Monday 28 April 2014

5 things your business can gain by using UK virtual local numbers

1.     Credibility - displaying a local number rather than a mobile number adds professionalism
2.     Flexibility – expand your service area without having the expense of actual premises
3.     Testing - great way to test the market place for a minimal cost
4.     Looking local – most people prefer to shop locally before going further afield
5.     Tracking - monitor the response of the number by reading the call stats every month

What is a non-geographic number (NGN’S)?

The clue is in the name. Non-geographic numbers are not attached to geographic locations.

The purpose of non-geographic numbers is to give flexibility that fixed landline numbers don’t. These numbers can be forwarded to a mobile, landline or international destination.

In the past, when a fixed landline was the only telephone number available for both business and homes, when you moved unfortunately your number didn’t. However, there was an option “remote call forwarding”. This meant you kept your number and all calls were forwarded to your new number. The cost was expensive as it entailed paying for two number landline rentals and a high cost per pence in minutes.

The introduction of non-geographic numbers was by far a cheaper option with immense flexibility – when you moved, your number moved with you.

The first really memorable 08 range of numbers was introduced by BT is of course the Freephone 0800 number. This was perfect for businesses who wished to make a number available to their customers and potential customers calling from a landline number. Customer support lines used 0800 numbers. Although being kept on hold might annoy customers at least they weren’t doubly annoyed by having to pay for the inconvenience.

After the birth of the 0800 number it was followed by 0842, 0843, 0844, 0845, 0870, 0871, 0872, 0873 and 0808. With so many 08 number ranges now it would appear that the consumer has become confused as to what they will be charged calling from a landline and even more so from a mobile.

If in doubt always call a 08 number from a landline it is invariably cheaper than making the call from a mobile. If you have the time check out Ofcom and Wikipedia for tariffs or better still invest the time in checking with your own mobile or landline carrier to explain the rates to you. Avoid receiving a bill from your carrier which is similar to the cost of the last time you filled up your car with petrol.

The 08 non-geographical number ranges were a great introduction to flexible telephone numbers.

For more information contact Brayford Numbers on 0800 433 4838 or 0207 548 4456.

Friday 25 April 2014

5 Tips To Finding The Right Virtual Telecoms Provider

1. Contracts
Is the provider asking you to sign a 12-24 month contract? You don't need to commit yourself - look for providers that give you a 30 day rolling contract, especially if you are a start-up business. Nothing stings more than paying for a service that you no longer have a need for.

2. Package deals
Be wary. Work out  roughly what you think your call volume will be, especially when starting a business, before taking a package deal. If you are paying £15 for your number and unlimited minutes and you get 15 calls at 2 minute you will be paying 50ppm - 15 x 2mins = 30mins / £15 = 50ppm.

3. Are you being charged to call the provider's customer service line when using a mobile
Chances are that if you have a virtual number you are pointing it to a mobile. So, what happens if you have a problem on the go? You shouldn't have to shell out to call an 08 number to get your problem sorted.

4. Account manager
Look for companies that have a dedicated account manager for your account. It can be problematic being passed from department to department and not to mention costly if you are calling an 08 number from your mobile.

5. Cost
In a highly competitive market it pays to shop around and look for the best deal. If you are wanting multiple numbers you should be eligible for a discount.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

5 0800 Number Myths Busted

1.  You have to pay for another fixed telephone line to receive the call
No - you do not need another designated line to receive calls on your 0800 number. The number can be pointed to your existing mobile or landline number.

2. I will need to buy an additional mobile as I want to differentiate between business and personal calls
No - need to buy an additional mobile just add “call announcement” which lets you know “this is a business call”. See: 

3. Companies get a rebate when an 0800 number is called
No - certain numbers do receive a rebate or make money, but not 0800s. 

4. An 0800 number cannot be called from outside the UK
No - you can call from abroad by just dropping the first 0 so the number becomes 800 xxx xxxx and putting the country code 44 in front of the number so it becomes 44 800 xxx xxxx. The call may be charged so it is always a good idea to check costing with your carrier.

5. 0800s are free to call from mobiles
No - but by July 2015 they will be! 

Why number portability and 30 day rolling contracts are important when choosing a non-geographical number supplier

When choosing a company to supply your non-geographical numbers the most important thing to look out for is whether or not you can change suppliers without a penalty or if indeed you can change at all. Not all companies have a porting agreement.

A porting agreement allows you flexibility to change suppliers if you are not satisfied with the level of support you receive or another company can offer you a better deal.

Once you have ascertained that you are able to port your number if you so wish you will also need a company that doesn’t tie you into a contract of say 12 or 18 months. Look for a supplier that offers a 30 day rolling contract.

Pricing for non-geographic numbers is very competitive therefore the cost is more likely to go down than up so portability and a short term contract are key to changing companies who offer cheaper rentals and call charges.

Companies that offer number portability and short term contracts are more likely to offer better customer service and support as they are aware that you can change if you are unhappy at any time.

 Number portability is easy and seamless. The number will never be inactive during the change over

If you want to know if a number is portable just call Brayford Numbers on 0800 433 4838 // 0207 458 4456.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Franchising? Why owning your virtual local numbers from the offset counts

We have come across a few instances now where franchisors are getting stung by their franchisees leaving to set up shop elsewhere and taking their virtual local numbers with them.

As the franchisor, you should heavily consider purchasing the virtual local numbers and allocating them to your franchisees as they come on board. This way, if they leave or choose not to renew their agreement:

- they can't take a built up client base with them as easily
- there is no risk of your brand integrity being compromised
- you will not have the cost of changing the numbers on that franchisee's page

If you have any questions about number solutions for franchises please do not hesitate to give us a call: 0800 433 4838 or 0207 488 4456.

(Let us know if this has happened to you as a franchisor by leaving a comment below)