New Free Telephone Business Directory Promises Shakeup
New Free Telephone Business Directory Promises Shakeup of the Industry
Three young entrepreneurs plan to turn New Zealand’s telephone directory business upside down with the launch of 0133, a new free-to-call business directory created by friends Prentice Robb, Paul Aitken and Michael Chang. The partners say that the service will provide a business directory service that is free for consumers to call, comprehensive in its content and with a local call-centre – three factors that don’t currently exist in New Zealand. They believe this will make 0133 a powerful force in the marketplace.
Robb says instead of the caller paying for the service, businesses pay a small listing free to be part of the directory – pure and simple. “Why should consumers have to pay to find a supplier? It’s an old business model and it is time it changed,” he said.
The three decided to take on the existing directory competitors themselves after facing an endless stream of problems with offshore call centre operators mishearing their requests and hearing the complaints of others. “We think New Zealanders are fed up with so many New Zealand companies cutting costs and outsourcing, but not passing those savings back in improved service” he said. “Having a local call centre is logical, good for business and the economics are fine - provided you’re not paying for massive overheads or printed directories, or funding historic debt like some competitors,” says Robb. “By having local people on the other end of the line there’s going to be the advantage that comes from familiarity and experience, not to mention understanding of New Zealanders’ quirks and the way we communicate.”
The partners say that the service goes much further than simply the provision of a free phone number. When you phone a directory service you have to know at least part of the business name you’re seeking and the rough location. With 0133, the caller can simply state the company or service they want, the general region or other preferences and stay on the line until they’re satisfied with the information they’ve been given. And callers don’t just receive a phone number – operators will be happy to provide all the information the caller desires, including the address, the type of service and even the offers, special promotions and unique selling points – the information is then texted and/or emailed to them at no charge.
“Companies that register with us can load in all kinds of information, including lists of services and brand names, anything they want our operators to tell the caller,” says Robb. “And this information can be updated online at any time, 24 hours per day,” he said. “No waiting a full year for the printed directory to be re-printed!” he laughs.
The sales team is currently on
the road seeing businesses throughout the country and after
only a week have close to 3,000 registered and ready to go.
Their registration website 0133 is also live and receiving 8
registrations per hour. By the public launch date on the
17th of January, the company expects to have more than
30,000 registered companies and growing rapidly.
From day one, callers will still be able to request the phone number for any company, but only registered companies will have the additional detail. As the database of registered companies grows, the amount of detail available for callers will expand dramatically.
“Businesses will realise that they’re missing out if they don’t register all their information and their competitive benefits on 0133,” says Robb. “And we believe that they’ll also start directing their own staff to use the service to save the 70c – 1.20 that a call to another directory service will incur. “Across a large company, the cost of calls to directory services must cost $ thousands per month, a cost they can reduce to zero by using 0133,” he says.
The three friends collectively have over 30 years of experience in business development, enterprise start-ups, telecommunications and sales and marketing. They’re unashamedly young, enthusiastic and know that the introduction of 0133 in the market will provoke a response from the big players. “We accept that this service will put pressure on existing services to change their model and we’re looking forward to seeing how quickly they react,” says Robb. “Either way, the consumer wins.”
The aptly-timed launch comes at one of the busiest consumer spending times of the year and 0133 are offering businesses introductory launch prices. The service goes live to consumers in early 2011. Robb and his team are confident about the introduction of their brainchild, and are excited about how it will transform the ability for consumers to connect with businesses. “Once customers learn that 0133 is free, why would they ever choose to pay again?”