We have all called an 800 number at some point to reach a business, to find out more information about a product or service or to follow up regarding an online sale that we recently completed. Toll free numbers originated in the 1970's to satisfy an internal need that AT&T had, but over the past 30 years, they have grown into a mainstream way to perform business functions, offering numerous benefits to both small and large businesses.
A toll free number can start with 800, 866, 888 or 877 prefixes, and there is a reserve list of prefixes to use if needed by the phone companies, should their current list of available toll free numbers become completely utilized. An 800 toll free number is a business phone service that charges the party being called instead of the caller. When the caller dials a toll free number, the call is routed through a switchboard and then to the designated business, charging the business based upon the caller's location.
There are a number of reasons that small and large businesses use 800 numbers as a toll free service. Here is how to get an 800 number for your business, company or for yourself.
- Customer service. Businesses can provide a universal access line for consumers and customers to call without a charge.
- Assistance. Provide a toll free technical support line for callers to receive assistance on a company's products or services.
- Marketing. Customizing the toll free number to represent their business name or marketing slogan, also called a vanity number. It has also been shown that having a toll free number can improve the response rates for direct marketing efforts to consumers.
- Portability. Businesses can take 800 numbers with them if they move locations within the same city, nationally or internationally.
- Image. An 800 phone number can make your small business appear larger than it is. It can take down the geographical barriers of your physical location, making it easier to tap into other markets domestically and internationally.
- Growth. 800 phone numbers offer businesses the ability to expand their marketing costs as their business grows; the more callers you have as you expand, the higher the costs will be. This option makes a toll free number both attractive and affordable for small businesses to leverage.
In order to find a toll free number and add an 800 number for your business, you simply need to locate a service provider. You can start your search with your current telephone provider as well as by doing an online general search. 800 number service providers vary based upon their services, often offering selections that will grow with your business needs. The costs will vary between service toll free providers, with plans between $0.05-0.25 per minute. Some toll free number companies will offer an additional monthly rate in addition to these charges for their added benefits and services. While there is a charge for an 800 number, most businesses include this charge as a part of their overall marketing budget.
The great thing about a toll free number is that it can integrate into your current telephone plan, so that you don't have the added expense of installing additional phone lines for your business. Depending on the toll free number service provider, you will have the option to forward your 800 number calls to your business line or to your cell phone, making it easy to manage incoming callers. Also, you can have as many callers to the toll free number as your current telephone system will manage at one time.
Toll free numbers for companies are definitely an important business move. No matter whether your business is small or large, an 800 number is an excellent strategy to build customer relationships, to act as a global business and to increase sales.
Tracey Parker recommends you read reviews of service providers at BestTollFree800Numbers.com.