What is the meaning of Toll Free and how can I get a Toll-Free number?

What is the meaning of Toll Free and how can I get a Toll-Free number?

Toll-free numbers are business phone numbers that can be dialled from a device free of charge. However, the recipient pays the bill for a toll-free number. They are important as a great marketing tool and in creating a legitimate and established image of the business. At the same time, the customers’ burden of making a long-distance call for support to a business is reduced using the free toll-free numbers. Toll-free numbers vary according to the area. The numbers usually start with area codes such as 800, 887, and 888. Toll free numbers are also available for SMS text messaging services.

There are different toll-free numbers provided, such as green toll-free numbers and blue TFNs. On one hand, the green toll-free number is completely free of charge for customers. However, Blue TFN charges an additional small fee from the callers as well. Also, callers with no unlimited calling plans are also charged a small fee while making a call through the TFN.

The difference between a toll-free number and a local number

While deciding to get a toll-free number through one’s business journey, one might get confused between the leverages of toll-free numbers and local numbers. Here are a few differences between a toll-free number and local numbers to help you to make a wise decision.

  • Cost: Local numbers are more cost-effective as compared to toll-free numbers. When we say cost-effective, we mean that they are cost-effective for the callers.
  • Reach: Toll-free numbers are used to connect globally, and customers use them to make long-distance calls to business organizations. However, local numbers help in strengthening the local presence of a business.
  • Customer Satisfaction: A Toll-Free Number relieves the customer of the cost of reaching out to a business. While, a local number requires both the caller and the recipient to pay, hence resulting in customer dissatisfaction.
  • Trust: Common people usually don’t trust incoming calls from toll-free numbers. TFNs are usually blocked by people, whereas callers positively respond to calls from local numbers.
  • Brand reputation: Businesses having toll-free numbers are quickly identified by people, whereas local numbers are associated with small businesses. Hence, TFNs have a certain leverage over local numbers in such cases.

The Benefits of Toll-Free Numbers

  • Customer Engagement: A toll-free number can be reached at any time and from any location. The free services and flexible     support including promotional text message campaigns increase the quality of customer engagement.

  • Portability: The toll-free numbers are portable. One can change the plans and the providers accordingly.

  • Cost-effective: The free services of TFNs generate customer inquiries. The enquiry changes to lead generation, and eventually boosts sales of the organization.
  • Text Services: Customers can also send text messages to the toll-free numbers. Hence,     they provide SMS  text messaging service as well. Along with it, additional benefits such as automated call recording and customized greetings can be enjoyed.

  • Brand Visibility: The toll-free numbers are used to connect customers to the business, either for the enquiry of services or customer support. The TFNs are part of the billboards of the business. Due to them being easy to recall, the toll-free numbers are responsible for the branding and establishment of a legitimate brand image.

Even with the rapidly decreasing tariff charges and free calling plans such as the ones offered by Jio, large businesses prefer toll-free numbers over local numbers. With Internet offers of free customer calling platforms, companies tend to stick to the traditional toll-free numbers. This is due to various benefits. Most importantly, having a distinct and unique number sets a business apart and increases the brand's legitimacy and reputation. Secondly, having a set toll-free number is important for maximum customer engagement. Having customers connect to the business increases the chances of potential lead generation, helps with the transactions, and improves the quality of customer support. It is crucial to note that a toll-free number is more than just a free calling service or promotional sms service. It is responsible for the identity of a business.

What are Vanity Numbers? Do they differ from toll-free numbers?

Vanity numbers are more or less an embellishment of toll-free numbers. Although they differ in appearance, they serve the same function as toll-free numbers. There are also a variety of business phone numbers made up of a series of numbers and fancy words or phrases. These words are related to the services offered by the business organization. For example, ‘1-800-FLOWERS’ is a very famous example of a vanity number of a flower delivery series. These vanity numbers are easy to remember and use. Even though similar in use, vanity numbers are more beneficial than toll-free numbers.

How to Get a Toll-Free Number

Every small business, start-up, and large corporation requires a distinct toll-free number to increase their brand visibility and engagement. There is a structured process to obtaining a toll-free number.

  • Firstly, it is the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) that approves the recipients of a toll-free number. The organization sets the rules for the use of these numbers.

  • The actual distribution of the toll-free numbers happens on a first-come, first-serve basis through the service providers, also known as Responsible Organizations (RespOrgs). They are the ones responsible for reserving, managing, and distributing the toll-free numbers.

There is a database of all the toll-free numbers provided by Responsible Organizations. Businesses can choose on their own. Also, the TFNs are portable, meaning a business can change their RespOrgs at any time. Choosing the right RespOrgs is crucial, and the decision can be made through the analysis of the packs and charges. Some of the RespOrgs charge according to each call, whereas some of them provide monthly or annual packs. However, it is crucial for a subscriber to contact the FCC to initiate the process. RespOrgs can only reserve numbers for legitimate subscribers. There are a lot of loopholes in this process that can be taken advantage of. Sometimes, RespOrgs hoard the numbers illegally to make a profit out of them.

To acquire atoll-free number or SMS Notification Service for Business, every business must abide by all the rules and regulations set by the FCC and follow all the procedures diligently.