Choosing the right telephone number for your business is vital because it says a great deal about you. But if you don't know your 01s, 02s, and 03s from your 0800s and 084s or the potential costs to you and your callers, it can be a minefield. Here's a guide that should help you choose correctly.
Telephone numbers are more than just a means of customers and prospects getting in touch with you, key as that is to a thriving enterprise. They also reveal something about your business.
If you provide only a mobile (07) number, people may think your business is small. Choose a geographical number (beginning with 01 or 02) and you appear to be tied to a specific area, which, of course, is fine if you wish to operate on a local or regional basis, but not ideal if you have ambitions to trade nationally.
Provide a number that begins with 084 or 087 and callers may fear the call will cost them too much following the recent bad press about them being used for helplines at premium rates.
Opt for an 09 number and people will know you are looking to make serious money from the call, perhaps, quite rightly, for a cause or a competition – or maybe they'll just think you're greedy!
First impressions count. The customer or prospect may not make the call – and perhaps you just lost a new client or maybe an existing customer went elsewhere.
Yes, playing the numbers game when it comes to choosing a phone prefix for your business or organisation can be daunting, but for smaller businesses, 03 could be your lucky number.
So why is 03 so good? While it may not suit every business, 03 has the following advantages:
- It will be free to use for the majority of callers because, by law, it has to be included in free minutes and free call deals.
- Even if paid for, a call to 03 will be at no more than the basic rate.
- You may attract more enquiries from outside your area. With an 03 number, you won't be judged on your location.
- A non-geographic number such as 03 may also give the impression your business is bigger than it really is in the start-up and development phases.
- It is a less costly alternative to 0800 ‘freephone' numbers, for which the business has to bear all the costs of incoming calls.
Public awareness of 03 numbers is limited. There's no doubt the government needs to do more to promote the benefits of an 03 number for callers and business owners, especially in the wake of recent legislation banning the use of 084 and 087 numbers for consumer helplines.
Blog supplied by Lindzey Evans, Client Support Manager for Penelope, the virtual phone system for start ups and emerging businesses.