So, you don’t have a toll-free number? Or you’re thinking that your social media presence has supplanted the telephone when it comes to communicating with customers? The absence of a toll-free line or the idea that it’s unnecessary might be costing you customer goodwill…and business.
An 800 number = You care
Customers and potential customers appreciate being able to contact you quickly and at no charge to themselves.
Providing a toll-free number implies that you care about your customers and potential customer. It shows that you want to make it easy and convenient for them reach you. You’re encouraging communication. When it seems lately that some companies go to great lengths to prevent people from contacting them (as covered in the previous post on this blog), customers appreciate accessibility, an open line of communication.
But there’s more:
- Providing a toll-free number adds value, as the call is free for the customer.
- If you make it easy for a customer to contact you, it naturally follows that they are more likely to remain your customer.
- The toll-free number in and of itself is an improvement in customer service and satisfaction.
Branding and credibility
Who hasn’t heard a UPS commercial on the radio or seen one on TV? Each time you see or hear it, you are reminded to “Call 1-800-PICK-UPS.” Even if you never use their shipping services, you know that number. And look at it: It not only has the company’s name in it but it’s a description of what they do (PICK UP and deliver) and also a command to choose them.
It can work for you took, whether you’ve just opened your doors or have been around a long time and seeking to expand:
- Dress your business for success: It’s pretty simple: UPS is a big, established company doing business nationally. They have an 800 number. The public perception is that big, established companies have 800 numbers. So, having an 800 number gives customers the impression that your business is well-established, successful and and operates nationally—even if the truth is that you are working out of your garage.
- Give ’em your word: Even better is if, like UPS, you have a vanity 800 number—one that includes your company’s name or a keyword related to your business (think 1-800-FLOWERS or Southwest Airlines’ 1-800-IFLY-SWA). Vanity numbers help to reinforce your company’s image and your promise—your brand—to your customers.
- Unforgettable, that’s what you are: And, if visible enough or repeated often enough, can lodge itself into customers’ and prospects’ memory banks. In this way, a toll-free number is a powerful marketing tool that attracts new clients and helps retain current ones, so that even if they don’t need your product or service today, you’ve made it easy for them to reach you when they do.
Use toll-free numbers to evaluate ROI on marketing campaigns
Did you know that a toll-free number can be used to monitor the success or failure of your different marketing efforts? Yes, that’s right. If you have multiple 800 (or 855, 866, 877 or 888) numbers, you can, through your telephone system provider, use different toll-free numbers as response numbers to your various marketing methods, i.e., one 800 number in your print ad; another 800 number in your radio spot; and a third one in your e-mail blasts.
Then, using the reporting feature, such as what’s available through cloud-based VoIP phone service providers, you can quickly identify where you are getting your best ROI in your marketing efforts—which campaigns work, which don’t—rather than waiting for the end to figure it out.
And, combined with great customer service on the other end of that 800 line, you will potentially increase sales conversions on those in-bound calls.
800 numbers are flexible and portable
With a toll-free number, you can have the same kind of flexibility as with a regular phone number and then some:
- Conduct your business anywhere: Your 800 number can be forwarded to your or an employee’s cell phone, to a landline or even a VoIP phone.
- Different street, same number: Because 800 numbers are portable, even if you relocate, you can retain the same 800 number. The number is yours for as long as you want it, even if you change phone service providers.
- Half-way around the world or just down the hall: Your 800 number can even be routed overseas, such as to a help desk or customer service department in another country. You can even have it routed to a call queue which will intelligently distribute the calls to representatives anywhere in the world.
Big bang for the buck
Having an 800 number is not a complicated or expensive proposition but something that your telephone provider can easily set up for you. Though the marketing aspects were covered earlier, it bears reference here that a toll-free number could possibly be your least costly marketing medium, which at the same time provides your company with the “big time” professional image that large, established companies have.
An 800 number is not merely a good thing to have but an indispensable one that acts to enhance your image, increase customer goodwill, broaden your marketing reach and increase your business.