Toll-free phone numbers are a valuable marketing and customer service tool for many businesses. They make companies more accessible to customers regardless of location as it lets callers reach a business without incurring any long distance charges. A toll-free number also enhances a brand’s image by making the company appear more established and credible.
But as various communication channels (such as social media and instant messaging) increase in popularity and make it much faster for customers to reach out to a brand, many business owners wonder: do I need a toll-free number?
Business Uses for Toll-Free Numbers
While Internet technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone solutions as well as cell phones have driven down the cost of making a long-distance call, the need for toll-free numbers is still apparent. The appeal of toll-free numbers today, however, has less to do with the cost of the call to the consumer as it was in the early days. Today, they have become a critical solution for branding, marketing, and customer interaction.
Some of the most common uses for toll-free phone numbers today include:
- Capture call volume metrics - Toll-free numbers are used by businesses nowadays to capture call volume metrics and a wealth of analytics data to measure and improve the performance of specific campaigns. They can be embedded into online or offline ads to help a business gain a better insight into call volumes, patterns, and trends. Once a customer responds to a toll-free number published on a specific campaign, a business can easily track which ads are successful, and then determine what steps to take to improve their campaign.
- Speed up the purchasing decision - Toll-free numbers are also helpful during the buying process, especially for product-based businesses. This is because customers tend to pick up the phone when they are close to making the purchasing decision and need a bit of clarification from the business to seal the deal.
- Appear established and professional - Toll-free numbers used to be the domain of large businesses with big telecom resources. This was due to the exorbitant rates charged for their purchase by AT&T, who held a monopoly on all toll-free numbers until 1984. But today, toll-free numbers are more affordable, making them more readily available for startups and small businesses. Yet the perception of consumers remains the same: businesses with toll-free numbers appear larger, more credible, and more established.
- Get instant brand recognition - Businesses can also use toll-free numbers for branding. For instance, “vanity” numbers such as 1-800-FLOWERS and 1-800-GOT-JUNK, have become highly successful because they are short, clever, and easy to remember. It’s important to pick a number combination that reflects a brand or business to make sure it sticks with the target market.
Going Beyond Basic Calling
The role and importance of toll-free numbers for businesses have evolved beyond offering a basic free calling service for consumers. They are now a critical tool for companies who’d like to improve their sales campaigns, appear more professional, and enhance their branding. And one cloud communications provider is adding more reasons for businesses to get their own toll-free numbers.
Voxox, a trusted innovator in cloud communication solutions for businesses, recently announced that they have added two-way SMS support for toll-free phone numbers available through Cloud Phone, their cloud-based virtual phone system for entrepreneurs and micro-businesses. The company also stated that their free business SMS offer for customers with toll-free numbers has been extended. The number of free text messages users can avail depends on the user’s current calling plan.
Bryan Hertz, CEO and co-founder of Voxox, has this to say about their newest offering:
"With our latest release, we are making it possible for small businesses using toll-free numbers to harness the power of two-way SMS for their business communications, and to do so instantly without being nickel and dimed for every message. Toll-free numbers convey a ubiquitous image for a business, whereas local numbers signal a geographic connection; we wanted to make business texting accessible to all our Cloud Phone customers, regardless of their phone number preferences, so that they can reap the tremendous value that two-way SMS has to offer small businesses."
Voxox’s two-way SMS support for toll-free phone numbers (available through Cloud Phone) stands out from the other offerings in the market because popular virtual PBX services typically charge users for SMS capabilities for toll-free and local business numbers alike. Voxox, meanwhile, offers complimentary access to business texting. Businesses can take advantage of two-way SMS in a number of ways. This includes providing VIP customer support and responding to time-sensitive communications.
Ed Mallory, VP of Product Management at Voxox, believes businesses can enhance communication through the use of SMS messaging. "SMS enables the real-time communication between businesses and their customers, using the medium of the customers' choice," Mallory said. "Adding SMS support for toll-free numbers in addition to supporting local numbers, provides businesses another common medium to communicate with their potential and current customers."
Aside from SMS support for Cloud Phone, Voxox also launched a variety of updates to Cloud Phone’s admin interface to improve the overall user experience.
Toll-Free Numbers Are Still a Business Necessity
Many have declared that the classic, toll-free number is becoming obsolete as new business communication tools arise. But as mentioned above, toll-free numbers have never been more important for business communications. With their many uses and possibilities, toll-free numbers are a cost-effective tool for businesses who want to expand their reach, sound more professional, and improve customer satisfaction.
Voxox is a leader and innovator in unified cloud communication solutions. Based in San Diego, California, Voxox seeks to simplify communications with their innovative VoIP and cloud communications solutions. Their comprehensive suite of carrier-grade business phone products includes Cloud Phone (their flagship business app), SIP trunking, hosted PBX, and a wide range of wholesale solutions. To learn more about Voxox’ business communication solutions, please visit their website.