A guide to phone words and smart numbers

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A guide to phone words and smart numbers

Phone words are 13, 1300 or 1800 smart numbers followed by a word of your choice.

A phone word is literally an instantly recognisable calling card that showcases the essential nature of your product or service.

Customised phone words enable a small or medium business to stand out from the crowd and create a very distinguishable brand.

The key to a 1300, 1800, or 13 smart number is a memorable phone word or a recurring number sequence that follows the prefix.

Smart numbers have distinctive, patterned numbers. Given their strong marketing appeal, they are generally regarded as the cream of the virtual crop when it comes to telephone numbers.

Phone words are in hot demand in Australia right now.

This Q & A provides a simple explanation of how phone words and smart numbers work in Australia, what are their advantages to your business, and how you can go about obtaining your very own memorable inbound number immediately.

What are phone words and smart numbers?

Phone words are 13, 1300 or 1800 numbers followed by a keyword describing a particular business or service.

The word is spelt out through the alphanumeric keypad on a mobile or landline telephone handset.

The corresponding letters on the keypad can be used to form a word, or a combination of part word and part number.  13 CATS (13 22 87) is a good example.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) gives the example of ‘1300 TAXI’ – clearly one that is easier for a customer to remember when he/she needs to dial a taxi cab.

Phone words are an excellent marketing tool for small and medium businesses.

How long have phone words been in use in Australia?

Phone words were officially launched in Australia in mid-2004 following the release of the appropriate number ranges by the independent statutory authority, ACMA.

ACMA is tasked with ensuring most elements of Australia’s media and communications legislation, related regulations, and numerous derived standards and codes of practice operate effectively and efficiently, and in the public interest, according to its website: www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/About/The-ACMA-story/Communicating/introduction-to-the-acma

According to ACMA, “Certain numbers have been reserved for use in radio, books, films and television. These numbers are unlikely to be allocated for individual use.”

Australia’s Telecommunications Numbering Plan 1997 ensures telcos use a standard approach to telephone numbers, says ACMA. This makes it easier for customers  to “recognise numbers associated with particular services and be aware of call costs”.

What do smart numbers and phone words cost?

When you buy a smart number, you will need to pay a $19.50 registration charge.

Above that, there is the allocation charge for the number.

Every number has been assigned an allocation charge.

These charges range between $250 and $20,000, with the majority of numbers starting at $250.

ACMA controls all telephone numbers in Australia. The licensing right to use these numbers is made available through an auction process.Who owns licensing rights to smart numbers and phone words?

You can check the ACMA website for particular phone word availability.

What are the benefits of having a phone word?

Phone words are five-and-a-half times more memorable than standard numbers.

More people call phone words and recommend them to others, thus increasing the call volume of a business.

If a phone word is printed on a van, there is a great likelihood that with one glance at the van on a street or in a parking lot, a potential customer can memorise the phone word. So you can market your business even while you are mobile.

Phone words identify your brand across offices, states and advertisements, thus giving your business a massive boost.

You can get increased word of mouth referrals from a snappy phone word.

And having a phone word implies a business is big, established and smart.

They can help improve your Google search rankings with a phone name doubling as a keyword.

How do I buy a phone word or smart number?

You can buy a phone word via an auction process managed by ACMA.

Once you have bought your smart number, you can then arrange to connect it with a top telecom provider like Zintel.com.

According to ACMA, if you buy a smart number, you don’t become the ‘owner’ of the number – instead, you are given enhanced rights to use the number. This right includes the ability to sell or lease your smart number – which can’t be done for any other telephone number.

A smart number remains yours unless the number is inactive for a continuous three-year period. ‘Inactive’ means that calls cannot be made to the number. If the latter occurs, the number is automatically returned for resale.

See ACMA’s quick guide here: www.thenumberingsystem.com.au/#/about-smartnumbers

Should I lease or buy a phone word?

Business owners are often confused about whether to lease or buy their phone word.

Zintel keeps it simple and transparent. Unlike some telecom operators, they never buy the phone word themselves and lease it to customers at exorbitant prices.

How to choose the phone word that is best for the business?

When choosing a phone word, find one that is punchy, and incorporates or abbreviates your business name.

Choose a phone word that is based on your product, service, trade or industry.

Choose one that suits your budget. The most popular words attract higher costs.

Choosing a catchy word to add to their 1300, 1800 or 13 number is the key. A well-picked, bespoke phone word can be an immensely attractive marketing tool, giving your customers instant brand recall.

Can I receive calls anywhere in Australia on a phone word or a smart number?

Yes you can receive calls anywhere in Australia on a phone word or a smart number.

So what are 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers?

1300 and 1800 numbers are virtual or inbound numbers. They are phone numbers used to carry a call from a point of origin to a point of termination.

Toll Free numbers have no infrastructure or cabling requirements. They simply “piggy-back” on the existing land line and mobile networks across Australia.

