1800 numbers are hugely popular among companies because they offer customers a free way to call with their questions, request service and more. In some cases, companies use toll free numbers as an important marketing device. Vanity toll free numbers are special toll free numbers that spell out a company’s name or the name of a product or service. These numbers are also popularly used for marketing purposes.
Rise of Toll Free Numbers
It was in 1967 that AT&T came out with the first toll free numbers with the intention to give its overworked operators some respite. In the U.S. these numbers are known as 1 800 numbers while in the rest of the world they are known as “Free phone Numbers”. As more companies realized the advantage of toll free numbers, their popularity rose and there was a time when 800 numbers went out of supply. This was the time when another toll free prefix “888” was released. But the demand for this number continued to rise and so other toll free prefixes including 877, 866 were also released. “855” was the latest addition on this list of toll free prefixes.
The Unique Edge
Although it was assumed that cell phones would finally destroy the importance of toll free numbers that has not been the case. Some were of the opinion that cell phones would completely ruin the toll free number system. The cost of long distance calls has come down remarkably because of the fierce competition among the different cell phone service providers. There was a notion that this would make 800 numbers irrelevant. But this is did not happen. In fact, 1800 numbers have their own business value that has made them a pre-requisite for all businesses.
Gives a Marketing Edge
Someone does not need a degree to understand that people would prefer to call a number which is free. People might need to inquire about your product/service and they may not feel comfortable paying just for an inquiry. Moreover, it is a courtesy not to charge your prospects and customers. Your customers feel relaxed to call you and inquire about your products. They also feel convinced about the service they can expect from you. This is a true advantage over your competitors. 1800 numbers make a business look big, professional and smart. These numbers help to attract more customers which in turn boost sales.
Proposes Better Business Value
Once you know the needs of customers, it is easier to address them. This can actually help you to engage a caller more effectively. No advertising works better than word of mouth and a reference from a satisfied customer can do miracles. Both these can work together to get better sales for your business. 1800 numbers help you to provide better customer service and add value to your service/product. This way the business value of an 800 number far exceeds the merits of a cell phone.
Using Vanity Numbers
For marketing and advertising reasons, it is always better to use vanity numbers. Vanity numbers are unforgettable and make your business and contact information memorable simultaneously. A vanity number is an alphanumeric number that contains a combination of words and numbers. The letters of this number spell out the business name/ product name/service name it’s associated with.
1 800 numbers are probably the greatest investment for many small sized businesses. This is the most popular toll free prefix used by businesses worldwide. This number allows customers to call a business for free. This is a great tool for enhancing the credibility of a business. If you are also planning to use one such number for your business, following are a few of its significant advantages:
Keeps Your Customers Close
Using 1 800 numbers is a smart decision for businesses to stay connected with customers and prospects. Though it looks like a simple telephone number, it allows customers from across the U.S and Canada to connect for free. It practically makes your product and service available anytime and anywhere. The customers do not have to pay even when they are calling from somewhere far. This not only strengthens your relationship with customers but also helps in building a reputation nationwide. This number is certain to captivate more customers.
Improved Customer Service
1 800 numbers also enhance the efficiency of a business that results in better customer service. Toll free numbers – when used with a virtual phone system – allow the creation of multiple extensions. You can dedicate each extension to each department like sales, accounting, etc. Calls can easily be re-directed to the right person or department without being forwarded through a series of wrong recipients. It also helps in improving the productivity of your employees because now they can also easily reach out to their colleagues. Moreover, this number shows that you are available to your customers 24×7.
More than a Communicative Device
Other than a communicative device, 1 800 numbers can also successfully be used as a marketing tool. These numbers are especially effective in making your promotional campaigns a success. Research has shown that a toll free number is able to generate more responses than a normal telephone number. The success of a vanity toll free number is even greater than a general toll free number.
As a Marketing Tool
A vanity number is a special number that contains a combination of numbers and letters. It usually closely represents the business it is associated with. For example, 1 800 POPCORN, if you are selling popcorn. The letters in this case are related to the digits of keypad of a telephone. So it tells the customers what you do and how to reach you. This is the basic information a customer needs to contact you. A vanity number is as successful as a marketing tool as it is like a communication tool. Research has proven that a vanity number can generate maximum customer responses.
