In this episode of PodMD, Rob Horn from 1Cloud Voice & Data will be discussing the topic of 13, 1300 & 1800 numbers, including what each of these numbers are, how to set up such numbers, who owns the numbers, the fees associated with each type of number, phone words and more.
This podcast is brought to you by 1Cloud Voice & Data. 1Cloud Voice & Data is a retail Telecommunications Service Provider specialising in the supply, management, billing and support of business telecommunications services to business clients across Australia. 1Cloud seeks to provide customised solutions that meets with their business customers initial telecommunication needs, whilst also taking into consideration their potential future growth and operational changes.
You can get in touch with 1Cloud Voice & Data via their website.
Please note this is a machine generated transcription and may contain some errors.
*As always, all in this PODMD podcast is intended for health professionals and the comments are of a general nature. Information given is not intended as specific medical advice pertaining to any given patient. If you have a clinical issue with one of your patients please seek appropriate advice from a colleague with expertise in the area.
Today I’d like to welcome to the PodMD studio Rob Horn from 1Cloud Voice & Data.
1Cloud Voice & Data is a retail Telecommunications Service Provider specialising in the supply, management, billing and support of business telecommunications services to business clients across Australia. 1Cloud seeks to provide customised solutions that meets with their business customers initial telecommunication needs, whilst also taking into consideration their potential future growth and operational changes.
Rob is the Service Delivery Manager at 1Cloud, and in that role he helps to oversee the project management and provisioning of new business services for their clients.
Today we’ll be discussing the 13, 1300 & 1800 numbers, what they are and how they work.
*The information provided within this podcast is general in nature, and 1Cloud recommends speaking with a business telecommunications specialist regarding your own specific needs and requirements. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of 1Cloud Voice & Data, not PodMD.
Rob, thanks for talking with us on PodMD today.
Rob: Thank you for having me
The topic of today’s discussion, is 13, 1300 & 1800 phone numbers, what they are, and how do they work for businesses and practices.
So Rob, I am sure that most of our listeners would be familiar with having called a 13 or 1300/1800 number at some stage, though they are possibly not aware of exactly what these are or how they work. Can you tell us a bit about them?
Rob: Yes certainly Peter.
These numbers are referred to in the telco industry as being “Inbound” numbers or services, and that is because they are virtual numbers that route the inbound or incoming calls to another number, or numbers, depending on the actual setup.
I suppose that for most people, the first thing that crosses their mind regarding these 13, 1300 and 1800 inbound numbers, is that they are only available to, or used, by rather large businesses or government departments, as that is usually where we see the in use.
Now granted, for the six digit 13 numbers, such as 132861 – which happens to be the Australian Tax Office’s main number by the way – these do tend to be used by the much larger enterprises, national corporations, and government bodies. And that is primarily due to the cost, as these premium 13 numbers have an additional annual Government Surcharge fee of around $7900 (ex GST), which is not very feasible for most small and medium sized businesses.
Regarding the more common, and easily obtainable ten-digit 1300 & 1800 inbound numbers, the main difference, apart from their prefixes, is in how the call costs are divided between the caller, and the business who holds and uses the inbound number.
All three inbound number types can be setup to route the incoming calls with the same features and functionalities available. Do note though, that you cannot present a 1300 or 1800 number as your outgoing number ID for outbound calls.
So, can a practice setup a 1300/1800 number at any time, and who owns the number itself?
Rob: Yes, they can be setup at any time, though it is probably more logical to setup an inbound service when setting up the new practice itself, as then all the marketing materials can have the one contact 1300/1800 number referenced on it, which saves on any rework or reprinting costs. But of course, any existing practice possibly wanting to implement an inbound service can also do so at any time.
We can normally have a new service activated and ready for use within 1-2 business days, though that can also differ, and possibly be longer, depending on your Service Provider and the Network Carrier they are working with.
If you are selecting a number, from a list of currently available numbers from your Service Provider, then those numbers are ultimately held and owned by the originating upstream Network Carrier – e.g. Telstra, Optus etc.
Alternatively, if you were to purchase a currently available Enhanced Rights of Use – or EROU – number from the phone number regulatory authority, being the Australian Communications and Media Authority, or ACMA, then you are buying the right-of-use of that 1300/1800 number. You can then on-sell the right-of-use of that number and transfer its ownership to another party if you had wished. However, if at some point in time the number is not active on a carrier network for a given period of time, the ACMA will advise you that your rights-of-use to that number will lapse, and the number subsequently returned back to them.
I assume that there are likely to be some setup fees, and ongoing monthly service costs involved with these inbound services as well?
Rob: Yes that is right, as is the same as for most phone services, and this will of course differ among Service Providers.
However, it is common for an initial number activation and setup fee to be charged and that can also be subject to whether the call routing setup required is for a simple routing or a complex routing type. Some providers may also charge an additional fee-for-service for any subsequent changes or modifications made to the original routing setup.
Then there is usually a fixed monthly service fee for the supply of the number and service itself, plus any call charges. You will normally incur call charges for calls that you receive on your 1300 or 1800 number, that would be based on whatever plan arrangements may be in place with your Provider.
1800 toll-free numbers let your customers call for free from a fixed landline, however you pay all the timed incoming call costs, there is no free talk time component, and therefore 1800 numbers can be slightly more costly to operate compared to 1300 numbers.
