Australian companies use either 1300 or 1800 numbers for customer communication. Both these types of numbers are termed as “toll-free”, but if we dig deeper, we will find many differences in 1300 and 1800 numbers. However, first let’s try to understand what makes them “special” unlike normal land-line numbers.
1300 and 1800 numbers are “virtual numbers”. It means that such numbers don’t have a separate physical phone line. Calls made to such numbers can be diverted to a land-line or mobile phone by the owner of the number without informing the caller. In fact, incoming calls can be diverted to different answering points. Both 1300 and 1800 numbers can be dialed by people across Australia and as the numbers are portable, if a company changes its office/shop location, they can maintain the same “customer care” number.
However, remember that while people can contact your business from anywhere in the continent dialing the 1300 or 1800 number, you can’t use it for outgoing calls. You have to use the normal phone line to make all outgoing calls. All the traditional features of a land-line such as call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding and voice-mail are available for 1300 and 1800 number owners.
Since now you have a basic idea about 1300 and 1800 numbers, let’s talk about the differences.
# 1300 numbers are known as “local call numbers” and can be called from any Australian fixed telephone by paying local call charges. On the other hand, 1800 numbers are truly “toll-free numbers” because callers can call from a land-line and talk without paying a single penny. That is why, some people consider 1800 numbers as “free call numbers”.
# When someone dials a 1300 number, the call charge is shared between the caller and the recipient. The caller pays “local call charges”, only if he uses a land-line, and if the call duration is less than 30 minutes, the recipient pays nothing because generally most 1300 number providers offer 30-min free call time to their customers. However, free minutes vary depending on the plan selected by the buyer. If the call duration goes beyond the free call limit, both the caller and the recipient share the charge. On the contrary, if someone calls an 1800 number from a fixed phone, he pays nothing. All the charges for telephonic conversation are paid by the number owner.
# If the caller uses a cell phone to dial a 1300 or 1800 number, he pays the call charge as set by his network provider. Similarly, if the caller is using a cell phone, the recipient will be charged as per his plans, irrespective of his number.
What are the Pros and Cons of 1300 and 1800 Numbers?
# Both types of numbers give you a nationwide presence and you can provide a single number to all the customers across the states to contact your business. You can have 10 offices or shops across Australia, but customers need to remember only one number.
# Portability is a huge benefit of 1300 and 1800 numbers. You can change the location of your office anytime and take the number with you. Customers don’t need to know that you have relocated your base.
# You can track callers’ location, numbers and get other details about them effortlessly. Thus, if you are running a marketing campaign all over the country, you can check which states are responding positively to your promotion and in which states, you failed to create any buzz.
# Both 1300 and 1800 numbers are scalable. You can start with a low-call volume plan initially and as your business grows, you can switch to a more appropriate plan.
# As callers need to pay only local charges or no charges at all, unnecessary calls are unavoidable. Some people will call your company just to kill their time and they have no intention to buy your products or services.
# Whether you use a 1300 number or 1800 number, you have to pay for the incoming calls. 1300 numbers do provide a certain “free call” period, but there is no guarantee that callers will end the conversation before reaching the free period.
So, you must have started thinking, which one should I opt for? 1300 or 1800 number? If you are ready to bear all the call charges and are sure that customers will call you from fixed and mobile phones, you should opt for 1800 numbers. On the contrary, if you don’t have deep pockets and know that your target audience will mostly use land-line phones to contact your business, you should buy a 1300 number.