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Toll-Free vs Normal Phone Number: Which Is Better For Business?

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Telephones are still an essential communication channel for businesses despite claims that the growing number of tech-savvy youngsters have made phone calls obsolete. The reliability and ease of access that conventional telephones offer are second to none and it’s a habit that people can’t get away from, although customers may find VoIP, social media, and website widgets handy.

Choosing between a toll free number or a local number will be one of the decisions you have to make if ever your company decides to obtain a virtual phone number. Both options come with pros and cons, and understanding them is essential since your decision will influence how your business performs.

This post will quickly break down the differences between a toll-free number and a normal local number. The discussion of the pros and cons of selecting either of the two options will help you in coming up with a decision.

The Significant Differences Between Toll-Free And Local Phone Numbers:

While the normal local numbers get linked to a location, the toll-free numbers don’t. Since normal phone numbers are made available virtually or through a traditional landline, you’ll get a designated area code based on your chosen city if you obtain a local number to use in your business. With a toll-free number, on the other hand, the dialer won’t see the exact location of your town or city.

Another distinct feature of toll-free numbers is that your customers won’t have to pay extra charges for calling you. This is in contrast to a normal phone number, where fees are usually implemented when customers call you.

Making The Right Decision When Choosing Between A Toll-Free Or A Normal Phone Number For Your Business

A telephone number is essential for businesses, mainly when their market includes international consumers. However, it can be complicated to choose between a toll-free number and a normal local number. How do you know what’s right for you? Well, there are certain things that you have to consider when deciding which telephone number is best to use for handling customer calls.

Consider whether you’re going to try to do a specific community or neighborhood targetting in your campaigns and want to establish a local presence.  Another consideration to make is whether your prospects prefer buying from a national or international company or are happier with a local brand. Third, Are you looking to increase the global presence of your company and focus on international callers? Last but not least, do you have plans to expand your operations beyond the local area of your business? Your answer to these questions will help you choose the right option for you.

Cost is another consideration to make aside from the questions above. It’s essential to note that normal local phone numbers can be a cheaper way to communicate with your prospects and customers. However, it doesn’t mean that paying a higher price when using toll-free numbers doesn’t come with benefits. In the long run, toll-free numbers will ensure better returns through higher customer reach.

Weigh things up based on the pros and cons that this post tackles below.

The Pros And Cons Of A Normal Number

Accessibility to the customer base of your business is by far the most significant benefit of having a normal phone number. It’s the way to go if you’re not going to deal with customers from across state lines. Trust is the number one reason for this, as most consumers nowadays think of local businesses as a better alternative to international and even national companies. Most people would prefer paying a bit higher price for products and services to a local company as long as they’re going to provide better quality.

Aside from the things mentioned above, consumers also see local companies as more reliable compared to their national and international counterparts. As you probably already know, the comfort of dealing with a local business plays a significant role in the trust of customers.

The existence of local businesses relies on the hands of its customers, and it’s what gives sense to the reliability and trustworthiness that consumers see in them. Think about it, will you care about a national or international company when you don’t actually matter to them because of the millions of people that are already in their customer base?

Another advantage you’ll get from using a phone number is the willingness of a customer to answer a call from a number within their area code. Everyone in your town will eventually know about your phone number, and you’ll be part of the community.

Now that you already know the advantages of using a normal phone number, it’s time to look into the cons of using it. Well, national reach is the biggest downside of a local number, especially if your business decides to change markets or expand elsewhere.

Minor downsides include appearing as a “small company” to your prospects, as well as customers having to pay for every call they make to your company.

The Pros And Cons Of A Toll-Free Number

While it’s true that there’s only a handful of businesses that make use of a toll-free number, most of them operate across the country or even the globe.

If you have a partner or supplier abroad, a toll-free number will also be of great help. It’s especially true because of long-distance calls being cheaper on your end when you have a toll-free number. Your customers who are located far away will also benefit since they can call you without extra charges. A national presence will make your business look reliable, and it’s what a tool-free number can precisely give you.

Toll-free numbers are also incredibly stable if you’re going to change locations. And, since you can’t control who visits and browses your website, if you have an online shop, a toll-free number can help you play safe and cover the bases.

A toll-free number also comes with some cons, with the most significant being the fact it isn’t ideal for companies that don’t operate in multiple states.

Another disadvantage of using toll-free numbers is that there are now long-distance call alternatives such as Skype and Zoom.

Conclusion

Identifying which phone number is better for your business boils down to your preference. If your aim is a strong local presence, then a normal number is right for you. A toll-free number, on the other hand, helps you establish a professional and corporate image when you communicate with your customers. What are the goals of your company, both short-term and long-term? Take them into account so you can come up with the best decision.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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