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  • Milarky
    • #2
    • 6th Jun 04, 5:31 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Jun 04, 5:31 PM
    OneTel's site is full of information about these non-geographic call rates - look at this!

    I assume every other telco will charge slightly differently for these - but it's gobsmackingly complicated [apart from the advice to boycott 0870/1 or 0844/5 numbers in the first place!] :
    • #3
    • 7th Jun 04, 3:14 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Jun 04, 3:14 PM
    We have just changed to Sky and they have an 0870 number, how can we bring change to such a big organisation, as you say they can earn a lot of money from this. Is is better to email.

    Please advise

    Margaret Jones
    • #4
    • 7th Jun 04, 7:02 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Jun 04, 7:02 PM

    I would suggest that the best way to contact companies who insist on using 0870 numbers is to write to them. They tend not to like this since it costs them much more to deal with customers by letter, but that in itself is a way of getting your own back! If they give an e-mail address then you can use that, but that does not cost them quite so much, so it is not such good revenge! if they use a web-based type of e-mail or a web ticketing system that costs them even less than normal e-mail.

    The best thing surely is to avoid doing business with any company which only gives NGNs for contact - that's what I do?
    • #5
    • 7th Jun 04, 7:47 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Jun 04, 7:47 PM
    Sorry Martin,

    But having read your article referred to here, I must point out as in my previous post in the original thread that some agents are now paying just over 4 p per minute revenue for 0870 calls, not up to 2.5 p per minute as you state! See as one example.
  • pennymakespounds
    • #6
    • 7th Jun 04, 8:07 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Jun 04, 8:07 PM
    a very fair point !!
    If , as we know through people like 18866 that a minutes' landline call can sell at 1p per min (and they're making a profit out of that !) .... then for companies using 0870 .. at say 7p min ... where does the rest of the money go.... even if the retailer gets 2.5p or even 4p ?...who's making the rest of the money ?? ??
  • Dukes_of_hazard
    • #7
    • 7th Jun 04, 9:15 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Jun 04, 9:15 PM
    I have just needed to speak to Sky customer services. I decided I would put the number found on to the test. I held for 13 minutes before I gave up and rang the 0870 number. My question was dealt with in under 1 minute !!!.
    My point .... The number may still be available but they dont have to answer it !!!

    I hope the next time I try a number from the site I have better luck.

  • theloft
    • #8
    • 7th Jun 04, 9:29 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Jun 04, 9:29 PM
    drrdf 3 - guest ! ! This is a good idea but it doesn't work! ! ! These companies just do not bother to reply. ! !I have even addressed letters to the chairman of some companies and still failed to get a response. ! Unfortunately they are all out to maximise profits in every way possble and 0870 is just another example. !What is really annoying is when you get through on one of these numbers and you get all the preamble for about a minute and then you get 6 choices and then 4 more and sometimes even more after that. ! !Then find you are only through to a call centre! The trouble is if you are already dealing with a company, Sky TV for instance, how else can you contact them if the alternate numbers don't work. ! That's why I use e-mail whenever I can, but this sometimes fails to get a response as well!
    Any bright ideas anyone ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ??? >
    • #9
    • 7th Jun 04, 11:49 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Jun 04, 11:49 PM
    Oh dear oh dear.

    0870 numbers change frm company to company. Some companies go for revenue share, some just want low costs.

    To get revenue share companies in general get at least 10,000 minutes of call per month.

    Why do they go for non geographic numbers?

    The reasons are varied -

    for sure some like the idea of a small revenue - it helps them pay for a service most peopl expect "free" (computer help desks for example)

    some wnt to be seen as a bigger company they are - if a phone number is lets say sheffield and you are in cornwall would you REALLY expect them to cover your area?

    some want to use them for call distribution - call priority for good clients (the 80/20 rule) or call distribution in distributed call centres - so you get answered quicker.

    They are also a good way to report quickly on how successful a campaign is.

    And IN GENERAL you pay for a national call. Big deal. Anyone that can "save" 120 a year needs to get out more.

