How local numbers can generate more business

An increasing number of companies are discovering that using local area codes connects them to further success.

At alphaTALK we are always responding to customer queries about which telephone numbers will be best for their particular business. Is it better to advertise an 0800 telephone number? Or an 0845 local rate? What are the new 0300 numbers that we see? These are questions that we are asked every day.

There is no standard one-size fits all solution, as all situations and customer requirements are different. One particular trend that is emerging is the increasing propensity to use local area numbers (01/02 landline numbers). There are many reasons for this trend.

Many companies want to show customers that they are truly a local company, and they can only demonstrate that by offering a telephone number with a local area code, which is recognisable to everyone.

One other factor, which is fuelling this demand is the reluctance of callers to dial 08XX numbers from their mobiles as call costs vary between the various networks. Local area numbers, however, form part of the inclusive call packages and cross network minutes offered by mobile networks for the purposes of making a free call.

Do you just simply scrap your 08XX telemarketing number and revert to your standard landline number allocated to you by your local exchange? That would be a grave mistake, and there is a much better option available.

Companies like alphaTALK specialise in allocating and connecting these virtual local area numbers for every major town and city. The difference between your standard landline and the virtual numbers is the huge range of functionality the latter numbers can provide. These are sometimes referred to as ‘virtual numbers’ as they are not restricted to any particular area. For instance, a virtual 0207 (London) number can be instantly diverted to anywhere in the world.

Other facilities include call recording services, call forwarding, call options (‘press 1 for sales’, ‘press 2 for accounts’ etc.), voice to email and, most importantly, call tracking services. The latter is now critical for the sales and marketing divisions of companies. The online statistics for all incoming calls can produce such comprehensive information that it can help shape your future marketing strategies. Now, that is a service that is simply not available on your normal standard landline numbers!

If your company is operating nationally, what if you could give out a number for each town and city you would like to operate, without having a physical office? Many of our customers are using multiple local area numbers, which give the impression that they have a network of branches in different parts of the country. The customer will rarely sense that this is just for cosmetic purposes and all calls are actually going to the same call centre.

As you can see, a little smart planning can increase the performance of any advertising campaign. You will be amazed how many companies do not give this area the time and planning it deserves.

Written by Richard Sanderson, General Manager of alphaTALK