Should Your Business Have a Toll Free Number?
Toll free numbers can help legitimize your business by providing a free way for your customers to reach you with any questions, concerns, or comments. Toll free numbers are relatively easy to acquire, and can be transferred should you decide to switch service providers. Does your business need a toll free number? How do you know when it’s time to acquire one? Keep reading to learn more on toll free numbers and how to know when it’s time to get one.
What Does Toll Free Mean?
What is a toll free number? Toll free means free of charge to the caller. You’ll be paying for both ends of the phone service, including any long-distance calls made to your business. The customer incurs no cost whatsoever, making toll free numbers a great way to bridge the customer service gap between you and your customers.
Since you’ll be covering the cost of the calls, your customers will appreciate that you’re taking the time to thank them for their patronage by providing the free service.
Toll free numbers will consist of an 800 prefix, with one of the following combinations: 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888. This identifies the number as toll free and lets customers know that they won’t be charged for the call. It also makes your business seem like a larger, more successful brand since most major corporations will have a toll free number.
What Does it Cost?
Toll free services will vary in cost among different providers. You can expect to be charged per minute on a monthly basis, so if your call line isn’t very busy, this can actually be an affordable way to legitimize your business with a professional phone number. Some of the top providers of toll free numbers in the USA can be found here.
Some toll free providers like Grasshopper charge on a monthly basis instead of by minute, providing extra features like extensions with your monthly plan. You can compare plans to find just the right amount of coverage and extra features to suit your business.
Toll Free for Conferences
Toll free conference calling is a service offered by many web-based conference services, along with video conferencing, screen sharing software, and much more. This is an easy way to thank clients or business partners for their participation in the call, keeping the call free of cost to them.
The FCC’s Role
The Federal Communication Commission is an entity operated by the Federal Government that sets rules and guidelines for the acquisition and distribution of toll free numbers, but in no way acts as a service provider.
The FCC doesn’t have access to the toll free database, either. Instead, they have created rules that toll free providers need to follow. These can be found here, along with more information on how toll free numbers actually function.
Text-Enabled Toll Free Numbers
To further the convenience of your toll free services, you can add a text-enabled number that will allow your customers to contact your business via text message instead of a phone call. Since texting is such a popular method of communication, many people actually prefer to interact this way.
Providing different options to meet your customers’ very different needs is a level of customer service that your patrons will appreciate. Everyone has a different preference when it comes to communication, so it’s vital to your business’s success that you make the lines of communication compatible with a variety of customer preferences.
Have you ever seen an ad with a toll free number, but in place of actual numbers there was a sequence of letters that spelled out an acronym? This is called a vanity number, and it’s an easy way to make your toll free number that much more recognizable.
Vanity numbers can contain letter combinations that spell out a word or phrase, such as “1-888-GET-TOOLS” that will pertain to your industry or the products/services you’re selling. The phrase is easier to remember than a sequence of numbers, helping customers identify your toll free number quickly and easily.
Why Should I Use One?
So what can a toll free number do for your business? Besides improving your professional image and customer service, a toll free number travels with you, so no matter where your business moves, customers can always contact you.
Businesses with toll free numbers tend to have more credibility in the eyes of the customer, so a number of your own can actually help to boost your business’s credibility and drive new customers to your doorstep.
With a toll free number, you can also create extensions that can be dialed to reach specific departments or people within the business, streamlining calls and directing them to the exact person or department to help solve their issue. This is much more effective than placing a customer on hold until a customer service associate can answer and provide generalized knowledge on the subject.
Overall, having a toll free number for your business can prove to be incredibly beneficial and help provide a simple and free method of communication for your customers. The better your customers can reach you, the more satisfied they’ll be with the customer service, and therefore more likely to return to your brand as well as recommend it to friends and family. Try a toll free number today, and take your business to the next level!