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0800 Numbers are killing your business

0800 numbers, we have come to love them. They had become so rooted into our culture and economic system, that in some countries, they are a regulatory requirement for enterprises facing consumers. Can you imagine your life without calling your credit card company or your bank? If they don’t supply you with an 0800 number, you are most probably surprised. However, the truth of the matter is, 0800 numbers are literally killing companies cash flow and may cause significant financial losses – and the enterprises can’t do anything about it.

The technical model

An 0800 number will normally be associated to a specific landline or mobile carrier. When a carrier accepts a license from the regulator (every county may be slightly different), they are automatically assigned number ranges. These will normally include their normal usage number ranges and special number ranges. For example, if you are a mobile carrier in the UK, you will be assigned by ofcom the following: Local landline number, Local mobile numbers, 0800 numbers, 0845 numbers (regionals) and 0871 numbers (geographic). Each number range carries a different charge to the calling user. The carriers are responsible to making their number ranges available to the other carriers, normally this is done via direct or indirect interconnects.

The financial model

An 0800 number is a free call for the caller, the recipient of the call will accept the charges. Now, That means that if I’m subscriber of carrier A, and I’m calling an 0800 number located at carrier B, associated with an enterprise C – there exists a financial transaction from enterprise to carrier B, and then from carrier B to carrier A – well, that makes perfect sense.

The problem at hand

The problem with this model is simple – its flawed by design. The model is designed in such a way, that if carrier A is capable of generating fraudulent traffic into enterprise C, he will get paid. Now, the concept of 0800 fraud isn’t new, it’s been around for years. Enterprises can’t really account for it, as each enterprise can’t distinguish between real traffic and fraudulent one, the carriers don’t care – as they get paid and the fraudsters get paid. The result is simple – the enterprise will have a monthly ‘Red Line’ indicating their usage of 0800 number, with no ability to really knowing if the sums in there represent a true and meaningful number for the enterprise. As John Wanamaker once said: “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.” – in this case, this is part of the 50% thrown away.

The Resolution

Simply forget about 0800 numbers completely – they are confusing, costly and prone to issues. Most enterprises, specifically those in the retail or are consumer facing, will have a mobile application made available to the public. These mobile application can easily be adapted to include Over The Top (OTT) VoIP capabilities. This capability will enable the enterprise to dramatically reduce its exposure to 0800 fraud, will also reduce the number of concurrent calls on the existing 0800 line (some people may still want to use it) – and at the same time, yield much better consumer interaction – as the communications with the consumer can be directly correlated to the application and the consumers interest. Imagine being able to call HSBC, after looking at your balance sheet, seeing that you’re in need of some liquid cash – and the other party at the bank will know that you were looking at the balance sheet, and be able to better service you. Imagine that you call Dominos or Papa Johns, and they’ll know immediately what order you are talking about, without even asking you – simply because the communications started at the application level and the information was provided completely in-band. This is what Cloudonix is all about – enriching the consumer communications path with the enterprise, while reducing the enterprises costs at maintaining said communications path. At an age where our attention spans shortens, our senses are blasted with information and distractions, don’t you believe we should ease that experience on our consumers? while at the same time, provide them with exceptional service?