Benefits of Using it with a Virtual Phone
Using a toll free number with a virtual phone system can have multiple benefits. First, it ensures that all the callers are greeted professionally and are quickly connected to the right person or department. It also allows the use of such advanced features like voicemail, virtual fax, etc. You can also make use of advanced call forwarding features to stay in contact with your customers all the time.
iTeleCenter recently launched its new Resource Section to keep customers informed about some of its important business aspects. The new iTeleCenter Resource Page links to a collection of videos, FAQs, client testimonials and articles that are meant to make customers aware of some of the important working principles of iTeleCenter.
Each of the internal Resource pages is continuously updated for the convenience of its customers. Customers and visitors can access the latest videos, FAQs, testimonials and articles simply by clicking on the respective tabs in the iTeleCenter Resource page.
The videos explain some of the important features and functionalities of iTeleCenter like call forwarding and sending online faxes. The video tab has quite a few videos that show how to use some of the significant features of iTeleCenter for the benefit of a business. The FAQs section lists some insightful Frequently Asked Questions about iTeleCenter. It is a compilation of questions and answers to address some common customer concerns.
Customers and customer feedback both are important for the success of a business. The Testimonial tab gives access to customer feedback and opinions about iTeleCenter. The article section, on the other hand, contains a number of articles that talk about the different features of iTeleCenter and the use of 1 800 numbers. The Resource page is meant to enrich the visitor experience by placing important information in one easy to find location. Visitors can learn about the various features of iTeleCenter and how they have been successfully implemented by a variety of successful business owners.
iTeleCenter was founded in 1992 by entrepreneur Paul Champaneria who wanted to build a company that catered to the needs of virtual companies, direct salespeople, affiliate marketers, real estate professionals, and all forms of home-based or small businesses. iTeleCenter is a virtual phone system that provides individuals with the ability to utilize toll free phone numbers, local numbers, or vanity numbers, with call forwarding and voicemail that make professional life a little easier. With the best in customer care and service, along with the latest and most innovative features, it’s a must have for professionals who want to compete on a regional or national level, whether it’s a one-man operation or a million-dollar corporation.
While everybody is familiar with the 800 toll free prefix, not everybody knows that there are actually several other toll free prefixes as well like, 888, 877, 866 and 855. Though technically all these numbers look the same, there are some significant difference when these numbers are used for advertising or promotional purposes. All the numbers work in the same way, but 1800 numbers are significantly more successful for marketing and advertising purposes.
Generating Better Response
1800 numbers, also known as toll free numbers, are important for building the communication system of an organization. But the benefits of using this number are not limited to this. It has greater implications. More than an inexpensive communicative device, toll free numbers are used to make marketing and advertising campaigns a success. Just by using this number, you can significantly increase the responses of a marketing or advertising campaign.
Lures More Customers
Many research projects and surveys have proved more than once that 1 800 numbers can generate at least 30 per cent more response than a simple numeric phone number. When people know that the number they are dialing is free, they will obviously feel relaxed to call and inquire about products and services. The more number of calls you receive, the higher the chances are of converting them to actual sales. So, toll free numbers help you to attract more calls and often more sales.
Making Phone Numbers Memorable
It is not just enough to attract customers to call you. People must be able to remember your phone number to call you. Vanity 1800 numbers play an important role in making your phone number memorable to people. Vanity numbers are alphanumeric numbers that contains words or phrases related to the product or service or business name, like 1 800 ICECREAM, if you are selling ice cream. This makes both the phone number and the business memorable to all.
Boosts Business Reputation
1800 numbers can boost a business reputation almost instantly. There was a time when using a toll free number was considered a novelty. As soon as you include a toll free number in your business contact list, you automatically enter the elite group of companies that offer toll free service for their customers and it is an acknowledged fact that people prefer to have business relationship with companies whom they think are big, sophisticated and hence dependable.
Successful in Advertising Campaigns
Research has proved that campaigns that use vanity numbers are more successful than campaigns that do not. This is because vanity numbers are easy to remember and relate to. 1 800 numbers significantly increase the size of your audience because people remember your number and often call you on that to inquire about products/services. When you use this number for an advertising campaign, people remember the number and call you even after the campaign has ended. They are quite sure of not paying for the call and feel comfortable inquiring about products/services.
It’s quite an acknowledged fact that 1800 numbers can influence businesses in some incredible ways. In this article today, let’s do a quick recap of some of the important reasons to use this number for businesses:
When you use a toll free number for business contact, it proves almost instantly that you mean business. It shows that you are serious about business and are ready to take up responsibilities and complaints from customers. It makes businesses appear credible and professional almost within minutes.
