“ Let your fingers do the walking. „
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Please correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't there a time when you could ring directory enquiries for free?
As I understand it directory enquiries now involves a charge of something like 50 pence a minute?
I really used to like the old system where you would dial 192 and you would get to speak to a real live human being - do you remember them? They are what you used to get on the end of a phone line. Nowdays you get a computer voice reading stuff back to you, or a system asking you to utter yes or no, or punch numbers in to your phone.
Mind you the old 192 system was fine if you knew WHO you wanted to get the telephone number of.
Most times when people use the Yellow Pages ,they don't know who they want to speak to.
It is not a Directoy Enquiries in a book, it is a trade directory; a list of adverts for businesses and tradespeople. This book helps you find who you are looking for, and gives you their contact details.
These days we can go online and use the internet or our mobile phones to help us with this information, but it is not everybody who is internet- or mobile-savvy; there is a generation of people out there still used to doing it the old way, i.e. The Yellow Pages way
These people tend to be of a particular age, and a sad fact of life is that as we progress through it our eyesights ability to accomodate weakens. Which makes the yellow pages rather redundant for those who are most likely to use it - those whose eyesight is getting worse through time. Why does this make the Yellow Pages redundant? Well the writing is microscopic; I mean it is really teeny-weeny.
The solution is to make the print bigger, but this book is already gi-normous and to make the print bigger might make the book difficult to produce, and for some too heavy too lift.
The Yellow Pages though, is an excellent fall back for those times when we don't have internet access.
Everyone knows the Yellow Pages, the orginal big free book crammed full of adverts for local services.
Im guessing there was a time when the Yellow Pages was a god-send to people, and that its what they relied upon to use if they needed a plumber or carpet fitter for example. But how useful is it nowadays?
I must admit, everytime we get a Yellow Pages delivered to our house(they come out once a year for your area) I put mine straight in the recycling bin now. Why would anyone want to have a big heavy book laying around, when you can have access to the internet, and find what you want in seconds, and often cheaper. I say you can normally find things cheaper online because generally the people that advertise in the Yellow Pages are bigger businesses who can afford more in advertising, and normally charge more for their services than local small businesses.
I run my own Personal Training company, so I actually took out a advert in there 3 years ago, spending quite a lot of money. How much work did I get from it? Zero. Not a penny! Dont go thinking the advert wasn't very good, it actually looked well designed(designed by Yellow Pages themselves)and it was very eye catching, but it didnt even lead to one phonecall! The only bonus I can find about using the Yellow Pages for a lot of businesses is that if you just want a basic line, which gives you your business name and number, thats free, so why not. I would certainly never spend money advertising in there again, because i dont think enough people bother loking at it these days.
The book itself is quite easy to use, its all in alphabetical order, and it has every type of service you could think or, and more. Its printed on cheap thin paper, almost like newspaper, which tends to leave print on your fingers if you keep flicking throught the book.
Overall, I can see a benefit for people using this book if theydont have accessto the internet like the elderly, but ultimately for me and I suspect a lot of others, its time has been and gone.
Over the years I been in charge of advertising budgets at several companies and one company I have always reserved funds for, has been the yellow pages. The reason being was due to the sheer amount of enquiries it created for the companies concerned. However advertising was not cheap and would only come around once a year, so you needed to make sure you answered the phones from them.
The General Post Office first published a classified section called Yellow Pages in the Brighton telephone directory in 1966. As we all know this was to be followed by the creation of BT back in 1981. It was a very successful book which was delivered nationwide free of charge. Each area had their own book so that the businesses concerned concentrated on their own customer base. After all nobody wants to deliver a pizza from Liverpool, if they live in Brighton!!
In 2001 Apax/Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst bought 'Yell' from BT and later floated it on the stock market in 2003. By this time they also had an online version too.
The Customers Experience
Well I've touched briefly what it was like as a customer in the business sense. But what about the end user. Well my experience has been fantastic. The book is well set out. It includes larger adverts from those companies who pay more. However even if you were a small business you got a line advert free. This meant that users had access to nearly all businesses in their area. If I ever wanted a particular item or service I would work my way through the lists in the book.
Obviously with the onset of the internet Yell brought a version online, which I guess is used quite a lot. I've used it a few times myself and the interface is easy to use. However I'm more inclined just to type the service followed by area into google. That normally sorts me out fine. So the book, although a welcome addition to my house, is not relied on as much these days.
Delivery: Just to let you know about the experience I had delivering these. A few years ago I wanted a few spare pounds before Christmas. I signed up for a few rounds. It was extremely hard work and I had to use my own transport. The weight in my boot alone caused my tyre to burst on one occasion. I did make about 500 pounds at the time, but this equated to me at less than the minimum wage, but I was self employed, so this was allowed. I can make this money a lot easier now on the net. But for those of you who like walking, keep an eye out for vacancies in the Autumn!!
In summing up, this book is a great book to have. I highly recommend to all. However I think a time will come that we will rely on it less and less and less...................until who knows??