89% of consumers welcome 192’s retirement, but businesses could see their directory enquiries spend jump – Cable & Wireless releases guide to help them get the most out of 118
89% of consumers think that the retirement of the traditional 192 directory enquiries number, taking place on 24 August, is a welcome move, according to a new survey carried out by ICM research on behalf of Cable & Wireless. The range of new services that will be offered by the new 118 numbers replacing 192 is the most appealing aspect of the transformation, with 75% of people looking forward to using the advanced range of services, such as access to cinema times, train timetables and onward call connection.
Whilst today’s research shows consumers are enthusiastic about the new choice in directory enquiries, what does this mean for businesses, the heaviest users of directory enquiries services? Calls to directory enquiries cost more than the average call (40p per call with traditional 192), and account for, on average, up to 4% of a company’s phone bill. The proliferation of 118 numbers and the new information services offered by several providers could lead to a jump in companies’ directory enquiries spend if they misinterpret the total costs of these services.
Today, Cable & Wireless has published a guide for businesses, highlighting key aspects a business needs to evaluate before committing to a 118 service and examining the best way to avoid uncontrolled ‘spaghetti spending’ on enquiry calls to a potential supplier market of over 407 different services. The guide highlights the following:
• Take control and market the chosen 118 numbers to employees: without guidance, employees could use the services of tens of different providers, incurring varying price premiums and experiencing disparate levels of service. Different 118 numbers have different capabilities, including single or multiple number searches, and businesses should take a realistic view of which capabilities they require.
• Assess total, not just initial costs: directory enquiries services that appear cheap initially may not upon closer inspection. Services charging “per call” sometimes add cost-per-minute charges to advertised call rates. Some mobile operators are also charging a surcharge if users dial certain 118 numbers.
• Cheap doesn’t always mean cheerful: services that appear to undercut their competitors dramatically may do so at a price to the customer. Not all number databases are of the same quality. This could result in incorrect numbers being distributed or in the customer having to make a second call to access the correct number. Cable & Wireless advises evaluating the quality and level of service provided by a number of services before choosing a provider which will best meet your business needs and employee expectations for a competitive price.
• Extra services cost money: accessing cinema times, for example, is a real value-add, but if all a person is looking for is a phone number, they do not need to incur a higher charge for a more advanced service. However, the ability to access train information might be worth paying extra for if employees regularly need to travel to different locations by rail.
“With a flood of new 118 directory enquiries numbers descending upon us, it is difficult for businesses to decide whether to, and how to, regulate the use of such numbers by employees,” explains Andrew Sangster, managing director, UK Carrier Services, Cable & Wireless. “We have drawn on our broad experience of providing directory enquiries services directly to businesses and on behalf of numerous other brands to produce this guide. Cable & Wireless operates 114 new directory enquiries numbers on behalf of its business and service provider customers, which gives us a clear insight into a complex and developing market.”
Cable & Wireless offers competitively priced directory enquiries services to its business customers using the following numbers: 118 099, 118 199, 118 229, 118 339 (all for UK enquiries) and 118 449 (international enquiries).
- Ends -
Note to editors:
• The Cable & Wireless guide, ‘Directory Enquiries is now your call’ is included below.
• ICM Research interviewed a random selection of 1000 adults aged 18+, by telephone between 25-27 July 2003. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
• Cable & Wireless’ directory enquiries numbers are:
118 099 national single enquiry: 35p per call
118 199 national single enquiry with connect option: 35p per call + 5p per minute
118 229 national single enquiry with manual connect: 35p per call + 10p per minute
118 339 national multiple enquiry with manual connect: 30p per call + 30p per minute
118 449 international multiple enquiry: 50p per call + 80p per minute
About Cable & Wireless
Cable & Wireless is one of the world's leading international communications companies. It provides voice, data and IP (Internet Protocol) services to business and residential customers, as well as services to other telecoms carriers, mobile operators and providers of content, applications and internet services.
