Purchasing a toll free number is an essential step for international businesses and startups alike. A toll free number gives your customers a way to contact you free of charge, which is important for all businesses. But for small businesses on the rise, a toll free number can also lend the appearance of an established company.
Choosing a Toll Free Provider for Your Business
Think of your toll free provider as a business partner. While its main purpose is to help you obtain a good toll free number, a toll free provider can also offer you the advanced calling features and support that your business needs to grow and expand.
If you’re in the market for a toll free provider for the first time, you might not know what to look for in your new business partner. To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together this reference guide. We’ll cover several of the key factors you should consider as you search for the right toll free provider, including number availability, pricing, calling features, and customer support.
Toll Free Number Availability
With the recent surge in popularity of business toll free numbers, availability is becoming a commodity – especially when it comes to “good” numbers. The right toll free provider will be able to offer you a wide range of numbers from which to choose, increasing your chances of finding the right number for your business.
So, what’s a “good” toll free number? Generally speaking, these numbers fall into one or more of these categories:
- A vanity number that represents your business’s key product or service
- A toll free number with a pattern or repetitive numbers
- A toll free number with multiple zeros
A toll free number that has these characteristics is easier for customers to remember; plus, a vanity number, such as 1 800 – FLOWERS, is a good branding strategy.
As your business grows and expands, you’ll also want to consider whether or not your toll free provider offers a wide variety of international numbers. For example, let’s say that your business develops a large customer base in Costa Rica. You’ll need a Costa Rica toll free number in order for those customers to be able to reach you.
If you consider these potential needs when you are first shopping for a toll free number, you’re more likely to choose a provider who can support your calling requirements now and in the future.
Before you start shopping for a toll free number, you’ll need to know what your budget is. Plans for toll free numbers vary widely; some toll free providers offer a very low monthly rate, but offer fewer built-in features and functionality. Others charge more for the monthly rate, but offer cheaper, bundled calling plans so that you can predictably budget your communications costs.
We’ve provided a few examples from some of the top toll free providers below. (These rates are for US 800 toll free numbers; depending on the country, rates can vary.)
GlobalCallForwarding.com Pricing Example
TollFreeForwarding.com Pricing Example
RingCentral Pricing Example
Features and Functionality
A toll free number alone isn’t enough to help you grow your business. You’ll also need advanced calling features, such as time of day routing and call forwarding, to handle incoming calls to that number.
Most toll free providers offer a suite of features along with the purchase of one or more numbers. These features typically include:
With call forwarding, you’ll never have to worry about missing an important call. You can choose to have calls forwarded to multiple devices sequentially to ensure that your customers can reach you at all times.
Time of Day Routing
This feature allows you to choose when and where your calls are forwarded; for example, if your office closes at 5 PM, you can choose to have all calls routed to your mobile phone after hours.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
IVR allows you to save time and money by directing customers to the right department or employee. You can usually customize your IVR options through an online portal.
This feature allows you to go back and listen to all inbound and outbound calls. This is extremely important for reviewing your employees and ensuring that customer service needs are being met.
Voicemail to Email
This is a great feature, especially for business owners on the go. You can choose to have voicemail sent as an attachment to one or multiple members of your team.
Fax to Email
With fax to email, incoming faxes are sent as email attachments, allowing you to access them anywhere.
As you search for the right toll free provider, it’s helpful to make a list of the features that you’ll need. If they fall outside these standard features, you may need to ask about pricing for added functionality.
In a perfect world, you’d never have any problems with your toll free number. But in the event that you need to contact customer support, you want to be sure that you’re able to talk to a knowledgeable representative and that your problem can be resolved quickly.
That’s why we’re including customer support as one of the key factors to consider when you’re looking for the right toll free provider for your business. To get a better idea of what kind of customer service you can expect from a provider, we recommend checking out online reviews. There are many toll free provider comparison websites to choose from, and they can give you some insight into what it’s like to work with many of the top companies.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider as you search for the right toll free provider. But, it pays to do your research and make sure that you make the best choice for your business.
If you’re looking for additional resources to help you choose a toll free provider, explore the articles below: