Whatever the size of your business, there’s a good chance you’re using telephone numbers beginning with 08, 09, or 118. Known as service numbers, these are distinct from the location-based numbers most of us use day-to-day – and subject to their own pricing.
In July 2015, some big changes are coming that will alter the way calls to service numbers are billed. Read on to find out more about the new legislation, how it could affect you, and what you need to do.
How are service number call rates changing?
Currently, there’s a lot of uncertainty around calls to 08, 09, and 118 numbers. It’s not always clear how much calls to these numbers will cost, particularly for those consumers using non-BT landlines or mobiles.
For the most part, consumers are told that calls to BT landlines will cost a certain amount per minute. But this isn’t helpful information for anybody else.
From 1st July 2015, new legislation will come into effect, making it easier for customers to understand service number call rates.
Every call to a service number will incur fees in two parts:
- Access Charge: A small fee charged by the phone company. This will vary across different landline and mobile providers.
- Service Charge: The larger per-minute rate, determined by the business you are calling.
In addition, Freephone numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 will now be free for everyone, whether they are calling from a mobile or landline.
How could these changes affect you?
If you’re using service numbers within your organisation, the new rate changes will have a direct impact on your business. The best advice is to take some time to consider the potential implications.
For some businesses, this new approach may increase the number of incoming calls you receive. After all, people are bound to feel more comfortable with your non-geographic numbers in light of more transparent call rates.
If this applies to you, how will you allow for the potential increase? Will you be ready for the growth in usage?
At the same time, you need to look at the service line rates you are in control of. With increased transparency, it will become more immediately apparent if the rate you charge per minute is too high.
What do you need to do?
Before the new legislation comes into effect on July 1st 2015, it’s important to take action. This is a significant change in call rates, and good preparation is key.
Fundamentally, you need to make it clear to your customers the charges they will incur when they call these numbers. You can do this in the following format:
“Calls cost XXp plus your service provider’s access charge per minute”.
Of course, there are some instances where callers will incur no charges. If you are running a Freephone number, make people aware they won’t be charged whether they’re phoning from their BT landline, another landline, or a mobile phone.
At Loop Voice & Data, we’re happy to help you navigate these new changes in call rates. If you need new numbers or any help, don’t hesitate to contact us.