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The Cost of Calling a Call Centre

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 18 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Communications Expert

It is often the case that when we contact a call centre we have to spend some time on the line in order to have our queries answered or our orders taken. With this in mind it is useful to have an idea as to how the cost of these calls are paid for and what we – as the customers – will have to pay in order to have such things dealt with.

Non Geographical Numbers

The first thing to consider is the use of non geographical numbers when calling call centres or sales order lines. These numbers are referred to as non geographical because it is almost impossible for you – as the customer – to decipher where the call is being routed to simply by looking at the number you are calling. These numbers are often found to begin with 0845 or 0870 and in rare instances 0906 (if the call is of a support nature).

When calling a non geographical number you should – where possible – make note of the call so it can be checked against your telephone bill when you receive it. You can also do this online with your telephone service provider who will – upon request – provide you with a username and login for their website which allows you not only to check on past bills but also on the current cost of calls made from your telephone number.

Routing Calls

Sometimes when dealing such a number as 0845 or 0870 the number has to be sent through more than one exchange in order to reach its final destination. This is called routing and means that a number – once dialled – may have to pass through the exchange containing the company’s non geographical number and also the exchange which holds the company’s original number (which will have had a prefix for example 0113). This process is called masking and is designed to prevent customers dialling geographical numbers thus resulting in a loss of revenue for the company in question.

Local Rate Calls

Using a so-called non geographical number is often referred to as a local rate call; so named because the premise is that you – as the customer – would pay no more for the call than if you were calling your friend who lived a few streets away. However although this may sound good in theory the practicalities of it are much different hence the suggestion that you keep a record of all non geographical numbers you call and check them against your bill.

Most calls are billed in increments of seconds but non geographical numbers are automatically billed at five pence for the first minute and then in increments of thirty seconds. This means that a call you might have made on an all inclusive tariff is excluded from the tariff and means that whatever your bill would normally be is then added to with additional call charges.

This can be explained as: Cost of bill, Additional Call Charges, Line Rental and VAT.

You should also be aware than some companies who use non geographical numbers have a higher call rate and as opposed to five pence for the first minute and then incremental call charges you could find yourself paying a flat rate of seven and a half pence per call. Check any literature you have from the company before dialling in order to ensure how much a call will cost. Alternatively ask the representative when you dial.

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