Back when payphones were still a thing, toll-free numbers had a different purpose. People were able to make free calls to toll-free numbers from a payphone or their landline, and the other end would be charged for the call. With toll-free numbers, the owner of the phone number is responsible for all the inbound calling costs.
So if most people have free national calling plans today with their cell phones and free calling apps, why are toll-free numbers still so popular? So popular in fact that businesses continue to purchase them every day, and new prefixes are coming out every few years to create more inventory for the demand.
It’s because of the ongoing demand for toll-free numbers that 800 numbers have a higher price tag than 833 numbers.
As the internet and mobile devices continue to make it easier for businesses to serve customers beyond their local proximity, more and more companies are purchasing a toll-free number as a way to engage customers. Here we’ll go over some reasons why and how businesses continue to use toll-free numbers.
What is a Toll Free Number?
A toll-free number, 800 or 1-800 number is a special telephone number that allows customers to call a business without being charged. Most big corporations already have toll free numbers. More and more small businesses are also purchasing toll-free numbers, as Internet and communication technology continues to give smaller enterprises easy access to more sophisticated phone services, and business phone systems become more affordable.
Toll-free numbers make it free and easy for callers, so customers and potential customers are much more likely to call your business. Toll-free numbers are very common and have proven very successful, especially for e-commerce sites and online-based businesses that use toll-free numbers to gain or broaden their national presence.
Vanity numbers spell out a certain word or acronym to make them easy to remember, effectively raising the appeal of your brand and level customer service. It's easy to dial 1-800-NOCUFFS from memory if you don't have time look up the phone number.
It’s about being accessible to your customers and making it as easy as possible for them to buy, or continue to buy, your product.
Toll Free Phone Numbers as a Marketing Strategy
Toll-free numbers are often used as marketing tools to engage customers and make it easier for them to connect. Some businesses purchase vanity numbers that spell out special words to make their brand even more memorable. Perception is everything, and a toll-free number will give your customers a good impression. Some companies build entire brands off their toll-free number, like 1-800-DENTIST, or 1-800-PETMEDS.
Having a memorable toll free number is like owning prime real estate. The phone number is a marketing strategy.
Some companies spend hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars on campaigns focused around a single phone number – some you’ve surely seen on billboards. Netflix is such an example, who purchased a toll-free number from Telzio for their show Stranger Things. The number was advertised as the number for Hawkins Power and Light company from the show, and people who called would hear clues about the next season.
Other examples of businesses who advertise heavily around their phone number – attorneys, insurance companies, and real estate agencies. These companies want you to know their number off hand. A prime example of where that comes in handy – 1800-NOCUFFS!
Toll Free Numbers in U.S., U.K., and Australia
Toll-free numbers vary by country. In the U.S., toll-free numbers begin with the prefixes 800, 888, 877, 866 or 855. In Australia, toll-free numbers begin with 1800, and in the United Kingdom, toll-free or “freephone” numbers begin with prefixes 0800 and 0808.
Search for toll-free numbers by country at telzio.com.
Toll Free Customer Support
Nowadays, most issues can be resolved through chat or email, but when it’s urgent people still like to pick up the phone and speak to a live person for help.
Providing human, one-on-one interaction is still an important part of delivering quality customer service.
A simple toll-free number makes it easy for customers to contact support when they have questions. Displaying a toll-free number on your site tells your customer – We’re here if you need our help, and we want to make it easy for you to call us!
Flexible Call Routing for Remote Workers
With VoIP services today, you can route calls on a toll-free number to operators in any location. The Telzio mobile app and webphone enables calling from a mobile phone or through the internet browser, making it easier to bring on remote workers as needed to handle incoming calls.
Because most people have free national calling today, the concept of having a toll free number really speaks to your brand as opposed to any other real functionality. If you’re an online store that sells nationally or internationally, it makes sense to have a toll free number. If you’re a brick and mortar store like an auto dealership or a barbershop that caters to a local area, then a local number should suit you just fine. National chains generally utilize both a main toll-free number along with a local number for each franchise or branch.
Having a toll free number indicates that your business has a national presence.
Toll-Free Numbers are Portable
The good news is, once you buy a toll-free number, it’s yours. Unless of course, you cancel service with the provider.
Toll-free numbers are portable which means it’s your property and no phone provider can hold it hostage or refuse to port it to a different carrier.
The selection of toll-free numbers is finite just like domain names and retail locations. So once you get your hands on one you like, it becomes part of your business assets.
Jennifer is part of the content marketing team at Telzio, providing insight and tips on how Telzio can be used to optimize business communications and customer service.