1800 numbers can be used with any telephone connection – cell phone, home phone or the desk phone of the office. Moreover, these numbers can also be ported from one service provider to another. After the FCC passed a regulation, it is possible to change service providers without changing toll free numbers
Are you thinking of ways to enhance customer satisfaction? Simply include 1800 numbers in your business contact list. Customers understand that you care for them and that their calls are important for your business. This is one important message that you would like customers to know. They feel assured about customer service because they know how to reach you.
More Calls – More Sales
A toll free number also encourages people across the country to call you and inquire about your products/services. This is because people are pretty sure that they do not have to pay anything for calling you. They feel comfortable in calling you and inquiring about products/services because the rising telephone bill could no longer bother them. These are your chances to convert an interested caller to a customer. Use your 1 800 number to bring in more sales.
1800 numbers are also an important tool for marketing products. Research has proved that when you use a toll free number in marketing and promotional campaigns, it can generate 30% more responses. This is because people are sure of not paying the telephone bill, even when they are calling from far. It is also advised to use toll free numbers on the corporate website and on all marketing materials like brochures, flyers, business cards, billboards, social networking sites and on every form and mode of public interaction.
Makes Phone Numbers Memorable
When it comes to remembering a 10 digit phone number, all number are the same – a generic phone number or a toll free number. How can you make phone numbers memorable to people? The easiest answer is to associate it with your business. So people remember both – the business and the way to reach it, for example 1 800 ICECREAM, if you sell ice cream. These numbers are known as vanity numbers and are highly successful in advertising and promotional campaigns.
Multiple Plans for Every Entrepreneur
1800 numbers are quite affordable and even a small business or a start-up business can use it to get maximum benefits. Usually the service providers of 800 numbers offer multiple plans to meet the needs of every entrepreneur. Again, most of these plans include free minutes.
Creating Separate Extensions
1800 numbers with virtual phone systems allow you to create extensions. So you can create separate extensions for employees and departments. It also portrays an image of a big business with multiple departments and extensions, even if all the calls are routed to the same person.
If you wish to increase your customer response rate and project a strong professional image, then you must acquire a 1 800 number. Investing in a toll free phone service will encourage customers to call you, make inquiries and collect information that will help them in making a business decision. Below are some of the benefits of using a 1 800 number:
A toll free number can help you to increase your business traffic and also your profit. After all, it’s free and it is the easiest way for customers to connect with you. They can call and inquire about products/services as many times as they want. Moreover, they feel most comfortable in calling you because they are not bothered about the phone bill. Now, this is surely going to have a positive effect on your sales figure.
Helps Building a Brand
Building a brand is very important. In order to earn people’s trust they must be able to recognize you first. This is where the real challenge lies. How do you convince people of your product/service? How do you prove you are legitimate and mean only serious business? The answer is, simply by using 1 800 number. It gives businesses credibility almost instantly and shows it to be professional and legitimate.
Makes Phone Numbers Memorable
You have to make the phone number memorable in order to expect calls from customers. Customers first should remember the number and then only they can make a call. How do you make a phone number memorable? A normal phone number or a toll free number both have similar appearance. They are nothing more than a string of 10 random digits that people find difficult to remember. Why not associate it with the business it serves?
That way it will be easier to remember the phone number and also the business, for example, 1 800 ICECREAM, if you are selling ice-cream. These alphanumeric numbers are known as vanity numbers. These numbers are used as a special technique for marketing and advertising products or services. They make phone numbers easily memorable.
It is important that you keep customers happy for you get references only from happy customers. It is an acknowledged truth that word of mouth is the most effective and trusted way for marketing a business and promoting a product. 1 800 numbers help to provide better customer service that keeps customers happy. You can expect customers to share their happy experience with friends and families and hope to get more new businesses through referrals.
Reach Out to People Easily
When you use a 1 800 number as your business phone number, customers from across the U.S and Canada can reach you for free. Toll free numbers are special phone numbers where the caller does not pay for the call – rather it’s the recipient who pays for the call. When the customers know that they are not going to spend a cent for the call, they feel more relaxed to call and inquire about your products and service. This also convinces them of getting a good customer service even after they have bought your product because they know the easiest route to reach you.
