Does my business need a toll free number?

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toll free telephone
Your company phone doesn't need to be red but you do need a toll free line.
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A toll free number could be the secret to your company's success.

Established business owners, as well as new business owners, should put acquisition of a toll free number at the top of their list. The benefits of having a toll free number are numerous. If your customers have the option to call a free number they are more likely to do so, which can increase your sales, your credibility and the likelihood of repeat business in the future. All business owners should consider the question, does my business need a toll free number?


At one time, toll free numbers were considered a novelty; however, since this technology was introduced more than 40 years ago, the toll free number has become a valued and integral part of doing business successfully. Toll free numbers, or "800 numbers," are special phone numbers where the called party - your business - is charged the cost of the call instead of the person who places the call. A phone carrier determines the charges for the "toll free" phone calls and bills the business according to a contract.


Many of our business transactions are conducted online nowadays and, as a result, we rarely hear an actual human voice. When we do try to make telephone contact with a company, often the best we can hope for is a recording and our ability to punch in the right number at the right time per the recorded instructions in our quest to reach a real live person. A toll free number lets your customers know that there is a person on the other end of the line who is accessible and available to talk at no cost to them.




Toll free numbers can be set up so that the call can come in on your cell or home phone. The caller will never know the difference. He may think that you are sitting in your swanky office on Madison Avenue when, in fact, you are in your kitchen, sipping coffee. A toll free number allows customers to reach you, which is vitally important for those customers who routinely need trouble shooting assistance or who have a myriad of questions about a product before whipping out the credit card.


When a customer has a problem or a question, if he can contact you directly and easily -- and at no cost -- he is more likely to do business with you in the future. Repeat business is what you are aiming for. Deciding does my business need a toll free number is one of many business solutions that will garner you satisfied, returning customers.


If you are selling a product, it is crucial that you have a toll free number so that you are available to answer questions about orders before and after they are made. Statistics show that consumers will buy from the first company they call. They are more likely to call your company if it is not going to cost them anything. There is nothing more maddening for the customer than being put on hold interminably, especially if the customer is paying for the call. 


Customers will generally buy more when they can actually talk to someone on the phone. A toll free number allows consumers to verify who you are and that you are legitimate.


If your company moves to another state, your toll free number moves with you, which is not the case if you have a standard phone number.


In 1993, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted companies ownership of their toll free numbers, which resulted in an upsurge in toll free numbers. In fact, toll free numbers were in such demand that the 800 prefix ran out in 1996 and the FCC had to introduce a new prefix (888.) The 888 prefix was gobbled up by businesses in just two years and is nearly depleted. The FCC has implemented a plan that caps the number of toll free numbers that carriers can apportion on a weekly basis. It is very likely that new strings of toll free prefixes will continue to be introduced.


Acquiring a toll free service for your company will enhance your image as well as make it more assessable to customers, employees, clients and business associates. A toll free service will also lower your business costs because you will no longer be paying for long distance calls.



FCC: What is a toll-free number?

The Internet 800 Directory

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