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As you improve the customer journey with chatbots, AI, and other innovations, too many customers are skeptical of new technologies, relying on good old phone calls. It’s not bad, though – it just means you can’t ignore your toll-free phone line and must understand all the ins and out of your 1-800 numbers (you have ones, right?), including:
- What is a toll-free 1-800 number?
- How to get a 1-800 number for your business?
- How to set up your inbound call system to convert more callers?
Read on to learn to grow your business with toll-free 1-800 numbers.
The History of the 1-800 Numbers
If you have been in business long enough, you could have witnessed the rise of the 1-800 phone numbers. These numbers were extensively popularized in the 20th century after large companies realized the power of toll-free calls.
Since then, the 1-800 numbers haven’t become outdated — on the contrary, they are extensively used by call-reliant businesses willing to grow their customer base, establish themselves as respected international companies, and improve their marketing across the board.
Over time, more toll-free numbers were added – 1-833, 1-844, 1-855, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877, and 1-888 – to decrease the cost of running a toll-free line and increase the number of companies that could get an 800 number.
What is a Toll-Free 1-800 Number?
Like its name suggests, a toll-free 1-800 number is a triple-digit prefix phone number that enables toll-free calls. The fees incurred by a 1-800 number – 1-800, 1-833, 1-844, 1-855, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877, etc. — are charged to the owner of the number.
Why Do You Need a Toll-Free Number?
Among many other benefits of toll-free numbers, let’s just mention one: toll-free numbers, whether 1-800, 800, 877, or any other, will convince those in doubt to call you.
- A toll-free 1800 business number makes calls free for every customer.
No matter how well you market your products, there will always be customers in doubt: they can’t find the product they are looking for, messed up with delivery, or simply want your advice. In other words, they need a clarifying toll-free call (note: even the most loyal customers are unwilling to pay for phone calls). Should you not have a toll-free line, those in doubt will bounce. Should you have it, they will convert it.
How Does a Toll-Free Number Work?
Since the emergence of toll-free numbers in January 1966, nothing has changed. Toll-free numbers still allow free calls for customers that do not have unlimited minutes, regardless of whether these customers are national or international.
Likewise, toll-free numbers support SMS and all other call features: interactive voice response (IVR), call recording, call routing, call forwarding, call queuing, and more integrable software, including call tracking and analytics.
Here’s how a toll-free business 800 number works:
- A caller dials your toll-free phone number.
- Depending on the configuration of your call center, the caller is handled by an interactive voice response (IVR), intelligent virtual assistant (IVA), or connected to a sales rep.
- Whoever takes the call converts the caller.
Using toll-free 1800 numbers for business isn’t rocket science, but you must understand what numbers you need, how many of them you need, and where to buy them.
How to Get a Toll-Free 1-800 Number?
Understanding the legal framework behind the 1-800 numbers is essential.
There are two bodies governing phone numbers:
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supervises the release of toll-free numbers but doesn’t assign them.
- Responsible Organizations (RespOrgs) assign unused and expired 1-800 phone numbers from the database on a first-come, first-served basis.
It’s illegal to sell toll-free numbers or purchase 800 numbers that you will not use. However, you can transfer your 800 business phone numbers when changing your service provider.
Step 1. Consult with Your Current Service Provider
The first thing to do if you need a toll-free number is to contact your current service provider, as they might have a decent proposition for you, making it the path of least resistance. Otherwise, you can look for other toll-free number providers.
Step 2. Research the 1-800 Numbers Providers
With quite a few phone number providers on the market, make sure to research the following:
- The prefix you want to get: 1-800, 800, or else. The 1-800 prefixes are the most popular and expensive, so you might want to consider other prefixes. Besides, you may not even need 1-800 numbers if you cater to a local audience.
- The offer itself: price per user, price per number, how many numbers are provided, what happens if the number is not used, etc.
- Telephony features: what is offered besides the toll-free numbers.
Popular Telephony Features
|Call Forwarding||Directs inbound calls to a selected business phone number, improving call management in companies with a single phone line and a dedicated call center|
|Call Routing||Queues inbound calls before directing them to a specific sales rep|
|Call Monitoring||Make it possible to listen to calls in real-time, enable on-the-fly improvements|
|Call Recording||Records inbound calls, enabling call analysis|
|Call Tracking||Collects the caller’s data, improving call distribution and analysis|
|Call Analytics||Analyzes call data to reveal patterns in callers, improving call management across the board|
|Interactive Voice Response (IVR)||Qualifies callers to direct them to a relevant sales rep and solves some requests independently|
|Voicemail||Record the caller’s message, making it possible to process the caller’s request|
There are more telephony features than in the table. Schedule a consultation with Phonexa to learn what features you need.
Step 3. Set Up Your Account and Put Your Toll-Free Numbers to Work
Once you’ve selected your provider, it’s time to choose the plan that fits your needs and choose your phone numbers.
Voila, now you can assign these numbers to your phone line and use them to grow your business.
Types of Phone Numbers
Toll-free phone numbers are not the only numbers you may need, not to mention you may not need them at all. The table below will help you understand what numbers you need for specific marketing campaigns.
