Here in the UK we like to call our toll-free numbers a Freephone number because “Free” is a word we like to hear! Using a UK 0800 number to advertise your business will increase customer response rates and give your company a well-established and trusted reputation. For this purpose, the number range is suited to companies that want to encourage callers; in particular, small start-up businesses.
As for the customer dialling the 0800 number? Well usually any call made to a 0800/0808/0500 prefix from a landline is non-chargeable, however that doesn’t mean the same also applies to mobile phone users. Charges applied from UK mobile network providers can range between 9 and 24 pence per minute so “Freephone” isn’t always the case from a mobile network. As the majority of people are now equipped with a mobile handset they are often deterred from dialling 0800 numbers and usually try to find an alternative method of contact to avoid the higher charges.
This is potentially all about to change. The telecoms regulator “Ofcom” has started its consultation period to revise such charges. Markham Sivak who is leading the review has recognised that callers are “put-off” dialling 0800 numbers due to the confusion over call costs. He later added, “We have a complicated system. It is time to tidy it all up at once, not to make lots of little changes”
This is great news for all of us as their review goes on to discuss non-chargeable rates to Freephone across the grid, including from mobiles!
Under the new proposals released by Ofcom, charges will be clearly stated at the beginning of calls so that consumers know exactly what they are paying in advance and can therefore make the decision to accept the charges or not. For example, “This call will cost x pence per minute, plus your standard access charge.” We have an issue with this, as how will the customer know what their access charge is? Perhaps more detail is required here.
Our other issue with this is that under the currently announced changes 0800 numbers will only be free to call from a residential mobile phone (those on business contracts may not be included at this stage). This makes it even more complicated than the current system. What defines a residential mobile contract? Would a self-employed plumber be a business or residential contract? Come on Ofcom make it so simple that all customers can understand it – Make 0800 numbers free to call from all landlines and mobile phones.
City Numbers offer 0800 Numbers to UK Businesses. Check out the great rates and excellent features.