A toll-free number is a phone number which begins with one of the following prefixes: 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, or 844. Numbers with these prefixes can be dialed from any U.S. landline phone without a charge to the caller. Toll-free numbers allow customers to call companies that are out of their local area, without having to pay a long-distance fee for the call. Toll free numbers are of particular importance for use with customer service lines.
Strategies for Picking a Toll Free Number
If you have decided to get a toll free number for your company, there are a number of strategies that you can use to make it easy for your clients to remember. This is one of the main benefits of having one. Vanity numbers are cleverly customized numbers which use one or two words after the toll free prefix. Unlike a random series of numbers, which are easily forgettable, using words can help customers make a memorable association between the number and your company. For example 1-800-MATTRESS, 1-800-CONTACTS, and 1-800-FLOWERS.
Although vanity numbers are a little more expensive than digitized toll free numbers, it is often worth the expense, particularly if you are advertising your business on radio or television. The biggest problem you may run into is that the vanity phone number you want is already claimed. You cannot duplicate a vanity number, and since they have been around since the 1980s, you’ll find that many of the best ones have already been taken. However, one way of getting around this is to use a prefix other than 800. Admittedly, 1-800 numbers are the most popular and the most recognizable toll free numbers, but the new series of prefixes have opened up new possibilities for businesses that want a vanity number. While 1-800-FLOWERS may not be available, 1-888-FLOWERS may be.
Will Your Clients Recognize Your Toll Free Number?
Just about everyone recognizes that a phone number beginning with 1-800 is a toll free number. However, if your business number starts with 1-844, 1-855, 1-866, or 1-877, your customers may not realize that it is a toll free number because these newer prefixes are not yet as popular. However, this is no reason not to use vanity numbers with these prefixes. All you have to do to ensure that your customers are aware they can call the number for free is state clearly wherever you advertise it, that it is indeed a toll free number.
If you decide to get a vanity number with one of the newer toll free prefixes, you may also want to put extra emphasis on the prefix itself, such as printing it in a highlighted color. This will prevent your customers from calling one of the other prefixes by mistake and getting through to one of your competitors. For example, calling 1-800-FAST-CAB could get you through to a very different company than calling 1-888-FAST-CAB.
How to Choose a Vanity Number That’s Right for Your Business
Consider the following points to help you select the right toll free number for your company:
- Be on point: Think about your brand; your company name and message. Choose a vanity number that perfectly expresses what your company has to offer. If the name of the company isn’t a feasible option, try to come up with a number that communicates what your business is about. For example 1-800-HOMECARE, 1-800-MAID-TEAM, 1-800-VIP-ROOF.
- Be creative: Have fun with your search for a toll free number. Many top companies have already taken the most popular ones. By using your creativity, you can give yourself wider options. Draw up a list of words associated with your business. Use these ideas to take a different approach to coming up with a toll free number.
- Keep it simple: Don’t try to get too complicated. The key here is to make it memorable. Think about the most memorable numbers that have stuck in your mind. Think about where you saw them or heard them and why you feel that they are effective.
- One or multiple numbers: If your business has facilities in several different locations, then you may wish to want to use different toll free numbers for each so that you can track their individual levels of performance. To do this, you can keep vanity numbers with a theme or individual numbers.
Be patient. If your first couple of searches don’t come up with what you’re looking for, then try to think outside the box and get a new perspective.