Shoppers Out of Pocket Calling Premium Connection Services
We’ve all experienced the frustration of having to find a direct or affordable number to call through some of our favourite brands and businesses. In some cases, people choose to look for directories and connection services online to get through to the right people. However, while they might assume they are saving money by doing […]
We’ve all experienced the frustration of having to find a direct or affordable number to call through some of our favourite brands and businesses. In some cases, people choose to look for directories and connection services online to get through to the right people. However, while they might assume they are saving money by doing this, they may actually be running up high, unnecessary bills that they could otherwise have avoided.
A clear of example of this comes recently as the Phone-Paid Services Authority, or PSA, handed out a £250,000 fine to a phone number directory service based online. The website and service in question, Plus que PRO SAS, was reportedly connecting callers to big brands such as Apple and H&M but were doing so at a rate of £2.50 per connection. This, a tribunal led by the PSA found, came as a result of misleading adverts available online.
The PSA found that practices undertaken by Plus que PRO SAS offered direct connections to brands such as Boots – however, they were offered up at a standard rate of connection which may have resulted in bigger bills than expected for many of the website’s users. The PSA stated concern over the fact that the website did not establish that some of the numbers offered through their connections were actually available cheaper, or even free elsewhere.
Therefore, visitors to the website may actually have found that they could save money and hassle by going directly to consumers. However, in many cases, people feel that they need to turn to such services so they can connect quickly and conveniently.
The PSA found that the website’s actions – through misleading advertising – were ‘totally unacceptable’, and on top of a £250,000 fine, those affected by the connection charges can now claim refunds. The tribunal in question also found that many calls – 500 in 1,900 – were less than 10 seconds long. This means that many people may have found that their calls dropped, only to still receive the connection fee.
What Does This Mean for Consumers?
While many people have been using telephone directories online for years in an effort to combat rising bills – and to get through to specific departments and agents – it is clear that callers will need to be more vigilant when it comes to setting up with such services. While the website concerned in the recent tribunal was found to be at fault with regard to the information it did or didn’t offer to users, visitors and callers will still need to look carefully at attached terms and conditions, and will also need to make sure that they budget carefully if they wish to use proxies in future.
However, it should also fall to businesses to offer clear alternatives to these services. This means that brands and firms – even the smallest of companies – should make sure to set up clear call maps and switchboards to dissuade customer drift. However, customers and consumers should also be encouraged to call companies directly wherever possible.
Websites such as Plus que PRO SAS exist to help make things more convenient to everyday callers who may be struggling to find the best routes through to corporate bodies. However, this doesn’t mean that these services are necessarily going to be cheaper. While communications regulations are clearer than ever before, that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be services which charge premium rates.
Consumers will therefore need to gain more confidence in the companies they call so that they don’t feel they have to use number directories. There are plenty of companies, for example, which offer national rate lines which are inclusive in phone tariffs and rates.
How Can My Business Help?
By overhauling your own commercial call system, you can help to ensure that callers have direct, affordable routes through to the service they demand. There is nothing more frustrating for customers than to have to pay through the nose for call queuing when they can’t get through to who they want or need to speak to!
Therefore, your own company can make a start by ensuring that there are clear routes through to specific departments and agents. What’s more, there should be a focus on saving customers as much money as possible. You could set up 0800 lines to make things completely free for them to call you, or if you still want to make a little money from your calls, you could set up an 0345 line, which is affordable and even inclusive to customers based on their phone tariffs.
What’s more, you could make your direct connectivity more appealing through the technology you use. Alongside call answering, cheaper number proxies and smarter switchboards, VoIPer will work with you to set up a telephony service that runs entirely through VoIP. This means that, thanks to your calls running through data rather than traditional PSTN, you can expect your calls to be clearer, more stable, and altogether more reliable.
It’s another great way to keep customers calling you directly rather than encouraging them to look for alternative firms, or alternative routes through to contact you. Therefore, why not do your part and tune up your corporate communications strategy?
Taking a Stand
This recent news regarding connection charges clearly shows businesses and consumers that vigilance over fees and connection standards is more important than ever before. Even as a small business, you can make a real difference by showing your callers that you are conscious of their wait times, the fees they pay, and the quality of care they actually receive. The mark of a modern, responsible business is a willing to adapt and grow to help appeal to the needs of the many.
At VoIPer, we work hard to make sure that you have access to a variety of corporate call centre standards to ensure that your customers get the best direct care at prices they can feasibly afford. Why not get in touch with VoIPer today to see how much of a difference you could be making?