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Toll-free phone #s - why bother?

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  • Toll-free phone #s - why bother?

    Hi all, long time since I've been here. I have a general business question which I believe falls under marketing in a loose way.

    Let's face it, we, as business owners, do not offer toll-free calling to customers because we like paying the money but rather because it is more or less a marketing technique. It makes you look like you care so much about your clients and prospects that you are willing to pay for the their incoming calls to you.

    I don't know what it's like to do international business, so my question is mainly for localized business in the USA.

    In this day and age of unlimited landline plans, VOIP and cell phones, is it really necessary for a business to have a tool free # anymore?

    I mean, most people don't pay for long distance phone calls these days so you, as a business, are wasting money paying for these inbound toll-free calls and 800 service/number when your client most likely wasn't going to pay for it anyway.

    The only reason I can think of to have a toll-free # is if you are a national mail order company that advertises nationally. Makes sense to have an easy to remember vanity # like 800-BUY-PENS.

    So what say you? For something like business to business services, is it really necessary, helpful to your customers or even wise to pay for a toll-free #?

  • #2
    For me, local is more important. Having a geographic number helps my customers trust in me because I'm local and can understand what they are saying (Accents and being understood can mean getting a sale or not!) There are many solutions out there, but one of the most promising is Voice over IP(VoIP). Using this technology you can make use of advanced call handling features such as music on hold, queuing systems and ring back.

    As I also offer technical support and computer repairs, I have toyed with the idea of getting a premium rate number. These cost the caller more money to call, but you get a percentage of the call. But so far most people prefer to call the local number and just pay a standard rate instead of via the telephone bill.


    • #3
      You kinda lost me. You must be from somewhere outside the USA. What is a premium rate # and why would a business get one if it costs their customers more to call them anyway?

      Also, I agree that for local business having a local # makes you look local so therefore more familiar.

      And beyond that, I don't see why a person half way around the country would care if I have a toll free # or not assuming he is not paying when he calls me anyhow. I would bet this is the case with most customers in the USA.

      But I'm all ears. I am hoping someone comes along and gives me a really good reason why I should take on the expense of a toll free #. I just wondering if there is something I'm not thinking about.
      Last edited by ; 27-12-2015, 10:59 PM.


      • #4
        Yeah, I'm from outside the USA. You dont have premium rate numbers in the USA?? Here's some info on wikipedia -

        They tend to be used for Help/Support Lines and generally are redirections to an actual physical land line. There are now websites dedicated to finding out the direct dial numbers in order for people to save money while calling certain companies. ( is one for the UK)

        Do you have the ability to pick your number in the USA? I see some adverts online giving numbers like 800-WEB-HOSTING which I though was very clever and would help people remember it!


        • #5
          I guess what confuses me is why people get charged extra for dialing a premium #. If I was a business, I would not want my customers to pay more to call me. Seems like a really strange way for a telco company to make money.

          Those 1-800-LLL-LLLL phone #'s aren't premium #'s, they are vanity #'s and they don;t cost the customer anything to call since they are toll-free #'s. They cost the business owner more money to acquire, though.
          Last edited by ; 28-12-2015, 03:06 PM.


          • #6
            Oh, oh, oh. I see now what you're talking about. We call them 900 numbers here in the USA. A much different concept than a toll free # like 800, 888, 877, 866 or 855.

            Those 900 #s used to charge a customer for services rendered via telephone. Here in the USA, they seem to be mainly used for dubious "entertainment services" like phone s3x, fortune telling, etc. and cost the user $2.99 or more per minute.
            Last edited by ; 28-12-2015, 03:12 PM.