    AND if someone has set up the client facing department correctly anyone that tries to ring the standard number will be sitting in a queue for a long time OR asked to ring on the contact centre number. This is because unless a call is place in the CC pilot group the stats get totally mucked up which is slf defeating for you the punter because they cannot schedule or respond to client demands.

    So I realise that you may not want to pay for ANYTHING, and see no long term value in getting the cheapest rather than the best value but this whole article is self defeating.

    Bttom line - bottom line costs are increasing and consumer demand getting higher with costs being suppressed. You have to pay one way or another. And 0870 numbers in the grand scheme of things is very very small.


    PS - I sell call centre solutions by the way.
  • Okay - Auto Attendants as they are known. Very annoying when ot set up correctly but they can be effective for Contact centres that route calls based on agent skill.

    Now available are speech attendants - so you ask for the name of the person or department. If you rang a cinema for example rather than go through the whole options you would just say "time for XXXX film" the times wouldbe read back then at anytime you could say "book 2 tickets for friday 7.30 showing of XXXXX film" it would then confirm the request and then ask for you credit card - superb !

    Companies are startngto use this technology for staff to dial out as well as clients dialling in.

    As regards new media interaction (or lack of it !) - the problem has been that whereas voice can be distributed on a number of perms. email and text chat has been a bit of a second class citizen. Modern Contact Centre will put new media correspondance into the same queue as voice so service should improve over time as this is adopted.

    Hope that helps

    I would add that companies have to earn a profit somehow !!!!

  • Milarky
    Mr A

    Why should an 0870 call cost more than a geographic call? - that's the issue really.

    Also, people do like to know what a call actually costs. Introducing two new codes 0845 and 0870 complicates the cost of phoning since the number of premutations rises from 6 to 12 (local, national, 0845, 0870 - daytime evening and weekend). 'Inclusive' packages sound attractive at first, but are really being sold on a false prospectus if non-geo numbers are excluded.

    Businesses (et al) have a choice - the customer does not. If we follow your logic (the superficial attractions of !having a non-geo number to look like a 'big' organisation to your customers) then why not just offer these '0870' numbers 'at cost' - but otherwise leave it to the business to decide how to respond to the calls?

    No, there is no real justification for the 'creeping' introduction of these numbers - only rationalisations for the supposed 'benefits' to the customer. The price disparity is an issue - which is has been unaddressed by our regulatory system - but it won't go away. Businesses can (and should) absorb the cost of customers contacting them in non-revenue generating ways.
  • theloft
    Mr Anderson - You obviously have an axe to grind and of course you are going to be on the side of your customers ! However these companies are alienating the very people they need - their customers !
    If the problem is the company's fault in the first place, why should the consumer then pay premium rate phone calls to get it fixed ! You may say Oh dear oh dear, as you are on a lucrative income but just remember there are a lot of people out there to whom a saving of 100 a year (OK 100 is pushing it) means an awful lot. So they don't need ripping off by multi-nationals who are already highly profitable
  • Victors_Bruvver
    It is obvious that we have hit an industry nerve ending when you start to get postings from the likes of Mr Anderson. Is the perceived aggression in the tone of his postings also of the industry, I wonder?
    He belittles the fact that the public, the customers, are being ripped off by companies introducing these "premium" numbers. !What does he say in defence of the fact that to call the local Carphone Warehouse branch, which is not more than five miles away., I have to call an 0870 number to speak to them. What does Mr Anderson say when you learn that to contact British Arways in this country, you again pay for an 0870 number? Does this happen in the USA, where customer is King and service is a priority? Not on your nelly - they just wouldn't put up with it, unlike us who just roll over and believe every little word that Mr Anderson and his colleagues tell us about providing the excellant back up and services provided by these companies!
    Oh and a PS, just tried to call Leicester City Tourist bureau this afternoon for information prior to visiting their city. Guess what? an 09XX number charged out at 25p a minute!
  • Just read Martin's email this morning saying he is considering a national campaign against 0870 - more power to your elbow,Sir!
    Yesterday I sent a complaining letter to the Times on this very issue. I have also written to OFCOM, my MP (who has promised to look into it), the Labour Party (Unlikely to get any joy there as they need you to phone 0870 to even ask about Membership!!), the SNP, and Liberal Democrats asking for their 'Party policy' on this issue.
    I also wrote to Tony Blair asking why the Government has changed (during his reign!) to 0845 for Benefits, child Support Agencies etc etc - thus prohibiting financially vulnerable folk from using cheap call providers.
    It is amoral when our own Government causes needless extra expense to our poorest members of society - do we have a Socialist government? Don't bother answering that!!
    Please start a campaign, Martin.
  • scarlets_knees
    Ok, firstly I'll come clean. I spent a few years working for a company that relied on the public calling and buying things and played a big part in moving over to 0870 numbers. I also worked hard to ensure these new numbers were advertised over regional numbers so sorry. In my defence at first I did think they were a better deal for us, allowed us to offer better services all without really affecting our customers wallets.