When you are starting a new business and are searching the web or reading books to gather tips in order to make it successful, one of the common suggestions that you will come across everywhere is to use 1800 numbers. Every business needs a contact number for its customers and using a number specific for business instead of a generic number can definitely prove to be more beneficial for businesses. But what is so compelling about 1800 numbers that businesses of every size are opting for it? Below I have compiled some of the most commonly perceived benefits of using this number. Comparing these benefits with your business goals can help to decide whether you need one or not.
Traditionally, toll free numbers have been associated with big and large corporations. So when you include one such number in your business contact information as well, it instantly makes your business look big and professional. This also enhances your credibility because people understand you as big and they believe only big corporations are reliable.
The most obvious implication of using 1800 numbers is that your callers do not pay for calling you, even when they are calling from far away. This attracts new customers to call you and inquire about products/services because they do not have to bother about the rising telephone bill. There also have been quite a few research reports that show a toll free number can increase sales by at least 30%.
If you have an online store or want to encourage customers to order over the phone, your need for 1800 numbers is greater. When customers order over the phone they might take a little longer inquiring about prices, options, etc. If you want your customers to relax and feel comfortable while they are giving you business, you should use a toll free number. Moreover, customers will also feel more confident to give you their business over the phone the next time.
Though 1800 numbers might need a minimum initial investment, they are sure to give a good return. It will compel customers to actually dial your business number and inquire about your product/service. These calls are opportunities to make more business. You need to apply all your sales techniques to convert an inquisitive caller to a dedicated customer.
1 800 numbers allow the creation of extensions that makes your small business look big. You can re-direct all the calls to you and yet it will give customers an impression that they are calling a big enterprise that has separate extensions for every department. This call redirect feature is call forwarding and can be of great benefit to your business.
The next step is to analyze whether these numbers are in line with your business goals. These numbers are quite inexpensive and will not charge you a hefty amount every month but the point is: does your business need this number? Try to match each of the above stated advantages with your business objective. Does the business need to look big and credible? Do you need to get more calls from customers in order to have more business? Does your business need to use advanced features of a modern phone system? The nature of the business actually decides if 1800 numbers are relevant or not.
There was a time when a 1 800 number was reserved only for big companies. It was very rare for a small or mid-sized company to use this number for their business needs. But things have undergone a huge change in the recent years. There are many small companies that opt for toll free numbers in order to maintain a professional look, track calls and allow customers to call them without caring about long distance charges. This article will discuss the various advantages of using 1 800 number and also how to find the best toll free service for you.
New Toll Free Prefixes are Also Popular
Though a toll free number is still popularly known as 1 800 number, there has appeared a set of new toll free prefixes like 888, 877, 866 and 855. Technically all these prefixes work in the same way and they have the same advantage. But in cases of marketing, advertising or promotion, “800” is often found to be more effective because it is the most popular toll free prefix. Other prefixes are also gaining popularity as toll free because it’s been quite some time that they are in use.
Business Benefit of Using This Number
The most important business benefit of using this number is that the caller does not have to pay for the call. Even if your callers are calling from far away, they do not need to pay anything for the call. Your customers and partners actually feel comfortable to call you and discuss your products/services or any new offer or new scheme because they are not worried about the mounting telephone bill. 1 800 number can also help you save money. When you are out of town because of any business or for some other reason, you can simply call your colleagues for free. If you are using a 1 800 number with a virtual phone you can also benefit from voicemail and auto attendant that will help you save time, enhance your productivity and efficiency.
Makes You Credible
Since initially toll free 1800 numbers were associated only with big companies, there is an idea that this number is not suitable for small businesses. But in reality, it is just the opposite. 1 800 number is more relevant for a small business than a big one. This is because it makes a small business look big, professional and credible. This is necessary to attract new customers because people want to do business only with companies that are big, because they feel only such companies to be credible and professional.
Choose a Number That is Memorable
1 800 number can also be used in the advertising and promotional efforts of your company. When you use a toll free number instead of a normal phone number, you receive more calls from your customers. But it is even better to use vanity numbers. Numeric phone numbers, whether toll free or not, is nothing more than a string of ten digits. A vanity number, on the other hand is always closely associated with your business and it contains either the name of your business or your service or product. So when your customers come across your vanity number, it is quite possible that they will remember it and this is exactly your mission.
In 1967, AT&T rolled out the first 1800 numbers. In the U.S, these numbers are known as toll free numbers whereas the rest of the world may refer to them as “Freephone numbers”. Since the introduction of the toll free numbers, their demand has been constantly soaring. In 1996, 1800 numbers were exhausted and so new toll free prefixes were introduced. First, the 888 prefix was introduced and then gradually 877, 866 were introduced. 855 were introduced most recently – in 2010.
