Business marketing has constantly been changing over the past few years. Today, businesses must stay relevant and be available to their customers 24 hours a day to remain competitive as most businesses are available 24/7 for their customers. To facilitate this, many companies have begun offering toll-free numbers as a way to strengthen customer relationships, maintain brand recognition, track consumer behavior, and enhance customer retention. The ability to call a toll-free number makes a company more competitive over time. This is why business owners have been experimenting with different marketing strategies to be competitive in this dynamic marketing environment. So what’s the deal with the toll-free number, how does it benefit your business, and how to get a toll-free number for business online? Let’s discuss it.
What is a toll-free number?
A toll-free number is a telephone number with a distinct three-digit dialing code that can be dialed from landlines without charges for the caller. It can also be defined as a telephone number that takes calls over the phone and bills the company for all incoming calls instead of charging the originating service provider.
Minute-based charges might still apply when calling a toll-free number from a VoIP-based phone or mobile phone. A toll-free number can have a single dedicated line or be routed through different lines. It is possible to connect toll-free numbers with a dedicated line or go through a forwarding service that sends the call to an answering service or calls center.
How does a toll-free number work?
The process of making a toll-free call works the same way as all other calls. When a person dials a toll-free number, a call will be forwarded to a VoIP destination managed by the business’ cloud-based telephony service.
Then, a voice-over IP phone system connects customers’ calls with the business‘ agents. The only difference is that now the business bears the call and the related charges instead of the caller.
Is the toll-free number free in every case?
It is not always the case that toll-free numbers are free. Since a toll-free number also has an area code, if the business doesn’t pay for your area, you will not receive the benefit of free calls. If a Florida-based organization selects 888 toll-free, anyone calling from Texas or other areas cannot take advantage of this free phone service.
In such cases, the caller will be charged for the call made on a toll-free number just like it is for other calls. For example, if the business has only paid for the national calls, all the international calls made on the toll-free number will charge the caller instead of the called party. So, toll-free numbers are not always free to the calling party.
Key features of a toll-free number
Some of the basic features of a toll-free number are:
- They allow customers to call them instantly from multiple locations.
- They allow businesses to change their routing preferences at the time of their preference.
- They ensure your business is always accessible to your customers, which ensures greater customer satisfaction.
- They provide businesses with the ability to access user data and call analysis reports, which will help optimize customer service.
- They use an interactive and user-friendly web interface, advanced analytics, detailed analysis of reports to enable real-time call routing.
Types of toll-free numbers?
There are different types of toll-free numbers based on the business requirement of a company, even though the basic functioning of all of them is the same. Some of the most common types of toll-free numbers are as follows:
1. International Toll-Free Numbers
Toll-free numbers which do not impose a calling charge on international callers are called international toll-free numbers. The basic purpose of these toll-free numbers is to increase the global outreach of a business.
Since several multinational companies, today have customers worldwide. Those businesses need to serve their customers better and more efficiently.
Let’s suppose a business located in the United States has its customer in the United Kingdom and Australia. Then in such cases, an international toll-free number will allow the customers in UK and Australia to call the business located in the US without bearing any calling charges.
Thus, with the help of these phone numbers, businesses can grow their customer base by maintaining global visibility without changing their phone number.
2. Domestic Toll-Free Numbers
As its name suggests, a domestic toll-free number is domestic or national. In other words, domestic toll-free numbers cannot be called from outside of ONE country. Since the domestic toll-free numbers are domestic, i.e., national numbers, the appearance of these numbers is determined by the national numbering plan.
This means that domestic toll-free numbers might have different appearances in different However, most domestic toll-free numbers start with a prefix containing a number that is 800, 0800, 1800, etc. The exceptions to these are the domestic toll-free numbers in Spain which start with the prefix 900, and Japan, which starts with 005.
3. Vanity toll-free number
Toll-free numbers with a personal touch that are memorable and easy to promote are vanity numbers. Vanity phone numbers are very easy to remember and would be a great choice for ensuring your company stands out amongst your competitors.
