Blog - November 21, 2018

The pros and cons of a non-geographic customer service number

Following our previous article about geographic numbers, let’s now have a look at non-geographic numbers. Basically, all telephone numbers that aren’t tied to a geographic location are non-geographic numbers so this is a pretty wide description. In this article, we will focus on the non-geographic numbers that have the same calling costs as geographic numbers. What are the pros and cons of using such phone numbers for customer service?

non-geographic number

Advantages of a non-geographic number

Let’s look at the benefits first. Why are non-geographic numbers suitable for customer service?

  1. They are ideal to create the feeling of a nationwide presence as they aren’t tied to a specific geographic area
  2. They are usually cheap to call from both fixed and mobile lines. Calling costs are the same as for a local/national call. For (mobile) callers, this type of number is generally included in the free minutes’ bundles
  3. There are no accessibility limitations. They can be reached from any carrier network, both fixed and mobile. And they can be called from anywhere in the world
  4. Calls can be delivered anywhere, both within the country as well as abroad. Also to any type of number or IP address (i.e. termination ID) and on any type of infrastructure
  5. All types of routing possible, such as % split-routing, time-of-day routing, overflow or any other routing scheme.
  6. No need to change numbers when you move your office to a different location within a country. These phone numbers aren’t tied to a geographic location
  7. They are easy and quick to set-up
  8. Because these numbers are charged at the rate of a local/national call, these numbers are usually compliant with local legislation. However, this is still something that needs to be checked to be certain
  9. You can opt for an easy to remember number, depending on availability

Why this number might not work for you

Despite all the above benefits, there are a few reasons why a non-geographic customer service number might not be the best fit after all:

  • Different formats. The number formats and the names used to indicate them vary per country. This means they require more than basic knowledge to ensure you choose the right type of number. Some European examples:
    • In the Netherlands, they’re called business numbers and start with 085 or 088
    • in the UK, they are the national numbers starting with 03. This is a rather new type of number that came into place to avoid confusion from callers about costs of ranges such as 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers
    • in France, they are referred to as the Numéro Gris (Gray Numbers) ranging from 0806 to 0809 for numbers with regular length or starting with 30 or 31 for short telephone numbers
    • in Germany, this is a national subscriber number starting with 032
  • Number formats not always recognized or popular. In some countries, these formats aren’t as well-known as other formats which can cause confusion regarding the costs of calling. And when there’s confusion, people can be hesitant about calling such numbers.
  • Not free; callers only pay a local or national rate, but that’s not the same as a free call. If you want to maximize the number of callers or avoid complaints about the costs of calling (especially if average call duration is long), you might be better off using a freephone/toll-free number

Of course, these pros and cons may not all be applicable or equally important to your type of business. With this article, we hope you can easily determine what to choose or use. If help is needed, we are happy to advise.