With the recent floods hitting the headlines it has once again brought to light the use of higher rate phone numbers being used by insurers and other helplines.
Back in December the Government was prompted to take action and regulate the phone numbers businesses were using for their customer service phone lines; after research undertaken by the consumer watchdog Which? found that 79% of UK insurers currently use either an 084 or 087 number for their helplines.
Insurers found to be guilty of charging their customers to make a claim included Aviva, Churchill and Direct Line.
In order to combat this issue the Consumer Rights Directive was set up, to ban costly helplines from June 2014 onwards. With the law ensuring that it is illegal for companies to use either a 0845, 0870 or 09 phone number for customer queries or complaints. The only caveat with the initiative is that it will only apply to consumer calls and will not affect businesses that operate on a B2B basis.
The Government has been urged to lead by example with their phone lines, and with the recent period of flooding they have been put under pressure to change the 0845 number families have had to use to speak to the Environmental Agency’s helpline.
They have since announced they have changed the phone number victims can call from a 0845 number to a 0345 phone number. Another company leading the way is Tesco who is now providing customers with a free 0800 phone number along with a 03 option for those who are calling from a mobile.
0800 phone numbers are a valuable choice for businesses, as customers are not charged to call these from a landline. The communications regulator, Ofcom has also made recommendations to ensure that calls from mobile phones will be free by 2015. This shows your existing and potential customer base that you value their custom, as you are prepared to pay for their call.
03 numbers are another popular choice among organisations, and are quickly becoming the most popular business numbers in the UK. This is due to their call properties which present the same benefits as 08 numbers; however the cost to call them is lower, with calls often costing the same amount as a 01 or 02 numbers.
If your company needs advice on what business number to choose, speak to one of the experts at Windsor Telecom. Our team will be happy to explain and advise what number range will be best for you.