Non Geographic Numbers (NGN) have increased in their complexity and whereas a few years ago they were used to either generate a small amount of revenue but more likely to give a company a national presence, they are now very much part of a customer’s contact centre solution and disaster recovery plan.
There are two main elements to NGN’s; the type of number and the functionality that sits behind it.
These two elements are independent of each other in that the type of number doesn’t dictate the complexity of the calls plans associated with it. Different types of numbers (0800, 0861 etc) mean that a customer will either be charged for each minute that your number is dialled or you will be paid for each time the number is dialled. It all depends how much the caller has paid. Sales departments may choose 0800 numbers whereby the caller doesn’t pay anything to encourage potential customers calling. A helpdesk may choose 0861 numbers charged at up to 50c/minute to receive a commission for providing a service. Call plans can be as simple as diverting the call to a separate number when busy, up to network based auto-attendants (press 1 for Sales, 2 for Accounts etc), network call recording, announcements and voicemail.
SaintGroup’ NGN Services are often used by companies who put a lot of emphasis on their customer service. Due to their routing plans they can be a useful tool in disaster recovery and day to day use in ensuring that calls are answered as efficiently as possible. They can provide useful information on the effectiveness of different types of advertising by using different numbers for different campaigns. They also protect a company when they move offices to a different area code (011 to 014); the NGN can simply point to a different number.
A lot of the ‘in-cloud’ functionality provided by NGN’s can also be provided by Customer Interaction Solutions on a telephony system. In some circumstances the routing may be better provided by an On-Site solution as they can interact with other applications providing “skills based routing” for example and can therefore be more complex, but in-cloud routing solutions can route the traffic in different ways before it is delivered to a site. This can be useful when the customer has more calls than ISDN channels or call-centre agents, for example. The calls could be queued in the cloud and then sent to voicemail in the cloud. Often a combination of both solutions will be beneficial to a customer.
SaintGroup can provide a high level of functionality, excellent call rates and the ability for our customers to create, control and report on their own call plans and numbers. Geographic numbers (011 and 021) can also be ‘ported’ to become a NGN.