Toll-Free numbers are a staple of any business looking to reach beyond the constricting borders of their own local area code. In the days of land lines and long-distance service they were absolutely essential to businesses that relied on customer contact – the value of allowing customers to call without incurring any long distance charges far outweighed the costs.
Now, in the days of wireless phones, e-mail, and social media, fewer customers need to dial that toll-free number to reach your business at no cost. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that the toll-free number has lost its value – the convenience and ease of remembering a well-crafted toll-free number have supplanted potential customer cost savings as a primary reason businesses still rely on the toll-free number.
Getting a Toll-Free Number
At one time getting a toll-free number meant calling up your telephone provider and ordering a new phone line dedicated to your new number. Today there are many providers to choose from online, and they no longer require a dedicated phone line to use – they can forward to your existing land line. You can even set up a toll-free number that dials to your cell phone if you wish.
Costs vary among providers, but the common model of pricing is very similar to mobile phone pricing – a set number of toll-free minutes for a set price per month, with somewhere between 5 and 25 cents per minute in excess of the monthly limit.
While many customers no longer actually need a toll-free number to call your business with no charge, do not discount the attractiveness of providing one to potential customers – it is still a free service! Toll-free numbers are convenient, easy to remember (especially in cases of “vanity” numbers), and present a “big company” feel to your customers. Toll-free numbers move with you – to new facilities and land lines – very easily, ensuring your customers reach you even if you change or add or move phone lines.
The cost to a small business with low toll-free usage is very low, and is expandable – a business only pays more as its usage grows, keeping costs from being prohibitive to start-ups and smaller businesses. Nearly everyone can afford toll-free numbers now unlike in the past.
Technology has changed the way businesses operate, especially in how they maintain contact with their customers. The toll-free number, while now one of many contact options, is still a valuable addition to any business looking to expand its customer base.
Lyndsi Decker is a freelance wrote and is currently promoting Bell long distance plans. When not blogging about business she is training for marathons.