Do you use 08 numbers – if so you may need to change them

The use of 08 numbers will change dramatically over the coming year.

Some of the changes come into effect in a couple of months and have major implications if you use 0845, 0800, 0843, 0844 or 0870 numbers in your business, particularly if you have legacy numbers we’ve not supplied or been made aware of.

Sorry to be blunt, but it is important you read the information below if you have any number like this in your business

From Next Month
From the 13th June, it will be illegal to provide an 0845, 0870, 0843 or 0844 for a post sales customer line. This is part of “The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013″. Click here to read The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 in full.

The worst-affected companies will have to update all their literature and plan for the loss of income which will result from switching to a zero or standard-charge line. You have the option to reimburse each caller for their call but that is highly impractical for most companies.

It is important to note that these impending changes only apply to lines dealing with existing customers.

Companies will still be able to use 0845 numbers for non-customer advice services such as paid for technical advice, so long as the charges are clearly advertised. Services specifically paid for through the cost of the call (i.e. horoscopes and television voting) and sales lines are also unaffected.

What do you need to do?
If you are currently using 0845 or similar numbers for your customer service lines, you will have to switch to either a geographical number (i.e. 01, 02) or an 03 number. If you are still a bit unsure about whether your business will be affected then please get in touch. The good news is that these numbers can be assigned to you and working within a week.

For companies using 0800 numbers the impact is more subtle and is a result of the Ofcom decision to make them free to call from mobiles next year. The operators will need to recover the costs and as a result companies using 0800 numbers for any purpose will find themselves paying more for each incoming call. If a lot of your callers are using mobiles then the impact could be quite substantial.

If you would like some advice on how to manage your incoming call and numbering strategy then please give us a call

Seven Deadly Sins Of Telecoms – Wrath

wrath

Wrath – Are You Annoying Your Customers?

Customer satisfaction is the key to the long-term success of all business. One of the easiest ways to annoy and frustrate your customers is to make it difficult for them to contact you. Despite the growth of the web, text chat and email many people still prefer to speak to someone if they have a question or, even more so, if they want to make a complaint.

Some companies don’t even provide a contact number on their web sites. This is usually done to save having to staff a help desk or contact centre. It’s all about saving money; that says a lot about their commitment to their customers.

Assuming you do provide a number, is it the right one for them? Do they call you regularly from their mobiles? If so using 0800 or 0845 numbers can deter them from making the call as these numbers are expensive. Even worse, do you profiteer by using 0844 or 0871 numbers? Companies supplying residential customers can no longer use these for post sales support

Once your customer has made the call, how easy do you make for them to talk to someone? Do you use options such as ‘press 1’, ‘press 2’ etc. to route calls to various departments? If so, did you know that this will cause some customers to abandon the call? At best they’ll get irritated at having to listen to a number of options only to end up being told to go to the web site. It is interesting to note that First Direct, which always scores highly on customer service surveys, does not use this method. Instead it routes every call to a real person.

Do you even know how many customers abandon their calls because of long answer times? As a general rule, people start to get irritated after only 10 seconds or 4 rings. That could result in losing a customer forever. As could the fact that you have chosen to invest in messages stressing how important their call is to you, rather than putting the money into systems that will route calls directly to a real person.

Finally do you have a plan to enable your customers get in touch if you cannot get to your office or shop due to bad weather or transport problems. Lack of such planning can also lead to frustrated customers and lost orders.

In summary, it should be easy for customers to reach you at zero or little cost to them. You should measure your answering speed.  Using the right numbers and solutions can solve all these problems.  If you don’t sort them out your customers will be calling your competitors. An easy way to check the experience is to call your own company posing as a customer – that can tell you a lot.

If you are struggling in any of these areas and would like some free advice contact Equinox on 0208 912 0845