Whereas with 1300 numbers, it is not toll-free for the caller. The caller may be charged by their provider for making the call to your 1300 number, and you also pay some, if not all, of the timed incoming call costs, depending on the specific plan inclusions and terms you may have.
Do we need a landline number and a phone system to be able to use these inbound numbers?
Rob: Remembering, that Inbound numbers are virtual and not physically connected into a premises or a phone system itself. As such, they need to be redirected to any of your existing phone numbers, which are referred to as Answer Points. For example, you can have your 1300 calls routed to your landline, mobile or even international numbers. It can also be setup in the routing, to be a combination of various answer point numbers if necessary.
However, most businesses use an office landline number as their Answer Point, and the landline number is setup on their underlying phone system where they then use their phone system to answer and manage their incoming calls. They would then use their phone system for their outgoing calls, which is then presenting their main landline number ID.
You mentioned Simple call routing and Complex call routing options earlier, can you possibly elaborate a little more on those features for us?
Rob: So a Simple routing configuration would be, where your Inbound number simply terminates to one single Answer Point number, where the call is then managed and answered. There are no additional routing options or rules in place.
Whereas with Complex routing, you can have advanced features and rules created such as interactive voice menu prompts – or IVR’s as they are referred to – that can route the call to a particular office location or department depending upon what menu option the caller selects.
You can also have Postcode and State-based routing rules that routes the call based on where the caller is calling from. You can also decide where your calls are to be routed during after hours, or at any time and day.
What is a Phone Word and does this apply to these 1300 and 1800 numbers?
Rob: Well firstly some quick statistics. From a research study undertaken by Roy Morgan back in 2008, they found that phone words are up to five times more memorable than phone numbers, and that 86% of people preferred phone words to a phone number. Interestingly, they also found that 75% of customers actually preferred talking to someone, and we don’t think has changed any today.
Basically, a phone word is a 13, 1300 or 1800 number that makes up a word. That word should have some kind of association with your brand, or the nature of your business – for example 13PETS or 1300DOCTOR. Those letters then correspond with a number or digit, that appears on your phone’s dial pad. Therefore, using the 1300DOCTOR example, it would equate to being 1300 362 867.
Now the reality is, that finding an available 1300/1800 number that happens to match with the word that you are possibly seeking, is not that easy, as a lot of the more common ones are already taken. There are some companies that have already purchased and activated these numbers quite some time ago. They own them and just squat on them, until they happen to find someone that may be interested the number. They then offer you to buy it outright from them at an often over inflated price, or they offer to lease the use of that number to you, normally with significant monthly leasing fee and term, and you still don’t own that number.
Whilst there are some additional costs involved, obviously there are some benefits to using a 1300/1800 number, can you provide us some detail on these?
Rob: Choosing between a local number and a 1300/1800 number all comes down to customer perception. If your customers are all concentrated in one area, then a local number will probably be your best option.
On the other hand, if your business offers services that covers a wider scope, including interstate, then an inbound number is the way to go. Inbound numbers are not geographic and therefore removes the location-based presumption of clients, who may be biased and swayed from using your services based on the location that a local number dictates.
Callers often associate 1300 and 1800 numbers with those used by much larger and more successful businesses, and therefore they can provide a perception of your practice being much larger than it may actually be. It can give your practice a professional image.
If you have more than one practice location, you can advertise the one main 1300 or 1800 number across all your of your advertising mediums, and use various the call routing options to send the calls to the appropriate office.
Then there are the advanced call routing options, that can assist your business with better management and handling of your incoming calls.
So Rob, what are some of the considerations for a practice, when they are looking at whether a 1300 or 1800 inbound number is possibly suitable for them?
Rob: Ok, so a few key considerations would be…
How many calls do you currently take per month?
Are your incoming calls generally from local landlines or mobiles?
Are your calls answered on a mobile or local landline?
How long are your calls on average?
Is it important for your callers to have free calls?
Is the phone word number you are after available and in which format?
Do you need to promote your business across more than one location and or state?
Do you wish to present a professional image, and also appear to be a much larger practice than you may be?
Once again, this has been a very informative overview Rob. In closing, can you possibly give our listeners some key points to take from today’s discussion?
Rob: Most certainly.
Firstly, we would advise you to…Be clear on your objectives and requirements
– All inbound numbers provide benefits of a unified, portable, versatile point of contact – choosing the right inbound number for your practice depends on your business’s objectives, and your exact requirements.
Secondly, Know the Costs
– Understand what your setup and ongoing fees and charges may be, including any additional fee-for-service charges for any configuration change requests that you may make from time to time.
– Whilst the 1800 numbers can encourage customers with free calls for them, the 1300 numbers are a less costly option for most businesses and tends to be the most common option these days.
And finally, Seek professional advice.
– Be sure to discuss your specific needs with a professional telco Service Provider who has in depth knowledge about business, and of how these type of 1300/1800 Inbound services may best suit your practice and objectives. Gather all of the facts, including the costs and terms etc., and then you can make a well-informed business decision.
Thank you once again for your time and the insight’s that you have provided. I am sure our listeners will have appreciated your demystifying these numbers for us.
Rob: It has been a pleasure, and thank you for inviting us on PodMD, we look forward to the next session.