In the mid-1960s, toll-free service was born, along with some limitations that reduced its service range. Shortly after toll-free service came into existence, a restriction in switching capability caused a geographical limitation.
Today, things are different. Toll-free services can now enjoy expanded geographical scopes. This means that anyone can call toll-free numbers from anywhere in the country. We are going to show you how to secure one of these toll-free numbers that will give people access to you at no cost.
What Is an 800 Number?
In simple terms, an 800 number is a toll-free number where the owners of the toll-free line are charged by service providers for all calls made to and from their line. So, the owner of a number, rather than the caller, is charged with the costs of a long-distance call.
Companies and business owners buy an 800 number to encourage customers and clients to keep calling. These companies pay for the calls because they know that keeping the lines of communication open between them and their customers is good for business.
One significant advantage of toll-free lines is that customers can easily recognize them because most of them start with 800. We recommend that you select unique toll-free codes that your customers will easily remember. Any business that fails to do so is already setting itself up for a lack of visibility.
Businesses will also benefit from a toll-free number by way of customer feedback, making orders, receiving complaints and garnering reviews. Toll-free numbers are a sure way to keep customers coming back, thereby increasing the positive perception that will only benefit your business even more.
How Does an 800 Number Work?
If you’re looking to enjoy toll-free services, you don’t have to purchase an 800 number specifically. In the U.S., there are many toll-free numbers other than 800. Some of the alternative options include 888, 877, 866, 855, 844 and 833.
For the 800 toll-free number specifically, there is a process that you must follow in order to obtain an 800 number for your business. However, it is worth noting that you cannot use these toll-free numbers interchangeably. As a result, when you call a number with the 1-888 prefix, you will end up with a different user than a number with the 1-800 prefix.
The Federal Communications Commission assigns toll-free numbers on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if you’re first in line to apply, then you will be a priority and you’re more likely to receive a toll-free number. After you are assigned a toll-free number, you will need to find a Responsible Organization to manage and administer the records for you.
The FCC has several rules in place that govern the acquisition and use of toll-free numbers. One of these rules is that toll-free numbers must be portable. In other words, businesses have to be able to move their 800 toll-free number to a new RespOrg if they decide to change service providers.
The FCC, however, is not directly involved in the assignment of toll-free codes. As a result, they do not have access to the number database. The FDC also cannot provide any information about the current status of toll-free numbers.
Steps for Getting an 800 Number
To acquire and enjoy the services of an 800 number, you must follow the steps below.
Step 1: Contact your service provider
There are a lot of companies that can make toll-free 800 numbers available to you. Make use of a reputable service provider to ensure you set up your number correctly. Some of these service providers include:
Step 2: Choose your rates
The next logical step is to decide on an affordable rate. You will be periodically charged for your toll-free number so look at your financial budget before choosing a service package. Some rate packages charge per minute while others require a pre-set monthly payment. It’s up to you whether you want to pay per month or per minute. Make your decision based on your financial situation so you don’t end up overextending yourself.
Step 3: Look out for additional features
In addition to the toll-free number, there are other features you should check for before selecting on a service package. Keep an eye out for additional features that could improve your business operations. You can tailor your toll-free services in ways that best suit your business model. Some of these features include:
- Caller ID
- Voice-to-email capabilities
- Virtual office administrators
Step 4: Set up your account
At this point, you will have decided on a service provider and it’s time to contact the company of your choice. Let the company know which package you would like to have based on the needs of your business. Some companies will give you free rein to choose your number. If that is the case, select a number that can be easily remembered.
It is in your best interest to pick a number that matches your business. For example, if you sell burgers, get a number like 1-800-222-BURGER or 1-800-555-FOOD. Choosing a number that relates to your business will be easier for your customers to recall and dial with ease, making your business easier to access.
Step 5: Assign the number to a designated line
Assigning your new number to a designated line means you have to route your toll-free number to an existing line. You should assign your toll-free number to an existing landline because it is relatively cheap and easy to do. Also, your service provider will activate your toll-free number within one hour of routing your toll-free number.
Join the 800 Train
We have come a long way since the first three toll-free lines operated in 1966. Since then, the geographical limitations were solved in 1975 when Roy Weber used digital functionality to beat the problem.
Today, people make billions of toll-free calls across the United States every year. With the advent of long-distance, toll-free calls, your business can benefit from open communication with customers. You should take advantage of that by joining the 800 toll-free number train today!