Every business, regardless of size, needs a contact number for their clients and customers to reach them with.
However, the type of phone number you use can impact your incoming calls and the level of customer service you can provide. Looking into smartnumbers, particularly toll-free phone numbers, can reduce the number of clients leaving a voicemail and ensure all those dialling in enjoy a high-quality call.
We’ve got all the information you need about how toll-free numbers work, how they can benefit your business, and what features you can integrate with them. Whether you’re a small business just starting out, or an international brand, toll-free calls are something you should know about and could be just what your customers are looking for.
What is a Toll-Free Number?
Toll-free services provide your customers with free calls when contacting your business, regardless of where your dialer is calling from. A toll-free number begins with the toll-free prefix for your region—either 1300 or 1800 in Australia—followed by six to ten digits.
There are also options available for international toll-free numbers, which allow clients globally to make use of a free call with your business.
Even small businesses can acquire a toll-free number, reducing the call cost for all inbound numbers, making your phone system easier to manage and relocate without having to change all your business numbers.
The pricing of a toll-free phone number varies depending on the quantity of incoming calls your business receives, as well as your chosen service provider.
Differences Between Toll-Free Numbers, Vanity Numbers, and Local Numbers
Various smartnumbers can reduce the costs of customer calls and make your business number more memorable. Depending on whether you’re looking for an international toll-free solution, a phone number service to connect your customers with your relevant call centre departments, or a catchy contact number for your marketing campaign, different smartnumbers may be more suitable.
As previously established, a toll-free number uses the toll-free prefix to eliminate the cost of your business’s incoming calls (for your callers).
This prefix is limited to a country or region, meaning although a toll-free number works with international calls, callers outside the prefix area may still have costs. Alternative phone systems or the use of VoIP can help to resolve this issue and provide free calls between your business and its long-distance or international callers.
A vanity number uses the same toll-free prefix. However, it generally uses words as part of the contact number or a memorable pattern of digits. For example, an Australian seafood business may use a vanity number along the lines of 1800-FISHY-FOODS.
This makes the inbound number for your business easier to remember for your clients, often making them think of your business as better established.
Local numbers are not free, and begin with their local area code. Businesses may make use of these where they have multiple offices internationally, for example, an Australian business also with a call centre in New Zealand.
This means clients can reach your business from a wider range of locations, whilst only incurring the cost of a local call to the local number.
Uses of a Toll-Free Number
Where a regular landline or mobile phone number does allow you to make and receive calls, this can get expensive quickly when making international calls, or similarly can be confusing when porting or changing your number to work in a new local area.
However, a toll-free number is ideal for these particular uses.
Although not often used for personal telecommunications, a toll-free phone number may suit personal circumstances and help manage landline or cell phone calls.
This may be ideal for individuals receiving many inbound international calls whilst minimising the long-distance call cost. Likewise, for those constantly on the move, toll-free phone services guarantee the same phone number everywhere, and callers can get through without unknown international charges.
More traditionally, toll-free phone numbers are used within business phone systems. They often suit the professional needs of companies, from their marketability to their provision of international toll-free calls.
Many industries make use of these numbers, as they engage and communicate with customers in a vast assortment of ways.
Organisations With Large Customer Bases
A toll-free phone number is ideal for providing customer service and support, helping even within large customer bases, to provide each client with a personalised and positive customer experience.
It allows clients to instantly connect through your business number, regardless of where they are, and removes the call cost as a barrier preventing customers from getting in contact.
Retail Service Companies
66% of customers use a business number to resolve their issues with a company. Providing customer services on the phone is essential for retail or ecommerce businesses to retain customer loyalty and drive future sales.
By using a toll-free number, you can provide your clients with an uninterrupted telecommunications experience, making use of call routing to direct them to the available members of your team best suited to resolve their problems.
Whether you’re taking bookings for an event, room, or meal, a toll-free service can manage it without a fuss.
Integrating features such as IVR and automatic call routing within your phone system means customers can independently manage their bookings, only requiring employee assistance in specific cases. This means your front of house and receptionists can use their time more efficiently, whilst your phone system takes care of the simple things.
Businesses With 24/7 Availability
Being open to incoming calls at all hours makes your business more accessible to a wider range of clients’ lifestyles. Having a toll-free number can distribute inbound calls to available operators without a hitch, meaning customers making midnight purchases or wanting to call outside the typical business hours can still get the help and support they need instantly.
When providing advice and services for healthcare patients and clients, the call cost is not something that should get in the way.
Again, by integrating your toll-free number into a phone system that can provide call routing, all inbound calls can be directed to an operator who can deliver specialist insight into whatever situation the patient is facing.
After-Sales Support Businesses
Using a toll-free number encourages clients to resolve their issues or problems after a sale, rather than instantly reverting to making a complaint.
By having a toll-free service, customers are less concerned about the time used to engage with an IVR system or time spent routing their call to an operator who can resolve their concern with the relevant expertise, improving their experience.
