Toll-Free Phone Numbers – What You Need to Know

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The benefit of toll-free telephone numbers for businesses is to enhance your marketing by giving customers and potential customers a free option to contact you. Many phone carriers offer toll-free numbers with a multitude of options.

So, the question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I need a toll-free phone number?”

While a toll-free number is free to your customers, it will add a cost to your service. One advantage of a toll-free phone number is the ability to personalize it to fit your marketing needs.

For callers, a till-free number costs them nothing yet allows them to contact your business from virtually anywhere in the world (or within your country). This is particularly valuable for companies that spend a lot of time on the phone with customers. If the client is going to have to be on the telephone for an extended time period, not incurring a charge is a benefit to them. An 800 number can be transferred to your existing landline or cell phone number.

Most phone providers let you personalize your toll-free number. That customized number can give your business increased exposure and turn into a valuable tool for building your customer base

Acquiring an original toll-free number that begins with 800 comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. Having been established in the 1950s, the “800” exchange is likely the most popular toll-free numbers around. Because of their popularity, they may be difficult and expensive to obtain. They may also have a history of usage that could cost you unwanted inbound calls. Because they are so popular and prolific, the numbers after the 800 may not be sufficiently unique for your customers to instantly identify them with your business. At Carolina Digital Phone we encourage our clients to look seek toll-free numbers that begin with the newer area codes 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844.

The expense to get a vanity number with something other than the 800 prefix can be much less. The cost to obtain a vanity number spelling your business name or include numbers that are common to your company can range from as low as $45 to as high as $2,500. If you haven’t tried it before, you can do a simple search to see phone numbers using your company name. Websites like phonespell.org and others will give you a quick idea for choosing numbers.

What about shared-use toll-free numbers?

Shared-use means that you pay for exclusive rights to use the vanity number solely in the location where you are doing business. Calls are routed based on the geographic location of a caller.

Let’s say an injury attorney based in Chicago licenses 1-800-CALL-LAW only for the Chicago market, or a plumber in Kentucky licenses the number 1-800-FLUSHED just for that state. By only using the number for your business area, you decrease the expense and bother of unimportant calls. You are only paying for the use of the number in your geographic region. The downside is if your business is more than just regional in one location. What happens if you decide to open a new location in another state? In short, using shared toll-free numbers can be a liability and problematic for businesses. ANd don’t get fooled by eBay or toll-free numbers sold by non-telecom related businesses. You may have seen toll free numbers listed on eBay. Often, these numbers can go for thousands of dollars and may not be what you really need. Bottom line, buyer beware!

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