It’s easier to promote vanity phone numbers creatively due to how they are spelled or ordered. Additionally, vanity phone numbers make your brand more appealing.
How toll-free number benefits your business?
1. Improving customer satisfaction
One of the most compelling advantages of a toll-free number for your business is that they make it easy for your business to improve customer service and satisfaction. With the availability of a toll-free number, your customers can get in touch with you more easily and get their questions answered.
Your customers will be able to contact you for any queries irrespective of the time of day, and they won’t even have to pay a single dime for contacting you. So, providing your customers with easier access to your business increases the likelihood that they will remain your customers for a long time.
2. With Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
IVR solutions can be integrated with toll-free numbers. Since IVR technology allows incoming callers to navigate a phone system before connecting to a human operator, it opens up channels for self-service.
A technology that allows incoming callers to navigate a phone system before talking to a human operator. This is important as it opens up channels for self-service. This means that IVR is a helpful tool for customers and can also be used to resolve simple queries based on the information provided by the customer.
With IVR solution, businesses can pre-record the answers to the basic questions regarding their products or services. Thus, when a customer needs some additional information about the product, it can be of huge help.
Further, it can also direct the caller to the website or collaterals for extra information. Consequently, live agents can devote more time to complicated issues that require expert intervention.
3. Makes the business look more professional
Toll-free numbers make your business appear more established and professional. Also, the toll-free number can be accessed from anywhere inside a country. This means that your business will be able to extend outreach to a larger number of customers.
Also, your business can use the call-forwarding feature in the toll-free number to direct all the incoming calls from different country areas to the line that suits you.
4. They are easy to remember
Toll-free numbers are much easier to remember than compared to other numbers. Thus, customers are more likely to call your business via a toll-free number, as a result of which your business can generate more sales.
5. They add portability to your business
Toll-free numbers do not require a physical address. Thus, you can relocate your business at any time, and the best part is your customers won’t even know about it. No matter where you are, you can still be reached by your toll-free number by forwarding your calls to your cell phone or any other phone!
Also, another interesting fact about toll-free numbers is that once you purchase them, they will always be yours, even if you change service providers.
6. They act as an effective marketing tool
It is very convenient to promote your toll-free numbers on marketing platforms to maximize your customer turnout. In addition, you can directly link toll-free numbers with call extensions to take advantage of the click-to-call feature. The majority of researches have shown that users search and directly contact a business through the click-to-call option.
7. They are cost-effective
A toll-free number service is easy to set up & affordable for all types of businesses. Toll-free numbers have a lower subscription rate than compared to regular telephone services. Providers offer affordable monthly plans or cloud-based options (pay as you go), not requiring contracts.
Downsides of a toll-free number
There are very few downsides to having a toll-free number, and they are as described below:
1. High Initial Investment
The initial investment required for the installation of the toll-free number is quite higher. This is because the hardware equipment needs to be specialized to install a toll-free number, which can be expensive for small startup businesses. This is the primary reason that discourages many businesses from not installing a toll-free number.
2. Unsolicited Calls
Since these calls are toll-free, many people tend to take advantage of this and make unnecessary calls, blocking their actual customers from calling in. For many companies, this can be a source of frustration, and a hassle as these prank calls can negatively affect their reputation since fewer customers will call back, resulting in customer complaints.
Whenever a company doesn’t provide a toll-free number, consumers will most likely turn to those who do. It might be worthwhile to change a company’s traditional number to a toll-free number to reach more people and get more customers. Additionally, toll-free numbers can boost a company’s brand image, save costs, and generate lucrative sales leads.
There are indeed several benefits of having a toll-free number for your business. But there are also several things to consider while buying a toll-free number to make the most out of your investment.
Choosing the toll-free number provider based on the availability of numbers, types, pricing, and support system can be a difficult job. So if you are hoping to give a traction to your business, it’s a high time to invest in a toll-free phone number(s).