UK businesses risk millions of pounds by using high-cost phone numbers

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    High Cost Phone Numbers

    Businesses across the UK are risking millions of pounds by continuing to use non mobile friendly phone numbers, warns a leading business telecoms company.

    With mobile transaction volumes set to reach the 30bn mark in 2014, according to a report from RBS and Capgemini, businesses using higher-rate numbers for sales and after sales services are expected to lose out with over three quarters of consumers deterred from approaching them due the high charges incurred, according to Which?.

    Many businesses don’t even realise that their numbers are a barrier, unaware that standard business numbers carry additional charges when called from a mobile. 03NumberShop have warned that three in five people say they simply cannot afford to call a high-rate number, dramatically cutting the appeal of businesses using high-cost numbers.

    Ian Carrington, Google’s social advertising director has recently highlighted just how instrumental mobile is in most aspects of the consumer sales ‘journey’, including making phone calls to businesses, showing just how powerful mobiles are now becoming.

    Charging mechanisms of mobile calls to higher rate numbers are at the discretion of mobile providers, meaning that prices can reach up to 40 pence per minute for numbers such as 0844 or 0845. While Freephone 0800 numbers are free from landlines, mobile can cost up to 25p per minute.

    Telecoms regulator Ofcom introduced the 03 number range as an antidote to 08 numbers, as all calls to them are charged at the same rates as 01 or 02 numbers, with minutes being included in monthly mobile minute bundles, yet thousands of businesses have yet to make the switch.

    Running costs for 03 numbers also means large savings for businesses, because of the better value 03 numbers offer. A monthly package for £9.99 for 0800 number offer a business 1250 inclusive minutes, whereas there is a 60% increase for the same priced 03 package to 2000 minutes.

    Mahmood Mazhar, 03NumberShop’s CEO, said: “Calls to 0800 numbers alone are shown to be costing consumers an estimated £100million a year to call from mobiles, making it clear why businesses should be looking at alternative numbers to use if they want to keep their customers on side.

    “Over 15 per cent of UK households have completely got rid of their landline leaving numbers that are free to call from landlines redundant, so businesses need to focus on mobiles and keeping mobile users coming to them.”

    So determined to increase awareness of this issue 03NumberShop has recently invested thousands of pounds to educate businesses of the low cost 03 number range, as they have sent out a mailer campaign to 250 of the UK’s top marketing agencies informing them of the benefits of the 03 numbers and asking to ‘Let us pay you for 03 minutes of your time’ with a real £20 note.

    Mr Mazhar said: “Many businesses have adapted well to the mobile world with their websites, but voice communication remains fundamental in sales and campaign responses, and if the majority of consumers are using their mobiles, businesses need to adapt. In many cases the agencies advising them are also unaware of the issue and we need to change this.”