Choosing to use a toll free number can be easy once you know the various benefits of having one.
With a toll free number, you can provide an easy way for customers to reach your business with any questions, concerns, or even orders. While a toll free number will incur a cost for the provider, any callers will be free of that responsibility, even if they’re long distance callers. So is it really better to use a toll free number for your business? Keep reading to find out more about toll vs toll free numbers.
What Does Toll Free Really Mean?
As mentioned, a toll free number is a number that only incurs a cost for the number’s provider. Customers can call a toll free number and not have to worry about being charged fees of any kind, which is a nice way of saying “thank you for your business”. Even saving a customer a few dollars can really help in earning their respect.
What Else Does Toll Free Offer?
Besides an easy contact point for your customers, toll free numbers have some other advantages to boast of. For one, they can help further the legitimacy and image of your business. Customers tend to trust a business with its own dedicated line more since you’re showing that customer service is a top priority for you.
Many large businesses have a toll free number simply to meet the call volume they experience on a daily basis. When you first started your business, you may have been able to get away with using only one or two phone lines, but as you grow, you might find that staffing a small call center becomes essential to keeping up with demand.
A toll free number can also be turned into something called a vanity number. This is a number that contains a short word or phrase that can help customers easily remember the phone number. Have you ever seen an ad with a vanity number? Something like “1800-BETTER-SLEEP” or a similar phrase.
Vanity numbers make brand recognition easier since your customers will automatically remember the phrase and think of your brand.
Having a toll free number can actually boost your call volume as well, leading to potential leads or new customers. With a toll free number, customers will see that you can handle extra calls and that you’ve chosen a quality service with which to do so.
What About Toll Numbers?
Toll numbers are the exact opposite of toll free. The caller will pay for the call, and if they’re calling long-distance and those services aren’t included in their current phone plan, they may end up being charged by the minute for the call.
A toll number is essentially any regular phone number. While having a toll number as a small business can be fine for the first few years, as your business expands and reaches new geographic locations and customer bases, it’s important to ensure they can reach you at little to no cost to the customer.
Where Do I Get a Toll Free Number?
If you’re interested in obtaining a toll free number for your business, you can visit any of the toll free sites such as Grasshopper, CallHippo, or FreedomVoice.com. These sites will host your toll free number, and if you switch phone providers at any point, you can take your number with you.
The price of your toll free number will depend largely on the needs of your company. If you need several extensions for different departments, you’ll end up paying a bit more for your phone number. If you need more than one toll free number, the cost will rise significantly.
A great feature of modern toll free numbers is that calls can also be forwarded to a business landline or your personal cellphone. This can mean that even the smallest businesses can obtain a toll free number and not have to staff a call center.
Be sure your customers know the toll free number’s hours of operation as well. You wouldn’t want your personal phone ringing over and over again in the middle of the night!
Is It Safe?
The FCC is responsible for monitoring toll free providers and ensuring they follow certain rules but does not have access to the toll free database. A toll free number is only as secure as its provider, so be sure that you’re working with a company that maintains a good reputation in the area of call security.
The last thing you want is an unwanted set of ears listening in on sensitive customer information, so security is an absolute priority if you’re thinking about obtaining a toll free number.
How Do I Know if I Need One?
High call volumes are usually an indicator that you should switch to a toll free number. Additionally, an expanding customer base in distant geographic locations can be a good indicator that you need a toll free number so your customers can avoid long distance charges.
Toll free numbers are especially useful for e-commerce stores since they’re web-based and accessible by customers anywhere in the world. Calling from another country can be incredibly expensive without a toll free number, so ensure your customers can reach you no matter what part of the world they’re in.
Toll free numbers are an affordable way to ensure customers can reach you without personal cost to them. It can also help your business appear to be more legitimate, and a vanity number can help customers always remember your phone number.
For The Yucatan Times