Business Phone Systems: What Should I Know About Toll-Free NumbersPosted on: 2019-02-09 | Categories: Business VoIP Providers
Making a change is hard for businesses but sometimes a small one can have a big impact. Effective communication is one such example. If you have a business phone system that is efficient, reliable and has the features you need, the impact on your company as a whole is incalculable.
Getting a toll-free number for your business falls squarely in that category as well. Setting one up isn’t free but requires less investment than you might think. Even the initial setup is quite easy, and you could be up and running in just a few hours, at the most. Taking that first step and deciding your business could use it is probably the biggest hurdle!
Before you jump in with both feet, here’s what you need to know about toll-free numbers – how they work and what benefits you can get by using one or more of them.
Toll-Free Numbers Explained
Toll-free numbers aren’t anything new but using them alongside a hosted VoIP system gives you access to new capabilities. In a traditional business phone system, there is a huge cost difference between local and long-distance calls. So, if you do business in multiple regions or countries, customers calling your number would have to pay exorbitant prices. Toll-free numbers allow your customers to call you for free.
With a hosted VoIP system, long distance calls are very inexpensive, especially compared to traditional landlines. But while outgoing calls become cheap for your company, your customers still have to pay for calling you. Toll-free numbers solve that problem quite nicely. Now you can give out a number for international customers to call your company for free.
Toll-free numbers are not just for your customers’ benefit either. They can increase the productivity of your employees as well. Streamline your customer service and tech support workflows by integrating toll-free numbers with features like ACD queues, call hold etc. There’s no need to staff multiple offices in various time zones just to get close to customers. Give them a single number they can call from anywhere in the country!
There are many ways to get toll-free numbers. You can get a toll-free number from your VoIP provider itself. Some vendors offer bundles of free minutes with the numbers while others charge according to a set price sheet. The correct plan for your company will depend on call volume, the features you need, and other factors. Even if your provider doesn’t offer toll-free numbers, you can get one from third-parties. You can easily integrate them into your existing business phone system.
Toll-free vs Local Numbers
It’s well known that VoIP services allow you to have virtual numbers with any area code. So why then should you go for a toll-free number? It’s true that you can get local numbers in any region you like. But that only helps customers in one area or state. If you have a broad customer base, you would need to get a unique local number for each market you operate in. On top of that, you need to make sure that marketing materials for each region reflect the right number.
A toll-free number is invaluable when you don’t know where your customers will be calling from. It’s also useful if you want to project a national presence and not just a local one to prospective clients. The choice between which number to get depends entirely on what you are trying to achieve. Quite a few businesses have and use both types, as and when they need it.
Business Phone Systems: 5 Ways Toll-Free Numbers Can Help
Toll-free numbers have many uses and offer a range of benefits for companies. If there’s a particular feature that interests you, don’t hesitate to conduct your own research. You can find plenty of articles on setting up and using toll-free numbers. Let’s take a look at the numerous ways your business can use a toll-free number.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Simply having a toll-free number can do wonders for customer satisfaction. Imagine a situation where your customer needs to contact you about some problem. Now they have to look up the right number to call on a website or in the manual. On the other hand, a toll-free number is easy to remember. Your customers don’t have to worry about long distance charges or wait until they get home to call your company.
When a customer is already frustrated because of a problem, the last thing you want to do is make the process hard for them. Customers will always appreciate a direct line to call you, no matter the issue.
Get Recognized Easily
Another wonderful benefit to having a toll-free number is the fact that they can be customized. Vanity numbers are all the rage in the business world and for good reasons. Phone numbers are easily forgotten but what if your number spelled out your business name or catchphrase? Your customers won’t forget it so easily now!
It can be hard to find a toll-free number (800 code) with your exact business name. But new prefixes are released all the time, so you can always find something suitable. This is also the perfect time to get creative. If your business name is already taken, try using a logo, slogan or even catchphrase.
Use as a Marketing Tool
A toll-free number that spells out your logo is instantly recognizable. From customers to partners, everyone will be reminded of your brand when they call you. But the recognition doesn’t end there. A toll-free number is a great marketing tool as well.
There are many examples of companies using their vanity phone numbers as part of their advertising campaign. Combine a toll-free number with a catchy song/jingle and a call to action. These ingredients add up to an unforgettable campaign! Pick a number that you can use on all your marketing materials like advertising, TV spots, billboards, and even custom stationary.
Take the Number with You
Like almost every other VoIP feature, toll-free numbers are flexible. If you move from one provider to another, you can take your toll-free number with you, just like any other number. It doesn’t matter where you or your customer is located at any time. They have a single number to remember and call. You can even have a group of toll-free numbers for each country you operate in!
Add Legitimacy to Your Business
What if you are a small company that’s struggling to compete with bigger organizations? These toll-free numbers are the perfect fit for you. They don’t cost you much but pay rich dividends in terms of professionalism and brand identity. Adding a toll-free number is the best way to compete with bigger players in the market.
Even today, customers view companies with a toll-free number differently. If you have one such number, you appear to be a bigger company than you really are. It gives your customers the impression that you have a national presence. It builds trust in your customers that you take their concerns seriously.
How Does a Toll-Free Number Work with Your Business Phone System?
Purchasing and using a toll-free number is not the same across business phone systems. It’s much easier to work with them if you use VoIP. You can integrate your toll-free number with click to call functionality. Now your customers can call you from their web browsers!
Another useful tip is to combine your toll-free number with an Interactive Voice Response System (IVR). Direct incoming calls to the right person or department without wasting valuable employee/customer time. The system can forward calls to the right voicemail, inbox or even device based on preset rules.
You can even merge your numbers with a text messaging solution. Research indicates that customers prefer text message than call when interacting with businesses. With a text-enabled toll-free service, you can make sure your customers have the information they need when they need it!
Some may argue that you achieve similar – if not exact same – results with a traditional phone system. While technically true, it hides the fact that doing so requires a lot more time, effort, and money. That’s why only the biggest companies had toll-free numbers in the first place. VoIP brings toll-free numbers (and other luxury features) to small and medium businesses everywhere.
That’s why you need to research all your options before settling on a business phone system. It’s not as simple as going for the cheapest solution because that’s what you can afford. Fortunately, VoIP systems cost much less than analog phone systems and are more feature rich as well. That means you get the best of both worlds – all the features your business needs at affordable prices.
So, there you have it. Setting up and using a toll-free number (or two) with your business phone system is quite easy. Consider adding one to your business today and see what a difference it makes!