In Australia, there are three main types of inbound numbers:

An 1800 number is a six-digit number prefixed by 1800.

A 1300 number is a six-digit number prefixed by 1300.

A 13 number is a four-digit number prefixed by 13.

Customers can call your business from any Australian landline or mobile.

Leading provider Zintel.com offers you flexible options like call routing, distribution and reporting to enable you to be in touch with your client enquiries around the clock.

How long does it take to add call routing or call completion options to my smart number or phone word?

Simple Call Routing strategies like Overflow, Time Routing and Call Distribution can be completed for you in just a few days.

Upon completion of your connection, you will be provided with login details for the Zintel portal. In the customer portal, you can lodge tickets to set up new features on your account and you can also view how they progress.

If your request is for a complex routing product, then one of the service team members will contact you and let you know just how long your request will take.

Will the 1300, 13 and 1800 smart number or phone word service give me more information about who is calling me?

Call reporting features are important to ensure that your business obtains information about who is calling you.

Zintel’s Call Reporting is the best in the industry. You can select from a number of different reporting packages, or you can customise a reporting set to suit your business.

These analytics reports can show you the geographic locations that your calls are coming from, the times of day when people are calling, how many calls are being missed, and much more.

Zintel specialises in 1800 and 1300 numbers in Australia and provides personalised service for any business – be it small, medium or large – seeking help and advice to avail of the inbound number facility.

If you need friendly guidance or want a specific question answered, please call Zintel on 1800 946 835.

Can I access and manage my phone word account online?

All Zintel customers get 24/7 access to an online portal that provides detailed call and usage data for their smart numbers.

With Zintel’s solution, you can log into your own account from anywhere and assess all the calls received by your inbound number.

The detailed level of call reporting provides your business with valuable insights about your customer reach and product appeal.

How do I make sure all my smart number/phone word calls get answered?

Zintel’s reliable Call Management Features free up your time for essential enterprise tasks.

One of their Call Routing or Call Completion products will take care of this for you.

In the event that your call isn’t answered because your answer point is busy or goes unanswered for a period of time, Zintel’s Call Overflow feature will ensure the call can then be routed to a second answer point.

If there’s no one to take the call at your second answer point, their Voice-to-Email feature acts as a backup for your service. This feature sends your customer’s voice recording as an email so that all of your messages are waiting for you in your inbox.

Alternatively, Zintel also offers a Live Answer service, where one of their professional, Australia-based representatives takes the call in your business’s name, captures all of the details and then sends them to you via text or email.

What is call routing for smart numbers and phone words?

A Call Routing strategy with a smart number ensures that your business is always connected to potential customers.

Your phone calls can be redirected based on percentages, the time or day of the call, or geographic region of the call.

If, for instance, your business has staff located overseas, your smart number can be set up to be answered in several countries across the world.

Zintel’s routing solutions for smart numbers include:

Call Distribution – splitting calls based on percentages, i.e. 50% to one answer point and 50% to an alternative answer point.

Postcode Prompting – prompting the caller to enter a postcode, to determine where their call is sent.

Regional Routing – routing the call based on the town or city the caller is in.

State Routing – routing the call based on the state the caller is in

Customised Greeting – presenting the caller with a greeting, and then prompting the caller to select a number to determine where their call is sent.

Enjoy all these smart features with a smart number from Zintel that makes your business memorable. It is a simple, three-step sign-up process for a new customer and only takes five minutes via their website: shop.zintel.com.au/


What are the costs at Zintel once you secure your phone word?

Once you have secured your phone word, you can keep the number even if you leave Zintel.

It is convenient to switch providers.

The billing is on a month-to-month basis and there is no long-term commitment.

There is no contract and no obligation.

At Zintel, you also get a 24/7 Australian-based fault service and an Australian-based customer service.

You can add or remove services and features at any time.

Can I port my existing phone word from another service provider?

If you already have a phone word with one telco, you can port it across to another company offering you a deal more suited to your needs.

Zintel can transfer or port your existing number.

With Zintel, you can get a free bill analysis on your current rates, a customised plan and setup for your call features.

And with Zintel, there are no porting, switching or set-up fees.

Can my 1300 smart number or phone word be dialled from outside Australia?

You will need to research which countries can dial a 1300 number in Australia.  It may work for some countries, while it may not work for some others.

If a caller can make contact with an Australian 1300 number from overseas, they will be charged based on their home network’s rates. They will have to dial the overseas code of their country, followed by the Australian code (61), and then your 1300 number.

Your small or medium business can avail of all these smart features with an 1800, 1300 or 13 smart number or phone word from Zintel that makes your business memorable. It is a quick, sign-up process for a new customer via their website: shop.zintel.com.au/

Zintel specialises in 1800, 1300 and 13 numbers, phone words and smart numbers in Australia and provides personalised service for any business – be it small, medium or large – seeking help and advice to avail of the inbound number facility.

If you can’t find an answer to your specific question above, please call us on 1800 946 835.