    What Mr Anderson says about the technological benefits these numbers bring to a company are all true but he fails to see that what has happened with 0870 and the other related numbers is that they have not kept up with the times. When we started using them the price was pretty much in line with the standard national call rate and in some instances was cheaper - unless someone lived within 50 miles of our call centre of course. We got all the useful technical advances, we didnt appear to be ripping anyone off and we earned money. What a GREAT deal.

    HOWEVER competition has moved the market on since then and while the cost of 0870 has reduced slightly in some cases (it was about 10p when the company I worked for started using it) they now stand out as being much higher than national call rates, add that they are not included in packaged minute deals and that customers have found out that companies earn money from the call it is clear why they are tagged as being part of rip-off Britain and I do believe they are.

    Competition did do something for us though, it increased profits on the calls. As more companies entered the market selling the numbers and services so the rebates we were being offered went up meaning greater profits but less margin to cut form the call to bring prices down. At first we earned something like 1p a call when I left I think it was nearer 4p.

    Many companies now rely on this income to balance their books so I doubt we wil see a quick change here.
  • Victors_Bruvver
    It is interesting to see what scarlets_knees has to say in relation to companies having to balance their books. Without decrying their reply, I still wonder (naively) why companies have to use these non geographic numbers to raise revenue?
    When I was a lad, companies had two options of contacting and serving their customers, via the post or telephone. You either sent a letter to the said company and you got a reply or you rang them and spoke to someone in customer services. Therefore if you had a problem it was probably resolved by either of these two options. As far as I can remenber, this customer service element was part and parcel of the annual budgeting process. IE if the cost of running this department was creeping up, staff overheads etc.,, you had to find that money from the price you sell your product at. Simple economics I thought, and you never never for a minute considered demanding your customer to supply paper, pen and a postage stamp for a written reply or money up front before you called them on the telephone. It was, as said, all part and parcel of the service anmd that if companies still could not make money, they went under.
    Sorry I am rambling, but the bottom line is that we are now experiencing a society that is beginning to be driven by pure unadultered greed. Yes make a profit by all means, but don't rip your customers off and then claim it for the excellant service level!
  • qprfact
    Watching this thread with interest, and would be intrigued to see if anyone could match this ... my doctor's surgery has introduced an 0870 number! It's about a mile away, and we now have to dial national rate to get an appointment AND the delays in answering are still there!!

    I don't suppose there is a way to establish the non 0870 number for a small set-up like this is there?
  • Victors_Bruvver
    That has got to be the ultimate insult!
    What with a local NHS Hospital Trust announcing today that will have to start charging for hospital parking to help with funding, and now a doctors practice, as reported above, using a 0870 number, it is just unbelivable!
    Why don't you just name and shame them here and perhaps Martin will mention them in his next newspaper column?
  • BargainHunter
    I know it sounds like an excuse but the number of people who now only give a mobile no to their GP is rapidly increasing. In that light at least a 0870 is not that bad
  • my Dr. has also introduced an 0870 number - I am considering writing to my local Primary Care Trust.
    The practice is The Grovemead Health Trust.
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