Is your business growing?
If you, you may want to invest in reaching more customers and secure more sales.
Small business and startup experts recommend you obtain a 1-800 number for your business, even if it’s wholly operated online.
Yes, it might seem counterintuitive at first to encourage customers to contact you via phone in today’s digital world, but as we will see below, the benefits are just too good to ignore.
Read on to learn why having your own toll-free number is a must, and how to get the right 1-800 number for your business in Orlando (and anywhere else in Florida).
Still relevant in the 21st century
Despite email, social media and online messengers, ‘traditional’ phone communication is still integrally relevant today.
Simply put, it provides new and established businesses alike with a tried and tested method to reach new customers.
Here’s a quick list of benefits from having a 1-800 number for your business:
- Boosts sales. Statistics show that customers usually purchase from the first company they call, and given the choice between a 1-800 and a long distance call, going for the 1-800 is a no-brainer.
- Increases order volume / decreases returns. Statistics don’t lie; there’s a strong correlation between using a 1-800 number and increasing order size while decreasing returns.
- Builds credibility. Big companies use 1-800 numbers, and so should your own business. A 1-800 number builds credibility and helps establish a clear brand image.
Sounds good, right?
But does your business really need a 1-800 number? There are several things to consider, as we’ll see below:
Do you need a 1-800 number?
Today, toll-free numbers are inexpensive and easy to install, so money and logistics are not a major factor, especially if your business is growing.
In order to decide whether a 1-800 is a good step for your business, consider your target audience and your business offerings.
Your main consideration should be this:
Does your sales process involve phone conversations with potential customers (requesting quotes, discussing features etc)? If the answer is yes, then your business can definitely benefit from a 1-800 phone number.
Think about it: if your clients have to spend 10 or more minutes talking details about their potential purchase, they wouldn’t want to spend money for that call!
By giving them a toll-free option, they can relax on the phone and let your representatives work their magic to secure sales.
Additionally, if your business is already spending a sizable amount on telecom and IT, the extra cost of a toll-free number will be negligible, especially compared to the potential returns.
With countless different options that look similar at a first glance, it might seem daunting to find the right 1-800 package for your business.
In addition to cost, you have to take several other parameters into consideration. Let’s see the most important ones:
Until a few years ago, businesses could only hope for per-minute rates. With per-minute rates, calling clients were not charged anything, while the business that received the call was charged several cents for every minute of every call.
Today, you can obtain inclusive and customizable unlimited calling plans that are way more affordable than anything available until a few years ago. Therefore, money is a secondary consideration for a healthy business.
However, you have to make sure your business has the infrastructure to handle the extra calls a toll-free number will bring, and subsequently the increase in order volume.
Having your toll-free number spell your company’s name, or a word or acronym that describes your business offerings can be of tremendous value. Using a vanity number such as 1-800-NEW-BIKES or 1-800-BEST-FIX will help your business more professional and boost your sales.
The Sad news is that a great deal of the most desirable 1-800 personalizations have been exhausted since the 90ies, so you either have to get creative or pay big bucks to the current owners.
Alternatively, you can obtain 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 toll-free number, though admittedly 800 is by far the most popular.
Depending on your targeted demographic, you may want your 1-800 number to target the state of Florida, the whole country, or even the entire world.
Obviously, offering international toll-free calls to your potential customers will cost you, but on the other hand, it literally opens up a world of possibilities!
Be extra cautious when redirecting your 1-800 number to an existing landline or cell phone number. Transferring calls like that will charge your cell phone normally, in addition to any charges the toll-free number may incur.
Still, this may be well worth it for some businesses, and with an unlimited calling plan, the problem becomes trivial.
Shopping for the perfect 1-800 number
So, you’ve decided to get that 1-800 for your business? Great!
Call your service provider
Before going shopping for your new 1-800 (obviously by calling service providers at their own 1-800s!), it might be a good idea to call your current service provider first.
Your current service provider may be able to offer you a decent deal in an attempt to keep you from setting up an account with another service.
Contact other service providers
So, call your current service provider and get their best quote, but don’t commit to a purchase straight away!
With the quote in hand, shop carefully for the best offer for your business, and look beyond giants such as AT&T and Verizon who offer ‘boilerplate’, one-size-fits-all services to startups and online businesses.
Instead, local providers will present you with bespoke services, specifically tailor-made for your business, and they’ll even show up in person to take care of the phone service installation process.
Compare, compare, compare!
Every provider offers slightly different packages in an attempt to differentiate and present you with a unique service. So, rates, plans, and specifics will vary.
Some providers have monthly payment minimums while others charge by the minute, and some offer you all-inclusive prices while others charge you for installation and support.
Additionally, providers will price incoming calls from different states or countries differently. For example, if you’re based in Orlando, an inbound call from another state might cost you more than a call from Florida, but less than an international call (i.e. from Canada, or the U.K.).
In addition to the actual 1-800 number, you should also compare additional features that often come in packages. Such extra features include internet services, email accounts, VoIP, caller identification, virtual office functionality, and a range of security features.
Depending on the additional features, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your current telecom contracts and plan ahead for when your business grows even more.
Sealing the Deal
Once you’ve decided on your service, just contact the provider to set up your account. This is usually a very quick process, assuming your business is relatively small, so you can have your brand-new toll-free number in a matter of hours!
Here is when you will get to decide on your own vanity number that will help personalize it and make it easier for your clients to remember.
Make sure to coordinate with your marketing department to pick the best available number that matches your business branding!
Finally, your 1-800 number will need to be directed to an existing phone line. The most economic and straightforward option is to route a toll-free number to an existing landline. This will mean you won’t have to worry about poor reception or extra per-minute charges.
Still don’t know where to start?
If you’re still unsure, or just paralyzed by the plethora of seemingly identical choices, worry not!
You can contact Florida’s leading business phone service provider for a non-obligatory free quote right now to get started on obtaining a 1-800 number for your business!