How Do Toll Free Numbers Work?

No matter what your line of business is, competing for customers is harder than ever before. Consumers simply have so many choices, and quick internet searches often take the place of browsing or comparison shopping. Anything within reason that you can do to remove barriers to purchasing is a worthwhile investment. If a customer has to pay a long-distance fee to call with an inquiry or order, they may think twice and take their business elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important for your company to have a toll free number for business.

What is a Toll Free number?

A toll free number is a number that begins with a specified three-digit prefix that takes the place of the number’s long-distance area code. 800, 888, and 877 are among the most familiar.

What Does It Cover?

The purpose of a toll free number for business is for the company to incur long-distance charges instead of the caller. It should be noted that this concept is only applicable to landlines, as opposed to cell phones. While that may seem a little antiquated, it’s worth noting that many households carry landlines because people are often issued work cell phones which are not to be used for personal calls. In many cases, landlines are also bundled with internet and satellite or cable packages by MVPDs or ISPs. Since the meter is running, so to speak, the second the call begins, it is in the business’ best interest to provide efficient customer service, keeping calls simple, short, and to the point.

How Can I Set One Up?

A toll free number for business is typically set up through the company’s long-distance or business-phone provider. The company signs a contract that outlines monthly or yearly terms that include a small service fee and the agreement to pay all long-distance minutes from inbound calls. For an additional (usually one-time) fee, a business can get a vanity number of their choosing. Otherwise, the number is generated and assigned from the pool of available toll free numbers.

It’s worth noting that it is illegal for a company to engage in “number hoarding” where they simply buy up numbers that ae not assigned to actual lines. This usually comes into play with vanity numbers, so businesses don’t try to buy numbers that another company might want.

A toll free number is money well-spent towards customer relations, and efficient customer service. It can be set up easily and may even be a useful marketing tool!

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