers were traditionally considered the cheapest option when it came to business phone numbers. They meant that callers would be charged at their local rate and weren't impacted by where companies were based. In recent years, local rate phone numbers have referred to numbers that charge a standard rate provided by the phone company.
Phone companies tend to charge normal landline rates. They're not completely free to the caller but they do tend to be cheaper than alternatives. This can help to generate more customer use as they won't be worried about the cost of phoning your company.
Local rate phone numbers are often used for helplines, campaign responses and collateral requests if customers want more information or to request brochures and leaflets.
Freephone numbers — which often begin with 0800 or 0808 — are free to phone from mobiles and landlines. This can encourage customers to phone your business as they won't have to pay any money to call you. These types of phone numbers help to show that your business views customer service as a priority.
Whilst these numbers are free for customers to use, your company will have to pay for each call that you receive. This can work out expensive for your business, as many phone companies charge around 1.5p per minute per call.
Freephone numbers are commonly used for customer service, advertising and customer acquisition.
UK-wide numbers typically start with 03 and were introduced as an alternative to 08 numbers, which cost businesses more. These numbers cost customers around the same amount to call as 01 and 02 numbers do. Charges are approximately 16p per minute from UK landlines and around 3p to 65p per minute from mobile phones.
Due to the cost, UK-wide numbers may dissuade customers from calling your company. However, they can also help to encourage genuine enquiries only.
UK-wide numbers are popular with charitable organisations and public bodies.
The aim of vanity numbers is to make them memorable for customers. They may be repetitive (such as xxxx 45 45 45), mirrored (such as xxxx 445 544), or consecutive (such as xxxx 123456). These types of numbers should be easy for customers to remember and, therefore can attract more calls.
Another form of vanity phone number is when the numbers correspond with the phone’s alphanumeric buttons. For example, f=3, l=5, 0=6, w=9, e=3, r=7, s=7 so the phone number 0800 356 9377 would translate to freephone flowers.
There are two types of vanity phone numbers: toll-free numbers and local numbers. Toll-free numbers charge businesses rather than customers when they call. This can be a good option if you are hoping to create a national presence. Local vanity numbers charge the customer when they call, depending on their phone provider or location.
Local vanity numbers can work well for your business if you are targeting a specific geographical area, as they can help give your business a trustworthy and familiar image. They can also help to build your brand image and can assist your marketing campaigns.
Premium rate numbers begin with 09 and are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority. Customers can be charged approximately £3.60 if they phone your company via a landline or mobile phone, with an additional access charge from the phone company and a base charge of between 5p to £6.00.
This high cost can deter customers from contacting your company, which is why many businesses choose alternative options. However, your company can get paid per phone call as the customer's payment will be split between you and the phone company. For example, a customer may pay £1 to phone your company, which could mean your company could receive 56p from the call.
Your company may want to use a premium rate phone number if you want to discourage people from contacting you unless they have a serious reason. They are often used by companies hosting competitions, technical support or phone-ins.
You can contact different phone providers to compare payment plans and types of phone numbers. They might also offer you the necessary software, equipment and training. They can help you to find the best plan for your business requirements to make sure that you aren't charging your customers too much if you want to build good relationships with them.
You can change your business number by contacting your phone provider. They can help you to choose a new number that fits your criteria and how you want customers to reach you.
It's a good idea to keep a consistent business phone number so that customers and other businesses know how to contact you. However, you can change your business phone number if you are changing location and want your number to change between local area codes. You may also want to expand your business and appeal to a national customer base along with existing customers.
Business phone numbers are important for both large and small businesses. You can use a local phone number if you want to appeal to customers on a local or regional basis or use a non-geographic number if you want people to contact you on a national basis. Customers may feel more comfortable contacting a company that has a local number because your company may seem more reliable and trustworthy. Phone numbers that they don't recognise might make them think that you aren't familiar with the local area or care about community values.
The different types of phone numbers have various call charges. Your company could get free call deals for your customers through a freephone number, but this would mean that your company would have to foot the bill for each call. This may encourage customers to contact your company because they aren't worried about the cost.
Alternatively, you could opt for a premium rate number that charges customers. Your company will share the call charges with the phone provider. This is a good option if you want to deter unnecessary calls to your phone. However, you may find that you don't get many calls as customers will have to pay expensive charges.
Phone numbers can also be an important part of your marketing. Memorable numbers with simple patterns can help customers to install recall how to contact you, which can encourage more phone calls and potentially more purchases.