When it comes to toll free numbers, with all the hype, promotion and competitive branding out there, in television commercials starring celebrities, in magazines and newspapers. In your Email Inbox, and your postal mailbox – it’s difficult, from a small business owner’s point of view, to separate fact from fiction; or realistic expectations from exaggerated claims:
- Your sales will increase on average by 200%!
- Your telephone orders will increase by 30%-40%
- Your service cancellations or product returns will decrease by 50%
- Your word-of mouth referrals will increase by 200% or more
Do we believe all of these dramatic claims? With a grain of salt, as they say! There is definitely a good deal of truth to the fact that your call volume will most likely increase; and your bottom line will improve. It’s also true that a vanity number (letters that spell out a word appropriate to your business, creating clever brand recognition – like 1-800-FLOWERS) will give your business a more professional “big company” image.
A toll free number really does encourage more potential customers, or prospects, to call your business simply because it’s a free call. Many credible sources say that the use of a toll free number in their direct response mailers, magazine and/or newspaper display ads, brochures and television spots will increase response by at least 25% to 30%.
The same result applies to existing customers – more customers with technical or usage issues, or service related problems, will call your toll free line to get help. Therefore more problems will be resolved and less people will cancel. There are less returns when you have a toll free number, if you are dealing with items that can be returned.
There is so much written about 800 numbers, 877, 888 and 866 numbers, most home office professionals and small business owners never know quite what to believe. Generally, from our experience, as professional providers of toll free numbers, it comes down to very basic, simple matters for small business CEOs and busy, harried entrepreneurs strictly concerned with their company’s image and their bottom line.
In order to keep a large group of Virtual Office and toll free subscribers happy, it is necessary for Phone.com, or any virtual telecom provider, to maintain a reliable, growing suite of Virtual Office and 800 toll free features and benefits to consistently produce simple and tangible results, month to month, year after year.
After all – someone has to help our customers pay for all those “free” calls every month!
What results? For one, that 800, 877, 888 or 866 number, plus the entire virtual phone system in fact, has to help keep customers happy, by providing a nice free call, while also helping to impress sales prospects calling in for the first time. And we all know how important ‘first-impressions’ are. Furnishing a more professional impression; faster, easier (free) communications plus seamless creation of a “large company” image, are wide reaching image benefits that Phone.com Virtual Office customers mention frequently.
One Phone,com customer, president of “DateInTheCity.com” summed it up nicely in a recent interview:
My toll free number gives me more credibility. Prospects, callers, believe it’s a large company. I really think if I didn’t have that image our sales would be a lot lower…
Another Virtual Office customer, a photography firm, summed up his need for a large, successful image:
… Prospects see my 800 number on their caller ID, and I see their number, which I like…. and that 800 number makes me look good, makes my company look expansive… and frankly, gives me a nice brand image.
An 800 number with Virtual Office communications tools, we can safely say, does create a better image all around.
But not everyone is concerned with image. For example – another Phone.com customer, Lori, who owns and operates a successful virtual-assistant agency. In an interview with us Lori thought about the main reason she switched to Phone.com from another toll free number provider:
I was originally with [ company X ], for my vanity toll free number and virtual phone system. Everything was OK, except for the fact that they insisted on charging me for my vanity toll free numbers — the one issue I could not abide by.
I got a great vanity 800 number from Phone.com – and they don’t charge me a penny for the use of that number every month!
Other companies do charge for the vanity toll free number every month, even though it doesn’t cost them anything extra. Why should I pay more every month?
All of the Phone.com 800 number rates, all minute charges, are a little lower than all the other 800 number providers – which means a lot to me. The value you get is the same; often better. And Phone.com provides killer customer care. Polite, friendly, helpful, fast…
For Lori, and many others, the low pricing of Phone.com’s toll free numbers, and the superior service associated with their 800 numbers are the key ingredients.
People who sell items on eBay, or who are set up in any catalogue or storefront type of revenue model get a great deal of value out of our 800 toll free numbers – but for them their 800 number is all about improved communications, rather than image.
One such customer has an expansive online store set up to sell a myriad of modern, antique and vintage dolls on eBay. She uses one of our toll free numbers mainly to enable her sales prospects to bypass the eBay system in order to establish fast, direct contact with her.
Otherwise, her prospects would have to go through eBay first – simply to ask a basic question. Her prospects would have to email eBay first, get that email forwarded to the doll.
For the doll lady, it’s all about faster, easier sales communications. She calls her toll free number her “professional gatekeeper number”.
Toll free numbers really do encourage more potential customers, or prospects, to call your business simply because it’s a free call. Many credible sources say that the use of a toll free number in their direct response mailers, magazine and/or newspaper display ads, brochures and television spots will increase response by at least 25% to 30%.
The same result applies to existing customers – more customers with technical or usage issues, or service related problems, will call your 800 toll free line to get help. Therefore more problems will be resolved and less people will cancel. There are less returns when you have a toll free number, if you are dealing with items that can be returned.
So it’s safe to say that yes, there is no doubt about it – having 800 toll free numbers does decrease attrition and loss of revenue. If a customer cancels or returns their product, there is a very good chance they will re-purchase from one of your competitors, and that type of steady attrition eats into your bottom line!
So when we hear from colleagues that phone orders from an 800, 866, 877 or 888 number catalogue can be as much as 60% to 70% higher than a mail order company receives without a toll free number – we small business professionals ask – can that really be true? Perhaps. Perhaps the claim is a bit exaggerated… but either way, we look at all the advantages and benefits that are undeniable.
For a modest expense every month, we think it’s worth it. What do you think?