A Number Translation Service (NTS) offers a business a variety of benefits over traditional landline numbers, although to fully appreciate these it is necessary to understand the basics of what such a service entails.
An NTS is designed to mask the location of a business by routing calls through to a landline or mobile via a non-geographic number. This makes it possible for customers from across the country to get in touch without having to use a number that is tied to a particular dialling code.
NTS numbers typically begin with 07, 08 or 09 and come in both freephone and premium varieties to give businesses the flexibility to present themselves in a way that they deem to be appropriate.
So, now that you have the technical information on the NTS, why should your business think about adopting such a service?
If your business has set up headquarters in a particular region but wants to reach out to customers who live elsewhere, an NTS number may help you to achieve this. Non-geographic numbers that can be called from anywhere look professional and show that your company operates on a national level, not just a local one.This may be relevant for businesses that are in the process of relocating or rebranding while still looking to hold on to their existing customers, because by keeping the number consistent you will remain contactable.
An NTS number can be a valuable marketing tool thanks to the way that it charges callers for usage, as well as in terms of the costs to your business.
If you pick a freephone NTS number then any customer calling from a landline in the UK will be able to call through and be confident that he will not have to pay a penny for doing so.
While freephone numbers are still subject to charges when called from most mobile networks, there are fee-based NTS numbers that will help keep expenses down for those who want to get in touch via a portable device. Many phone tariffs come with inclusive calls to certain landlines and so customers may be able to talk without paying the per-minute fee.
Convenience and Productivity
An NTS number can help to enhance levels of productivity; it is certainly a convenient addition to your communications set-up.
NTS providers are able to offer time-of-day routing so that inbound calls are passed on to different handsets and extensions depending on the time, while there are other advanced management features, such as queuing, voice to e-mail and automated menus, which will help to put customers through to the right person.
You can even route a call based on the location of the caller, which is very useful for businesses that have multiple locations based around the country that are intended to deal with a particular region.
Should You Adopt?
The only question that remains is whether or not an NTS number will be appropriate for your business. There is no right answer, because it is entirely dependent on your circumstances, the nature of your industry and whether or not you believe it will be a useful tool for promotion.
Companies that want to free themselves from geographic ties and widen their market considerably will be particularly suited to NTS.
Customer perception is incredibly important and a telephone number may be the first piece of information prospective partners, clients or customers receive about your business, so it is vital to make a good impression and appear as accessible as possible. An NTS number can make this easier, leading to improved sales figures and potential cost savings when deployed effectively.
The Different Types of NTS Numbers Available
There are several different types of NTS numbers available so to make your choice easier, here is an outline of the most common options.
One of the more recent additions to the NTS numbers family is the range of numbers beginning with 03. This was introduced by industry regulator Ofcom in order to make it easier for consumers to get in touch with companies through a single point of contact without letting themselves in for significant supplementary pay-per-minute charges.
An 03 number effectively functions like any other UK landline beginning with 01 or 02 and has a number of important advantages for both businesses and their customers.
Because 03 numbers work like domestic landline numbers, rates are charged accordingly and most users will be able to absorb the cost through the inclusive minutes contained in their current phone tariff.
This is particularly important if customers are going to be calling through from mobile phones, which may be charged at a much higher rate than landline calls if a business is not using an 03 number.
Most people are familiar with the nature of 0800 numbers, since these have long been linked with Freephone services and indicate that customers can call a business from any landline without incurring a charge for the connection.
0800 numbers are still important and can be a real asset to sales, because potential clients have been found to be more likely to make contact if they can do so at no cost to themselves.
Although calls to Freephone numbers from mobile devices generally are subject to a charge, which limits their effectiveness, there are reports of plans to ensure they become free from whichever number they are called in the future.
These are the two most common chargeable NTS numbers, which have the added benefit of being free to call under specific provider tariffs at certain times of the day.Some NTS number providers will charge your company by the minute when inbound calls are made to 0845/0870 services although this is not universally the case, so you might take this into consideration when making your choice.
These NTS numbers were introduced as a revenue-sharing alternative to 0845/0870 and give companies the chance to earn small amounts of money for each call that comes through.
Obviously this is not necessarily appropriate for every business, but discretion and experience will allow you to determine which type of NTS number you should utilise.
All of these NTS number types benefit from a variety of impressive additional features, such as the ability to route calls based on the time of day and the option to forward calls to different locations based on their point of origin.
Although it may at first seem that only major businesses spread across multiple locations can benefit from an NTS number, in reality there are advantages to be gained for even the smallest firms.
Being able to brand yourself nationally with a single point of contact is an obvious advantage and because NTS numbers come with a number of different applications you can select the option which best meets your requirements. The vital factor here is to examine each option carefully before deciding which route to take and then commit to a package that is within the bounds of your budget.
This article is supplied by Jamie Garner, who works for Daisy Group, a leading provider of business telephony including NTS numbers.