Why use premium numbers for customer support
You’ve probably come across them sometimes; companies that use premium numbers for customer support. Meaning that callers pay (part of) the costs. This type of number is often used for more sales-oriented support such as ticketing and travel, where customers also have the free option to buy tickets or book a holiday via the website. Other uses for premium numbers include tech support, information services (such as weather forecasts and directory enquiries), psychic hotlines, entertainment, charities, (adult) chat services and even diplomatic embassies.
Telephone support is expensive
Looking at it from a cost-perspective, many companies still feel that telephone is the most expensive way to provide customer support. After all, you need people, telephones, telephone numbers and contact center software just to name a few. And what makes it even more expensive compared to other types of support is that an agent can only talk to one customer at a time. From that point of view, premium numbers provide an opportunity to earn back part of the costs and, depending on rates and volume maybe even generate revenue.
What are the main benefits?
Premium numbers have many benefits in common with other non-geographic numbers but of course there are some differences since there are rates involved.
- Customers pay to call you, so you do not have to cover all the telephone costs yourself. Depending on the rate you choose, you can even generate income by using premium numbers
- You can decide upon the rate yourself and whether you want callers to pay per minute or per call (depending on national legislation)
- Premium numbers can be used as a tool to ‘direct’ customers to online self-service. After all, you have invested in a complete and user-friendly website, so you want your customers to find the information they need there and not call you for simple questions
- You can choose your own number (depending on availability)
- Premium numbers create a feeling of nationwide presence
- Calls can be delivered anywhere, both national and international, and on any kind of infrastructure
- Premium numbers often tend to look more simple than geographic numbers, making them easier to remember. You can even choose vanity numbers if that suits your type of business, where the numbers spell out to a term relating to your business
- Premium numbers can be supported by all kinds of additional services such as IVR’s, routing schemes (both national and international), overflow in case of (un)expected inbound peaks and extensive call statistics
Make sure your numbers are compliant
Looking at all those advantages, you might conclude that premium numbers are ideal for customer service. But there are important disadvantages you need to be aware of if you do not want to get into trouble with the law or receive a lot of bad press on social media.
- Be aware of local legislation regarding paid customer service. For example, in Europe, it is not allowed to charge customers to call you if they have bought one of your products or services. So, before you start using a premium number, make sure the number and rate you want to use are compliant with local legislation
- Many customers avoid calling premium numbers for customer service so from a customer experience point of view these numbers are not beneficial
- There are often restrictions on calling premium numbers. Operators can for example restrict calls from prepaid cards. Also, many companies have restrictions on calling premium numbers via office lines and business mobile phones
- Local legislation may limit call duration
- If your contact center regularly has long waiting times and you use a high consumer rate, be prepared for complaints from customers about the calling costs. And nowadays, these complaints are often also communicated via social media
- Premium numbers usually can’t be called from abroad
It’s all about the money
Yes, that’s what it comes down to in the end: money. If you want to provide support in a way that (part of) the costs are covered or even better; revenue is generated, then premium numbers are the right choice for you. However, do be aware of local legislation as premium numbers can’t always be used for the same type of service in every country. Your telecom service provider should be able to advise you properly.
That’s a wrap!
This was the last article in our series about the different types of numbers you can use for customer service. For your convenience, here are the links to all the previous articles in case you missed them.
- Geographic numbers
- Non-geographic / business / national numbers
- Toll-free / freephone numbers
- UIFN numbers
If there’s anything else you want to know regarding numbers, get in touch with us. We’ve been specialized in customer service numbers for over twenty years now, so we are confident we can answer any question you have.Back to newsroom