When you are asked what your telephone number is, you can, maybe, repeat it quickly, and sometimes even your parents’ too, because you are too familiar to forget them for using and repeating them thousands of times.
However, when asked what a business number you can think of at once, what is your answer? Is it 800? Is it 866? Is it 1800? Or else? After hearing this question, you may give your answer immediately, but have you ever thought it why this number is embedded in your mind deeply?
The answer is that you can hear, see and even receive it almost every day, no matter via your telephone, television, or daily call. For example, you will hear this word when watching TV “You can call 400-666-880 any time if you have any question about your iPhone” every time. Then, what is 400-666-8800? What are the other numbers mentioned before? They are all, in fact, toll-free numbers.
What is a toll-free number?
A toll-free number is a telephone number with a digital string code that can be called free of charge from a landline. Such a number allows callers to contact enterprises or individuals outside the area without having to pay for long-distance calls. Most toll-free numbers are for technical support, sales promotion, or toll-free after-sales service. Their purpose is to provide customers with better, more convenient, more high-quality service so as to retain existing customers and tap the potential customers for enterprises.
However, when you try to search something about a toll-free number, a lot of digital string numbers will come to your eyes, such as 800, 866, 877, etc. What you should know is that these three-digit numbers, to be honest, share the same working way.
In the 1960s, the first toll-free number with an 800 area code was released. However, as enterprises grew and toll-free numbers became more popular, the 800 toll-free number was not enough to meet the growing needs of enterprises, so the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to issue new toll-free numbers with the following area codes: 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, etc. 888 numbers were created in 1996, 877 in 1998, 866 numbers in 1999, 855 numbers debuted in 2010, 844 numbers came into play in 2013, 833 numbers were released in 2017.
However, although there is no specific difference between their working way, when it comes to which one you should apply, it is 800 area code that should be taken into consideration at first. The reason is that the 800 area code has been used for a long time, and customers have made it a rule that they will certainly be free of charge when dialing this number, but they cannot be sure whether other numbers are charged or not. That is to say, except 800 area code, other numbers will possibly throw customers into doubt.
Besides these three-digit string numbers, you may have seen such digital strings, like 1800, 1300, 0800, etc. What is the difference between them, then? The key point to this question is that different area codes are used around the world to represent toll-free telephone services in their own country or region. For example, in Armenia, the toll-free prefix is “800 (866, 877,855……)” followed by a five-digit number, In Germany, the toll-free prefix is “‘0800” followed by a seven-digit number, and in the “0800” or “0805” prefix is used for toll-free numbers In France.
How Different is a Toll-Free Number from a Local Number?
Before figuring out the differences between a toll-free number and a local number, you need to know what they are respectively.
Toll-Free vs. Local Number: Definition
◆ A toll-free number is a kind of hotline service provided by an enterprise for customers to call over long distances free of charge.
◆ A local number is a kind of number whose usage is limited to a specific region or city. When a local number is used, the cost will be borne by the caller, not the holder of the number.
Toll-Free vs. Local Number: Cost
From the perspective of customers
Customers don’t need to pay when they call a toll-free number, because the call charges are contracted by the enterprise owner, while a local number asks customers to bear the charge by themselves.
From the perspective of enterprise owners
Compared with a local number, the enterprise owner pays more money for a toll-free number, because the enterprise owner needs to bear the charge of the callers and these callings may be from all over the world. Nevertheless, the charge of a local number has nothing to do with the enterprise, because the callers bear the charge by themselves.
Toll-Free vs. Local Number: How to Get
Getting from communication carrier
You can apply for a toll-free number via your mobile phone, and the steps below should be followed:
- Step 1. Visit the communication carrier’s home page.
- Step 2. Select your new phone number for your phone.
- Step 3. Enter your destination number.
- Step 4. Choose your payment plan.
- Step 5. Select optional features for your phone number.
- Step 6. Complete your contact information.
- Step 7. Review your cart.
- Step 8. Submit payment info and finalize your order.
