We are sure you have a lot of questions before investing in a toll-free number. Do not waste time combing through pages with jargon, limited resources or outdated information. We have compiled a nifty list that answers all common queries:
1) What is a toll free number?
It is a phone number where the service provider bills the owner of the number for all received calls.In simple words, the person making the incoming call is not charged for call time.
These were first seen in the Western Hemisphere in the 1950s, as a solution for long distance calls which were otherwise a financial burden on consumers. Toll-free numbers are also called ‘800 numbers’ because the first prefix used for them was ‘800’.
In India, the 1800 toll free number is most common. Today, they are assigned according to geographic area codes around the globe.
2) Are there different kinds of toll free numbers?
Yes, there are three basic types.
The Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN) is for companies with multinational presence who want to maintain a single number for all the areas they service. Your business needs to be registered in at least two countries for you to license a UIFN—and mind you, they are the most expensive type. Corporations with a hefty global presence usually subscribe to UIFNs.
International toll-free numbers are country specific digits that a consumer can dial without being charged. They help maintain individual national presence but can bear extra charges if the caller is making their request from a mobile phone.
However, the most common choice for businesses is a domestic toll free number solution, as they do not incur additional charges for calls from mobile users. The prefix of your number will, naturally, depend on which configuration you choose in your package.
Recommended read: Complete guide to different types of toll-free numbers
3) How are they billed?
Depending on your subscription plan, toll-free numbers can be billed on either the number of minutes spent on call per month or per year. Fixed monthly charges in India are not exorbitant, and are mostly within a few thousand rupees.
However, there can be additional charges for processing your subscription request, to submit a security deposit, and for each received call.
4) Does setup and maintenance take long?
Not if you buy a toll-free solution from a cloud telephony provider. Physical phone lines and switchboard operators are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Choosing a cloud based number helps avoid old school infrastructure setup, maintenance, and training costs, which saves office space and avoids any potential downtime.
5) Are toll free numbers redundant today?
Quite the opposite!
They can be found in every company wanting a well rounded customer experience. Businesses enjoy the additional features that come with buying a cloud based toll-free solution, such as call recording, call forwarding and call routing, which boost productivity and performance.
Companies also choose to buy cloud telephony bundles, which combine toll free numbers with multi-tier IVR systems to handle giant call volumes.
6) What is a vanity number, and is it charged differently?
Much like vanity plates on cars, vanity numbers are a type of alphanumeric toll free number where you can customise what characters feature in the final display.
They are useful in creating customised phone numbers according to your company image, and help boost brand recall. These numbers are usually priced at a higher rate than your usual toll free number since they offer more leeway to tune things to your liking, but at the same time, they offer businesses a greater return on investment.
7) What kind of industries invest in toll free numbers?
The range is vast and well warranted. The most obvious choice is general emergency helplines for government agencies, natural disaster mitigation departments, or charity work. Toll-free numbers are also widely used in sectors that secure bookings, such as medicine (consultations, ambulance, paramedic calls) or travel (hotel bookings, ticket confirmations and cancellations).
Today, it is indispensable in e-commerce for enquiries and grievances, as well as for small and medium enterprises to build a robust brand reputation.
Research institutes can use toll free numbers for studies inviting self reportage or calling for registration. And of course, on the most primal level, toll free numbers are good for impulse based ventures like telemarketing, where the customer should face no barrier in wanting to buy a product.
8) How many toll free numbers can a single business buy?
The TRAI does not impose limits on the number of subscriptions a single business may purchase. You can pick out different numbers for different campaigns, and retire each when they have run their course.
Naturally, it is not advised to hoard an incessant amount that can confuse customers or trouble other business owners during their selection.
Toll-free numbers are a familiar resource that customers tap into when they want to sample a company without any commitment (read: spending) in return. If combined with timely call reports, analytics and an efficient real time dashboard, toll-free solutions can quickly capture genuine callers and grow a steady and loyal client list for your business.