Cable & Wireless’ principal operations are in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the United States, Japan, the Caribbean, Panama, the Middle East and Macau.
For more information about Cable & Wireless, go to www.cw.com.
For more information, please contact:
Cable & Wireless
Tel: +44 (0)20 7315 4184
Brodeur Worldwide (for Cable & Wireless)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7298 7075
Directory Enquiries Is Now Your Call –
How to pick the right 118 for your business
At 00.01am on 24 August, the traditional directory enquiries number 192 will be replaced with a raft of new numbers to dial, all with the prefix 118. An amazing 407 different directory enquiries numbers could potentially become available to business and consumer users.
On average, up to 4% of a company’s phone bill consists of calls made to directory enquiries. This might seem like a small proportion, but advanced information services, such as multiple number search and onward call connect, offered by some 118 numbers could cause this figure to rise if businesses do not take control over the numbers their staff are using. How can businesses in areas such as recruitment, sales and research, which make regular use of such services, navigate the wealth of new numbers to their advantage?
There are two courses of action available - take time to select the 118 numbers appropriate for your business and educate your employees about your chosen approach, or allow employees to dial any of the 118 services on offer.
Cable & Wireless advises: take control before you lose control of directory enquiries spending. Remember:
- Avoid ‘spaghetti spending’ on hundreds of different numbers.
Evaluate the 118 numbers that would be most cost-effective for you, and choose a selection of useful numbers to be used by the whole office. Different 118 numbers have different capabilities, ranging from the cheapest basic services such as a single number search, to more advanced multiple number searches with optional call connection and international number searching facilities. Many business providers offer a selection of capabilities that can be tailored to an organisation’s needs and budgets.
- Extra services are great.
Accessing cinema times and train information is a real value-add, but if all your employee is looking for is a phone number, they should not be paying the premium rate charged by a more advanced service when a cheaper, more basic service exists elsewhere.
- Employees are consumers too.
Not all new 118 numbers will be advertised to the public, but those that are may appeal to different people, each of whom may have a preference for a different 118 number. By selecting particular directory enquiries numbers for use by your business, you can reduce the complexity of your spending and likelihood of multiple calls to an uncontrolled number of 118 services.
- Beware of hidden extra costs.
Directory enquiries services that appear cheap initially may not really be such a bargain upon closer inspection. For example, services charging “per call” sometimes add high cost-per-minute charges to advertised call rates. Mobile operators may also charge a surcharge if users dial certain 118 numbers.
- Evaluate the real price of onward call connect facilities.
The capability for instant connection is a real advantage when on the move, but connected calls are often charged per minute or per second at a higher rate than an average call. Directory enquiries services that appear cheap can charge customers at premium rates for using the onward call connect facility they offer.
- Cheap doesn’t always mean cheerful.
Services that appear to undercut their competitors dramatically may do so at a price to the customer: not all number databases are of the same quality. This could result in incorrect numbers being distributed or in the customer having to make a second call to access the correct number.
With so many 118 numbers offering an array of different services, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the directory enquiries choices available to businesses. Cable & Wireless advises that this is the time to take control or lose control of telecoms spending on directory enquiries in your organisation. Whichever option you choose, educate your employees on the path you have selected.
For those who find the thought of reaching the entire workforce with details of your company’s chosen 118 services a little too daunting, there is the option of working with your telecoms provider to reroute calls made to 192 or any 118 number to your chosen 118 numbers. This option provides the best of both worlds, allowing you to select the right 118 number for you, without necessitating a drastic change of dialing habits across your organisation.
Cable & Wireless operates 114 new directory enquiries numbers, more than any other telecoms provider. It provides various levels of directory enquiry services to its business customers and manages branded services on behalf of other organisations. To get in touch with a team of experts with long-standing experience of implementing effective directory enquiries services for business, please visit Cable & Wireless at:
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