Getting from an app
To get a business from a number application, the steps below should be followed:
- Step 1. Choose an app providing toll-free numbers.
- Step 2. Finish the online registration.
- Step 3. Pick your number.
- Step 4. Start your engines.
Toll-Free vs. Local Number: Pros and Cons
Pros of a toll-free number:
√ Attractive to customers
- Make enterprises look professional
- Help enterprises get customers in different places
√ Gain reputation for enterprise
Cons of a toll-free number:
× Sometimes identified as harassing calls or rejected by customers
× Lack a specific target market
× Leave the customer unreal feelings due to the use of intelligence customer service
Pros of a local number:
√ Have a specific target market
√ Leave customers a feeling of affinity
√ Picked up by customers more likely
√ Help enterprises reduce costs
Cons of a local number:
× Possibly refused by customers for charged call
× No offering long-distance calls
× Toll-Free vs. Local Number: Business Features
Features of a toll-free number
- With a single number, customers can contact enterprises and solve almost any problem
- Customers can make calls at no cost.
- It makes enterprises look formal and professional.
Features of a local number
- It allows enterprises to reach users and potential users
- Enterprises can be quickly found by local users.
Which Should be Chosen, Local or Toll-Free Number for Business?
Before you choose a number from toll-free numbers and local numbers, some questions are needed to be considered several times firstly, such as enterprise budget, target, and nature. The two numbers suit enterprises in totally different ways. Now that, which number should you take?
When to Choose a Local Number?
Local numbers are better suited to small local enterprises that do most of their business in a particular city or region.
A local number will have an area code to identify the city or town of the enterprise’s service location. When receiving a call from an enterprise, customers can quickly locate the area of the enterprise, making it easier to contact the enterprise by phone or in person.
When to Choose a Toll-Free Number?
Toll-free numbers are helpful for enterprises that do not have an offline location and serve customers online services primarily in the United States and Canada. Besides, toll-free numbers are also useful for enterprises that want to expand beyond their existing locations or even overseas. This is especially good for enterprises with an international influence. In addition, toll-free numbers, on the other hand, are available to software companies that provide customers support across the United States.
When to Choose Both a Local and a Toll-Free Number?
This condition applies to enterprises with extensive domestic and overseas operations that need to operate different customers support lines, inbound sales numbers, or some that need share numbers.
How to Check if a Number is Toll-Free
According to above, you may make it clear that in most cases, in America, a toll-free number contains three-digit string numbers, such as 800, 866, 877, and these number codes have no difference in working way. When receiving or dialing a call, you can at first see whether the number contains any of these three-digit sting numbers or not. If it has, it is a toll-free number, otherwise, not. About these strings, if you cannot remember all of them, then try to search and write them down on your notebooks, so next time, whether a number is a toll-free number will be fought out by you.
Is Toll-Free Number International?
About this question, unfortunately, the answer is not.
After reading this article, such an idea may occur to your mind that now that a toll-free number gives enterprises a chance to expand overseas operations, and customers can receive and make a phone call from different countries, then a toll-free number must be international, but the fact is that even though a toll-free number allows customers to dial the number holder free of charge, there are still some restrictions.
Just as stated above, there are lots of digital number strings, and each of them stands for an area or country, that is to say, you, as a citizen of a specific country, cannot dial a toll-free number that is not prepared for your country.
For example, the unified customer service number of Apple India is 91 80 4045 5150, and in the United States, the number is 1800-692-7753, in Germany 800-6645-451, and in Brazil 800-761-0880. If you are living in India, when there is anything wrong taking place on your iPhone and you need to consult the customer service, you can but only dial the number 91 80 4045 5150, for the number in your country has already been set. You cannot dial other countries’ toll-free numbers successfully, even though you can do it, the charge for telephone calls will be deducted from your own telephone charges.
- A toll-free number is a kind of enterprises service number used by enterprises for attracting and serving customers.
- Compared with a local number, a toll-free number is free of customers’ call charges, and suits enterprises that do business overseas.