1300 Numbers demystified
Here are the three most common questions that we get asked about 1300 numbers:
- What exactly is a 1300 number?
- Why do I need one for my business?
- How much is it going to cost me?
Let's look at each one of these in turn.
What exactly is a 1300 number?
A 1300 number is a "virtual" number, in that it isn't tied to any one specific phone in the same way that your landline and mobile numbers are.
Instead, you route your 1300 number to the "answerpoints" at which you want it to ring, including landlines, mobile phones, fax machines or call answering services. You can select multiple answerpoints for a single 1300 number, for example if you want to ring a different number outside of regular business hours, or if you want your calls to go through to an answering service when your line is busy or not being answered.
National businesses can route their calls to the answerpoint closest to where the caller is located (for example, a call from Queensland could be routed to the Brisbane office, and one from South Australia to the Adelaide office). And when 5pm rolls around and everyone in your East Coast offices goes home, calls can be routed to the Perth office to provide customers with extended support hours.
Because the 1300 number is not tied to a specific phone or exchange, you can take it with you when you move. That means that as your business grows and you move into bigger and better offices, and expand across the country, your phone number remains the same.
And the 1300 number belongs to you: not to your telco. That means you can transfer your services to a different telco without losing or needing to change your number.
Why do I need a 1300 number for my business?
As described above, 1300 number routing provides great flexibility in terms of where and how you can answer your calls, plus you can keep the same 1300 number for the life of your business. And that's not all they can do.
A 1300 number helps to conceal both the size and the location of your business, which can be a great benefit when you’re first starting out.
By listing a 1300 number, and then pointing it to your mobile, you give the impression of being a much larger business than just one person with a mobile. And if you're running an online business that supports customers Australia-wide, a 1300 number helps to encourage customers from around the country to phone you while hiding the fact that you're doing most of the work from your kitchen table!
As your business grows, you can take advantage of other 1300 number benefits, including the ability to get detailed reporting information about your calls to help you measure things like the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns.
1300 numbers can also help to encourage customers to call. Dialing a 1300 number from a landline anywhere in Australia costs the same as a local call (typically around 30 cents). Customers who may hesitate before calling a long distance or mobile number, are typically more comfortable dialling a 1300 number.
How much will a 1300 number cost me?
Unlike 1800 numbers where the business receiving the call pays 100% of the call costs, your 1300 number shares the cost of the call between you and your customers.
Customer costs: When calling from a landline, customers pay at least the cost of a local call. Note that if they call from a mobile phone, the 1300 call cost is determined by their mobile carrier. Some carriers include 1300 and 1800 numbers in their cap plans, whereas others charge regular mobile rates.
Business costs: You'll pay a monthly fee for the number. After that, the answer is ... it depends. Full pricing can be a bit complex, so we'll try to simplify things here as much as possible:
- Most plans provide the first minutes free for calls from a local landline to your landline, or to other services that use local landlines such as fax and live answering service. For example, Alltel’s GROW and ADVANCE plans provide 30 free minutes for local landline-to-landline calls. After that, a per-minute call charge applies. For businesses that have a high volume of local calls, a Pro plan that includes all local landline to landline calls for free will be the most cost-effective option.
- For calls made from a mobile or national (long distance) landline, the free minutes do not apply. Instead you are charged a per minute fee, similar to what you'd pay for 1800 numbers.
- For calls routed to your mobile phone, the free minutes do not apply and you are charged a per minute fee. Again, costs are similar to what you'd pay for 1800 numbers.
Because pricing is subject to change, we are including a link to our most recent 1300 number rates for those who want to find out more.
So there you have it!
Hopefully the above has helped to answer your questions about what a 1300 number is and how it can help your business.
Alltel has a range of both 1300 and 1800 number plans designed for businesses of all sizes available on a month-by-month basis.