5 Benefits of Using a Toll-Free Number
It may surprise you how something as simple as having a toll-free prefix on your business number can improve your business.
Using a telephone number is how 71% of people would choose to contact customer service, so making this as easy a process as possible by using a toll-free service and gaining the following benefits is worth your while.
1. Better Customer Service
Great customer service can lead to benefits for your business as well as your clients. Part of this is being able to quickly route their call to an operator, as 74% of customers want more human interaction in their customer service.
Toll-free numbers can distribute your incoming calls quickly, with minimal call forwarding, making the client feel valued and heard.
2. Phone Portability
A toll-free service isn’t limited to an area code in the same way that landlines or local numbers would be, meaning should your business relocate or move your call centre, there would be no changes to your pricing.
Likewise, if you decide on porting your number to a different service provider, the same business number will continue to provide free calls for your customers.
3. Better Branding Image
Making use of a toll-free phone number, a vanity number, or other smartnumbers can present your phone system as cohesive and professional. Customers don’t want to be dialling a personal cell phone number to leave a voicemail, as this doesn’t inspire confidence.
Likewise, by making outbound calls with your toll-free number caller ID, clients are more likely to pick up the phone, as they trust the company persona.
4. Adds up as a Marketing Instrument
Smartnumbers are easy to market with, through promoting your business phone number across your social media, ecommerce website, or subscriber emails.
Using call-to-actions or a “click-to-call” button can improve conversion rates, using your toll-free number for customerengagement and supporting customers with their purchases.
5. Reduced Costs
Not only does a toll-free phone number remove customer call costs, but it can reduce your business phone costs, too.
There’s the choice of contract payment plans, or making use of cloud options such as VoIP, which use internet networks instead of traditional phone networks used by mobile phones or landlines. Depending on how you plan to use your toll-free number, there are a variety of pricing options available.
How to Get a Toll-Free Number For Your Business
Now we’ve seen some of the benefits a toll-free phone number can have for your business, it’s time to look into how to set your business number up.
Fortunately, there are various providers with different pricing options to ensure you get a toll-free service that reflects the needs of your business and its customers.
Choose a Toll-Free Number Provider
Depending on the features and functions you want with your toll-free number, there’s a range of service providers to choose from.
With RingCentral, toll-free numbers are also integrated with high-quality business phone software. This includes features and functions like VoIP calls, call forwarding using an IVR, and call recording, suitable for small businesses or international companies.
Choose the Phone Number
For clients to make use of your free calls, they need a telephone number to be dialling. RingCentral gives you the freedom to select your toll-free phone number or look into porting an existing business number.
This number can be used for inbound calls from customers as well as the other way round, with outbound calls from your business representatives.
Set it Up on Your Devices
Whether you prefer using a cell phone, landline, or a business phone, set up your toll-free number to ring through whichever device suits you. Likewise, by setting it up on your call centre phones, incoming calls can be distributed efficiently to available operators.
The more devices you set up with your toll-free number, the smaller the chance of missing important calls from clients, as the phone system is more accessible, regardless of location, for employees.
Useful Features to Check For From a Toll-Free Number Provider
At its basic level, a toll-free number only provides your customers with free calls to that number from wherever they are. However, by choosing a provider like RingCentral, you can integrate this with many other phone system and contact centre features.
To make the most of your telecommunications, look out for the following useful features.
Having call recording integrated into your outbound and inbound calls means your operators don’t have to stress about keeping track of all the call details.
By being able to go back through the recording, operators can focus on providing solutions for clients and providing that personal contact. Similarly, these recordings can be used later on for training or picking up feedback for your call centre teams.
Monitoring your incoming calls can help you focus on various ways to improve service. From monitoring the caller ID of clients, routing calls based on their location, and forwarding them onto operators in the local area, to providing different support services inside and outside of business hours, you can always stay customer-centric.
The use of analytics, such as average call length, locations, or busiest times for incoming calls can help inform your business with KPIs.
These can be used to adjust your marketing strategies, appealing to your existing customer base, and those like them. Real-time analytics can also help anticipate high demand on your phone lines, meaning you can effectively distribute your resources to maximise your call centre productivity.
Toll-free phone numbers allow your clients to make free calls to your business, offering a variety of benefits depending on your phone system and the features included in it.
These can be used both as a personal number as well as for business calls, making communication easier with international callers and helping you run efficient customer support contact centes.
Having a toll-free number helps to organise your call forwarding and routing by connecting inbound calls with any available device you have set up, whether a landline, call centre, or mobilephone.
This means regardless of where you or your client are, your telecommunications will still work effectively to provide the best possible customer service, whilst presenting your business as professional with easily accessible and comprehensible contact details.
It might not seem like the priority as a small business, or likewise on the other end of the scale. However, something as simple as having a toll-free number can completely transform the experience from a customer perspective.
With RingCentral, it’s easy to set up a business phone system complete with toll-free numbers, with a range of pricing options to get you started today. Remove the limitations on your business phone line and invest in toll-free services.
Originally published 25 Nov, 2021, updated 16 Dec, 2021