There’s been a lot of digital ink spilled about the usefulness of having a toll-free number. Firms with 800 numbers appear more professional and reachable – and toll-free numbers provide new avenues for marketing, to boot. But just signing up for a new number isn’t enough: You’ll want to optimize your toll-free number to ensure the highest possible return on your investment.
800 Numbers Everywhere
Most freelancers and small businesses know the value of having an 800 number on their business cards. It’s also important to have a toll-free number on your web page. A recent Pew Research poll found that even though using the web for research is commonplace, only 56% of those between the ages of 64 and 72 make actual purchases online. Surprisingly, the figure is even lower for teens, ringing in at only 38%. If you don’t give these people a way to talk to a real, live human being, they may simply choose to not do business with you even if they like what you have to offer. This is why it’s important to have an 800 number listed conspicuously your website.
Toll-free numbers are also great if you travel overseas a lot or move frequently. No matter where you are, your family and friends need only remember one number where they can reach you and won’t have to worry about overseas calling charges.
Toll Free at Home
Toll-free numbers aren’t just for work anymore. The best thing about them may be how they allow you to control costs. Relatives, especially the elderly and college students, can call your house without burdening themselves with massive phone bills or messing with collect calls. And if you travel often on business, you can call home without having to ring up charges on a company phone or your hotel bill.
Answer Your Phone
Once customers make a call, their patience can be measured in seconds, not minutes – they’ll only stick around for 40 seconds, on average, the North American Telecommunications Association says. You can extend that to 70 seconds with music, but every second counts. Almost one in five readers of the Sydney Morning Herald reported “they would rather be stung by a jellyfish” than spend time waiting on hold. Since Australia has some of the world’s most dangerous jellyfish, that’s really saying something.
Capture data on every call. Who did the customer talk to? Did the customer get what he/she called for? Understanding what happens when people talk to your company helps you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. It also allows you to get back in touch with customers, either for research purposes or to find out if further sales are possible. This is especially vital if you have add-ons or related options that your customers might find valuable.
Originally published Apr 13, 2009, updated Aug 12, 2020