Toll-free numbers – why your business needs one, and how to find a good rate.

Depending on the size and industry of your business, a toll-free number is a solution that might be on your radar. In this article, we take a look at the reasons why a toll-free number could be a good choice for your business, and how you can find and implement a solution that is cost effective.  

Why choose toll-free? 

The main benefit of a toll-free number is that it can be called by customers across the country without them incurring a charge. They are often used for customer service purposes, like help and information lines, so customers can freely access a business. 

Toll-free numbers work by using specific toll-free codes, made up of the initial three-digit prefix. These include, 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877 and 888. 

On top of the ease of access that toll-free numbers bring your customers, benefits of using one include: 

  • They make your business look professional and credible. Since these numbers are recognizable, customers are more likely to trust them.  
  • They allow you to build your brand with a memorable number, that can even include vanity numbers to reinforce your brand. Think 1-800-NEW-CARS.  
  • A toll-free number can unify your image if you have multiple locations, remote workers, or call centers across multiple regions.  
  • They can broaden your exposure, by conveying a bigger presence beyond your local area code – this is especially helpful if you’re looking to expand your business’ reach.  

For a lot of businesses, depending on call volume and needs, this decision is a no-brainer.  

When wouldn’t you use a toll-free number? 

Say you’re a single-location veterinary practice or hair salon – you don’t serve customers outside your direct region. In this case, you’re likely not receiving a lot of calls from long distance numbers, and the cost of the toll-free number wouldn’t be worth the services included. You can probably make do with a more traditional set up and a local number.  

With cloud telephony, toll-free is easier than ever.  

Toll-free numbers have been in circulation since 1966. Today, with the rise of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, and cloud solutions in general, toll-free lines for your business are easier and more affordable than ever.  

From being able to use any device, anywhere, to adding more numbers, and scaling the size of your solutions, VoIP toll-free numbers allow for seamlessly implemented solutions that can be customized to your business’ needs.  

Find the right solution for your business.  

Many providers offer toll-free numbers. For a VoIP option, you can expect to pay roughly ten to fifteen dollars a month per toll-free number.  

Be sure to shop around. Different providers will have different options for you, that might be more worth the cost depending on your needs. For example, some providers “require a minimum monthly payment and have a specific number of minutes while many others need no monthly payment but charge per minute.”  

Or perhaps you’re looking for a specific feature that some packages offer. Some that virtually all providers will offer include: 

  • Caller ID 
  • Voice mail 
  • Call forwarding 
  • Auto-attendant 

Some features will be more provider-specific, such as: 

  • International incoming calls, and their subsequent rates 
  • Outbound calling 
  • Video conferencing 
  • Smartphone app compatibility 
  • Call analytics 
  • Built-in hold music 
  • Call recording or transcription 
  • Call blocking 
  • SMS compatibility 

The best thing you can do is be aware of your needs and make the choice that is most cost-efficient for your business.  

Likewise, there is no limit to how many toll-free numbers a single business can use. If your business needs multiple, search for packages that can accommodate that need.  

In conclusion… 

Depending on your business, a toll-free number might be a necessary solution for customer service. Although this solution has been around for nearly six decades, the advent of VoIP and other cloud technologies has made it easier and more affordable to find the best solutions for your business’ individual needs.