Types of Call Tracking Numbers
|Local Numbers||International Numbers|
|Used for local marketing campaigns: 86% of consumers prefer local businesses to national and international||Toll-Free Numbers (1-800)||Toll-Free Vanity Numbers (844-PHONEXA)|
|Used for national and international campaigns||Used in national and international campaigns to stick in the minds and hearts of customers|
Static vs. Dynamic Toll-Free Numbers
Numbers can be static and dynamic:
- Static numbers encompass the numbers used in traditional marketing (print media, TV, billboards, direct mail, etc.) and the numbers hard-coded on the webpage (the numbers that don’t change depending on where the user came from).
- Dynamic numbers vary depending on the traffic course. Users who came from Google would see the A number; referrals would see the B number, and so on.
Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) makes it possible to identify the traffic source and collect additional information on the caller. This is needed to qualify the caller, connect them to a relevant sales agent, and conduct an in-depth call analysis. Likewise, DNI systems can recycle unused dynamic numbers to reactivate them for new campaigns.
How Many Static and Dynamic Numbers Do You Need?
One static number for one traffic source will allow you to discern call prospects from different traffic sources. With dynamic numbers, the rule of thumb is that you need around 0.33% of the total website visits or 33 active numbers for 10,000 visits.
Take It to the Next Level with Toll-Free Vanity Numbers
Vanity numbers are one step ahead of other numbers, bringing millions of dollars to crafty marketers.
- A vanity phone number is customized to spell out the brand’s name or idea.
Phone numbers like 1-800-Flowers, 800-Junk-USA, and 1-800-Go-Fedex have made their owners millionaires, if not billionaires!
Vanity numbers are:
- Memorable: The easier your numbers to remember, the more calls you will get. Words are more memorable than abstract and intangible numbers, so it’s no wonder tailor-made numbers like 844-PHONEXA enjoy wild success. Vanity numbers get 900% more recalls than their numeric analogs.
- Easy to brand: A vanity phone number can help you set up your brand’s mood, whether official, friendly, or fun. Numbers like 800-Dog-Poop are super-cool in the eyes of loving pet owners.
- Legitimate: Vanity numbers will make your businesses look legit – credible, well-established, and profound – and tip the scales in your favor when competing with brands using numeric numbers.
Buy Phonexa’s Toll-Free Vanity Numbers to Beat the Competition
We’ve gone the extra mile to provide you with exclusive vanity numbers, which we have plenty of, and an industry-leading ecosystem of click and call tracking, distribution, analytics, and predictive modeling.
Our in-house marketing products are united into three unparalleled software suites – Lite, Premium, and Enterprise – each including our best products – Call Logic, LMS Sync, E-Delivery, Opt-Intel, Lynx, and Cloud PBX – to resonate with small and large-scale businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)?
There are two types of business phone systems: landline and VoIP.
- Landline phone systems use physical wires to transmit analog signals.
- VoIP systems use the Internet to transmit data.
VoIP systems – known as loud phones, virtual phone systems, virtual telephony, or IP telephony – enable cheap international calls and high-quality sound while requiring increased bandwidth.
Are the 1-800 and the 800 the Same Numbers?
In the 1-800 numbers, “1” is the United States country code. For 800 numbers, the country code is absent, so the caller operator’s country code will be chosen. In other words, calling 800 from the United States is the same as calling 1-800 from the United States as long as your operator is based in the United States.
However, calling an 800 number from Europe would connect you to a different company than calling the same number from the United States.
Is There a Difference Between 1-800, 1-855, 1-833, and other Toll-Free Phone Numbers?
There is no difference between all seven formats of toll-free numbers – 1-800, 1-833, 1-844, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877, and 1-888 – but these numbers are not interchangeable. If you dial 1-800, you will reach someone different than if you dialed 1-833.
What Is the Best Toll-Free Number?
The most popular (easy to remember) number wins. Therefore, the best (and most expensive) prefixes are 800 – recognized by 94% of callers – and 888. Other toll-free numbers from the 800 families are good, so you might consider using them.
How Much Is a Toll-Free Number?
A standalone toll-free number may cost around $20 per month per user. VoIP providers charge up to $50 per month per user. Also, many providers set a per-minute charge for incoming calls at $0.05 to $0.5 per minute.
How Many Toll-Free Numbers Do I Need?
You may want different toll-free numbers for various departments, locations, marketing campaigns, and products. The general idea is that you must differentiate your traffic sources.
What Calls Can I Receive on My U.S. Toll-Free Numbers?
You can receive any calls on your U.S. toll-free numbers, but only the calls from the United States and Canada will be toll-free for your callers.
How Can I Put My Toll-Free Numbers on a Website?
You can use any popular website builder (i.e., WordPress) or a blogging platform to add a toll-free number.
Can I Change My Toll-Free Numbers?
You can move your toll-free number to another provider or business phone system. To move your toll-free number to another provider, you must complete a RespOrg form.
Can I Sell My Toll-Free Numbers?
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), selling your toll-free numbers is illegal.
Can I Get a Free 800 Number?
You cannot get a 1-800 number for free, as these numbers are in high demand. For the same reason, you cannot get an 800 number for free.
Can I Brand My Toll-Free Numbers?
A vanity number can become the focal point of your marketing. Look at 1-800-Flowers: using the word “flowers” within a phone word has made them billions of dollars.
How Do I Choose the Best Toll-Free Service Provider?
Consider the functionality, quality, price, and support provided by the service provider and your individual needs (do you need a toll-free number or a full-fledged call management ecosystem?).