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innotel
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Hi Susie,

We believe 1300 or 1800 numbers offer more ‘pro’s than ‘cons’ for small businesses. Here’s a few of each that we see;

Pro’s
– a 1300 number makes you look bigger than you might be (think: customer trust, more comfortable dealing with a perceived ‘larger’ company)
– tells potential customers you do business on the ‘national stage’ / across Australia
– You can take this number with you where ever you go in Australia. Simply route it to any landline/mobile number.

Con’s
– more expensive to run that a local / geographic number as you pay a per minute rate for calls coming to you (the caller either pays a per call fee (1300) or free from landlines (1800).
– Pricing can be confusing; Generally you’ll pay for two legs of the call. You’ll generally pay for the 1st leg of the call (customer to your 1300 number) and pricing varies depending if they’ve called from a landline or mobile. The second leg of the call is charged based on where you route the 1300 number to (landline or mobile).
– you still need a phone for the 1300/1800 number to direct calls too (could either be a landline/voip or a mobile number.

If you’re running a business from home, but want to be able to receive calls at any time, you could simply have the 1300/1800 route to your mobile. Most 1300/1800 providers have many different and flexible options for routing (e.g. calls between ‘business’ hours route to your mobile, or send calls direct to voicemail outside of this).

You’re right – there are plenty of options in the market (/shameful plug: including us) and not all pricing plans are equal. Choosing a provider and plan needs some well thought out consideration in to what features you need, or how much you’re willing to spend.

For you, you need a provider who can not only supply the 1300 number for you, but one that can offer ‘time of day’ routing, with the ability to send any calls outside of those hours to a voicemail service. You could even look for one that emails the voicemail’s to you, if you find that easier.

You may find later that you want some reporting around where your calls are coming from, in case you do any advertising and want to do some analysis.

For an online shop you’re running yourself, those are the features we’d be recommending. Moving to a new 1300 provider isn’t any more difficult that moving internet or phone providers, so no drama’s if you outgrow your first provider.

I hope I’ve been of some help and not confused you even further!

cheers,

Andrew