Assigning Toll Free Numbers
All 1800 numbers are stored in a centralized database, which is known as the Service Management System (SMS/800). In order to reserve a toll free number, you need to contact a Responsible Organization. Toll free numbers are usually assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Responsible Organizations or RespOrgs may or may not be telephone companies. They can either be telephone companies, other companies or individuals. They must have the certification and privilege to access SMS/800 database. RespOrgs check the availability of a number and reserve it for its customers. There are many RespOrg across the U.S. and you can find one by visiting http://www.sms800.com or by calling their Help Desk at 1 888 SMS 3300.
Role of the FCC in Assigning Toll Free Numbers
The FCC governs the rules regarding 1800 numbers for your business. It is neither involved in the day-to-day assignment of toll free numbers nor does it have access to the centralized database. It acts as a governing body that regulates the rules for these numbers.
The FCC prohibits warehousing or hoarding of toll free numbers, which means that a service provider cannot own a large block of toll free numbers without assigning them to actual subscribers. Hoarding of these numbers even by RespOrgs are subject to a penalty. Hoarding also constitutes “number brokering”. So it is also illegal for a subscriber to sell his toll free number for a fee. If you have any problem with your service provider, you can issue a complaint with the FCC.
Portability of Toll Free Numbers
Until 1991, RespOrgs were the only providers of 1 800 numbers, until FCC ordered for the full portability of toll free numbers in that same year. Portability of these numbers ensured that users could change their service provider without changing their number. The portability of 1800 numbers opened up the market. Now once you buy a toll free number, it does not expire. RespOrgs also started their own businesses. They started their own websites to attract new customers to their business.
Advent of Vanity Numbers
Since then there has been a change in the characteristics of 1800 numbers as well. Soon after toll free numbers became portable, there emerged a special type of toll free numbers, known as vanity numbers. Vanity numbers, in reality are mnemonics that easily sticks to the mind of people. A research report by 800response.com shows that vanity numbers can provide an almost 84% recall rate as compared to a numeric toll free number shown in visual media. Vanity numbers are especially successful in marketing and promotional efforts. They help to build brand awareness and also work as a way of communication.
If you wish to strengthen the communication system of your business, then you must try using 1 800 numbers. These numbers are also known as toll free numbers and it helps you to develop the communication structure of your company. It works as an effective communicative device that connects your friends and customers and also acts as a cutting edge marketing tool that can help you achieve your marketing goals. 1 800 numbers are in fact an important business tool that helps you to succeed in today’s business world. It makes you more efficient and productive.
Using 1 800 numbers you can answer multiple calls simultaneously and your customers will never hear a busy tone. Since you are able to answer multiple calls at the same time, it helps you to make your business operation smoother and keeps your customers satisfied and happy. In this age, when the success of your business depends on your customer satisfaction, a toll free number can take your business a longer way. You can better address the needs of your customers using 1 800 numbers because it makes you available to your customers 24/7. Moreover, your customers can reach your business from across the U.S and Canada without spending a cent for the call. They do not need to pay anything even when they are calling from somewhere far. Just by including a toll free number in your business contact list you can assure your customers that they will get best quality product/service from you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. All they need to do is just call you, for free, and you will be available. This is definitely going to boost your sales and your revenue in turn.
Enhanced Business Profit
It is important that you keep your customers happy because that will help you get more sales and more revenue. It not only helps you in customer retention but also in adding new customers because you get reference only from happy customers. This is one of the prime reasons why many companies are switching to 1 800 numbers. It improves your productivity, sales, revenue and is an important tool for your marketing and advertising campaigns. Vanity numbers are a special type of toll free numbers that helps you in your branding and is crucial for the success of your marketing and advertising campaigns.
Better Corporate Image
Another important thing about using 1800 numbers is that it helps you improve your corporate image. When you use toll free numbers, your customers are assured of your service/product, they understand that you are interested in business and also value your clients – that’s why you have provided a toll free number for them. So, simply by using a 10 digit phone number you can make your business look bigger, professional and credible. It can make a big impact on your customers and they understand that your business is quite well worth their trust.
There was a time when toll free numbers were used as a token service – to show your gratitude to your customers and there were only few big companies who could afford this service for their customers. Just by using 1 800 numbers you enter the realm of big companies who can offer free telephone service for their customers.