Does Toll-Free Still Matter?
Now that nationwide calling plans are the norm, what does it even mean to place a “toll-free” call anymore? Shouldn’t toll-free numbers be considered a relic from a bygone era? Why, then, are businesses demanding toll-free numbers at record rates?
The fact of the matter is that toll-free numbers remain relevant and useful tools for businesses. They are unique tools to advance the branding, marketing, and customer service of companies of all sizes.
8 Reasons Why Toll-Free Still Matters
- Enhances Your Leadership Position. Having a toll-free number projects the feeling of being bigger, more legit, and more official. It sends a unique and exclusive-feeling message, compared to a local number.
- Relevant to Larger Audiences. While local numbers are important, especially for business owners who are focused on a regional community, having a number that isn’t pinned to a specific locale broadens your appeal. Toll-free area codes (800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833) come with the perception of being nationwide.
- Stronger Invitation to Call. Back in the day, when a business was willing to pay for your potentially-expensive toll-call, it was a sign of “putting their money where their mouth is.” The feeling carries over today because the calls are still technically toll-free: the minutes are charged to the business, not the caller. It sends a strong signal that a business wants to hear from its prospects and customers.
- Better Vanity Numbers. If you’re looking for a phone number that spells something unique to your brand, there is a better chance of finding it in a toll-free vanity number. Not every local area code releases all combination of numbers, meaning some longer phrases just simply don’t exist in certain areas.
- Better Storytelling. When picking a vanity toll-free number, you have a lot of options of how you want to position your brand. You can be descriptive about what you do, highlight who you do it for, blatantly spell out the call to action, or even spell your company name. With a toll-free number you aren’t limited to exactly 7 characters because calls will still connect even if there are a few extra digits. (Although don’t go overboard or people won’t recognize it as a phone number!)
- Greater Flexibility. Toll-free numbers must ring to a local phone number, but you can update and change that number whenever you want. You can even program it to route to different numbers on a schedule, sending calls to different lines depending on the time of day. This functionality is automatically included with a toll-free number.
- Inbound Call Insights. Toll-free numbers also enable robust call tracking, because the owners of the number are charged for the minutes used. Among other metrics, you can see what number called, at what time, and how long the call lasted. This gives actionable insight to help with decisions around staffing and customer service.
- Memorability. Instead of the hundreds of local area codes that exist in the United States, there are only seven toll-free area codes. It makes it easier for your audiences to remember your number. When 888 was first released, there was concern that people would dial the wrong number, forgetting not to dial a pure 800. But now it’s commonplace to see the others like 866, and people are comfortable with the varied toll-free exchanges. It’s still less brain power to remember than one of the many local area codes.
So, the answer to the question “Do Toll-Free Numbers Still Matter?” is a resounding YES.
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