Non-Geographic Numbers (NGNs) are telephone numbers which are not assigned by geographic location, instead they are virtual numbers which you can control and take with you – no matter where you move in the UK.
That means that as your business grows and scales and your customers become used to a number, they don’t have the hassle of learning a new one, nor will all of your marketing material become out of date.
NGNs can be mapped to any existing phone number, including international ones, allowing you to conduct business in a way that suits you whilst keeping everything simple and efficient for your customers. In the UK, NGNs will usually begin with 08 or 03 and will act just like any other number, affording you services such as call routing, handling, and voicemail.
Types of non-geographic number include:
0800: Freephone numbers that include no charge for the caller.
(You pay the cost of the calls).
0844: Numbers where the customer pays a fixed rate regardless of where
they’re calling from. (You don’t pay to receive calls).
0845: Local call numbers that are charged at a local rate, regardless of where
the caller is in the country. (Often used by public sector organisations and
customer service departments).
0870: Internationally accessible national UK rate number.
0871: Revenue-generating premium number where the tariff will include a
margin for revenue sharing.
09: Premium rate numbers that are used for competitions, information lines,
voting systems, and entertainment services.
03: Numbers that charge the same as calls made to geographic numbers. (No
revenue sharing available).
Local Numbers: Numbers with a geographic area code that can be operated
from any location. E.g. A London number for a Manchester based office,
giving your business the appearance of larger, more geographically dispersed
- A) Phone Numbers (NGNs)
- ii) How can NGNs help you achieve BC/DR?
So how would an NGN play a part in creating your BC/DR plan?
First of all, the flexibility an NGN affords removes the headache of moving offices and trying to transfer the number with you. If you have to change your number and effectively start again, this can be laborious, can lead to outages in service when transitioning, and creates confusion for everyone involved.
Furthermore, you will likely have to change all of your marketing materials, which should be quick across your digital platforms (although there is always the potential for missing instances of your number) but all of your printed material will automatically become void and useless. This can be a costly and confusing effort, which can be avoided by adopting NGNs.
To help with your business continuity, keeping the same number throughout your business’ journey avoids any confusion and means no matter what happens, your business is ready to go. Instead of changing your number,
all you need to do is change the number that your NGN points to via a web portal. It’s as simple as that.
Now, as your business scales and you have multiple offices, you can give the appearance of a single, connected entity and provide your customers confidence as well as a single point of contact regardless of where your
offices are located.
Calls that you take via NGNs can then be manipulated to suit the needs of your business, whether this means distributing them amongst any of the departments or to specific agents across various sites (including home
workers). You can point your NGNs to various other telephone numbers including, NGNS or mobiles meaning you can be responsive to your customers – no matter where you are.
By no longer being bound by the geographic location of your number, should disaster strike you can quickly divert your number to another one. This means that business can carry on as usual externally, whilst you resolve
the issue internally. If one office goes down, it need not affect how you conduct business.
Finally, with a non-geographic number, you can divert your NGN to a new voicemail service or number if the existing in-house system or landline develops a fault. That way you’re never likely to miss a call, and you’re always
in control of your calls.