14 April 2021
By Tom Collins
At the end of this year, the five NGN (Non-Geographic Number) ranges will be reduced to two. The 1850, 1890 and 076 ranges will be withdrawn, and the 1800 (Freephone) and 0818 (Standard Rate) ranges will remain.
This means that for any business or organisation with an 1850, 1890 or 076 number listed on a website, on other marketing material, on a company vehicle, or even embedded in a device such as a monitored alarm system, they will cease to operate at 12.01am on January 1st 2022.
1850, 1890 and 076 numbers are widely used in Ireland, with some of the country’s biggest organisations and businesses to be affected by the disconnect. Such companies include the HSE, Gas Networks, Vodafone, RTE Liveline, AIB, Irish Life Health, Energia and the Luas.
If customers or other important contacts have the number saved in their CRM system, on a business card, or in their contact list, they will receive a ‘number unobtainable’ tone once the numbers are disconnected at the end of 2021.
It is recommended that the necessary changes are made to switch to a new number as soon as possible. Switching early will allow for enough time to inform customers of the contact number change, and to update any materials required, such as website information, leaflets/handouts, business cards etc. In addition, it allows callers to become familiar with the new number, ahead of existing numbers being withdrawn. Until January 1st 2022, parallel running of existing and new contact numbers will be facilitated.
Call answering experts, Kendlebell Kimmage, have shared the five most important things to do if your business or organisation has an NGN number that will be disconnected at the end of 2021, prior to their withdrawal.
1. Carry Out an Audit
As soon as possible, carry out an audit of your business or organisation’s marketing material, brochures, signage, website, company vehicles and any devices such as alarm systems to see where your 1850, 1890 or 076 number is being used.
2. Locate an Equivalent Number
Contact Kendlebell to check if there is an equivalent 1800 and 0818 number to your existing 1850 or 1890 number. The call answering experts can advise on the best options for businesses and can supply new numbers.
3. Activate a New Number
Take a new 1800 and/or 0818 number as soon as possible and activate it. All numbers will be enabled to run parallel with your existing 1850 and 1890 numbers until they are retired.
4. Inform Those Affected
Contact your customers and important contacts to ensure they are aware of the number change and can update your contact number details in their CRM systems and in their contact lists.
5. Update Website & Materials
Update all affected materials such as business/organisation website information, social media channels, Google My Business information, leaflets/handouts and business cards.
Gerry Delaney, Managing Director of Kendlebell Kimmage, commented on the benefits of retiring NGNs, ‘’This change will greatly improve transparency on costs and simplify the options available to businesses. Consumers are often reluctant to call certain numbers because of concern as to the call charges they might incur. Likewise, businesses can be reluctant to use non-geographic numbers for the same reasons.’’
Kendlebell Kimmage can check if an equivalent 1800 or 0818 number to an existing 1850 and 1890 number is available, and can also supply businesses and organisations with these updated numbers prior to the changeover.
Credit: Video voiced by Cork based Voice Over Actor David O’Sullivan of www.VoiceOverArtist.ie