Business phone numbers in the UK – A Small Guide

27th May 2009

The UK has a bewildering plethora of business numbers. This article endeavors to demystify them:

0800 Numbers

0800 is a toll-free number. It is a number used by businesses to receive calls from clients where they do not want the client to bear the cost of the call. In itself a 0800 is a marketing tool a businesses that offer this facility have an edge over their rivals. They are more likely to develop a lasting trust and confidence with their clients. An 0800 number, where the holder picks up the cost of the call conveys a certain commitment to customers which promotes customer loyalty.

When a customer dials a 0800 number the call is automatically (and instantly) redirected to whichever phone number is nominated by the holder. Some providers offer a ‘virtual receptionist’ plan with a 0800 number.

0845 Numbers

0845 was earlier known as a ‘lo-call’ or local rate number. It costs the caller the same rate as a local call wherever the caller may be located. The phone service provider redirects the call to an ordinary business number that the holder nominates. The holder can change the destination number at will at no additional cost. Some service providers extend this facility to both mobile and fixed-line numbers.

The advantage in a 0845 number is that a business provides their customers with a single number. At an additional cost the business can select a memorable number that is easy-to-remember or difficult-to-forget depending on which way you look at it. The number could be alpha-numeric. Furthermore a 0845 number conveys a sense of a single identity.

0870 Numbers

A 0870 number is non-geographic which means the location of the holder is anonymous and cannot be established. 0870 numbers give the holder a national presence. It can be reached from anywhere in the world and is directed to a UK land line anywhere in the country. A 0870 is a revenue-sharing number.

0870 numbers are ideal for service support applications where a national presence is necessary but the holder does not wish to pay for the cost of the call.

0303 and 0300 Numbers

0303 and 0300 numbers are ideally suited to non profit making organisations, registered charities and government departments (including NHS, Police, etc). The call is free to the caller but the holder is charged less than the cost of receiving a 0800 call.