Phone.com has reported that statistics show how much of an impact the implementation of a toll-free number can have:
– Businesses average a 200 percent increase in sales
– Telephone orders increase 30 to 40 percent
– Returns and cancellations decrease by 50 percent
“Retailers who offer their customers the ability to contact them via a toll-free number typically see a drastic increase in business and sales,” says Logan Marshall, founder of tollfreenumber.org.
“People who are shopping and want to learn about whether an out-of-stock product from a physical store may be available online or at another location, can simply call the toll-free number to find out. They can also verify the return policy or see if they can obtain financing for a larger purchase. Therefore, having a toll-free number can give a business the opportunity to increase revenue and even offer an enhanced level of customer service.”
Toll-free numbers, known commonly in the U.S. as 1-800 numbers, actually have five different toll-free codes that can be assigned: 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855. However the 800 and 888 prefixes are the most common and most sought-after.
And firms that don’t have the more memorable 800 prefix could be missing out on calls from people who mistakenly dial 800 in place of the correct prefix. Significant numbers of of callers could be errantly dialing the wrong number, so businesses using other prefixes wind up losing out on potential sales.
While increased sales and a drop in returns are definite benefits, others are less tangible. For instance, businesses with toll-free numbers are viewed as more professional and trustworthy than those with only a local phone number. They are viewed more as a big company than a small business.
These businesses also have a broader reach because customers outside of their geographic area will be less hesitant to order goods or services; they feel safer about their ability to contact the business should they have a customer service issue.
Calls to toll-free numbers can also be forwarded to the business owner’s home phone or cell phone for any after-hours calls, or even should a customer need to reach them when they are out of the office on business travel or vacation.
Numbers are dwindling
In December 2013 the FCC is expected to release the sixth toll-free code, 844, because choices for the existing prefixes are being used up by the growing demand for them. With concerns that the 7,500,000 usable phone numbers in the 844 block might be used up quickly, plans are already being made for 822 and 833 to go into service.
For a business looking to gain the most from its toll-free number, the fact that numbers in the prime codes are being used up might be a bit discouraging. However, all is not lost.
Companies who understand the benefit of a true 1-800 number can still look to services that legitimately resell numbers in this block. Known as Responsible Organizations, or RespOrgs, these companies own stores of toll-free numbers with various different prefixes that they can pass along to their customers. Businesses can then search for a memorable number with the 800 prefix they would prefer to have as their own.