By Lars Lofgren
Dream big, they say.
For a business owner, it doesn’t get bigger than going global. Having firms in different cities and countries has always been an entrepreneur’s ultimate dream.
But dreaming big does have its fair share of challenges, too.
Topping the list of challenges is ensuring the continued engagement of customers—local and international—with your business representatives. Let’s also not forget how everyone in business has to work hard to maximize their businesses’ credibility while simultaneously establishing customer loyalty.
You also can’t have different customer helplines for every city or country you’ve set a base in. Not only will it be difficult for your customers to keep track of, but even your employees will go crazy trying to stay at the top of phone calls. Looking unprofessional is another issue.
Luckily, you can solve these problems by getting an 800 toll-free phone number.
One of the most significant advantages of the 800 number prefix is it implies a natural national presence. It makes your company look capable of serving customers worldwide and other benefits of improved customer engagement, better credibility, and more successful conversions.
But before you can enjoy these benefits, you need to actually get an 800 toll-free phone number.
I’m going to teach you exactly how, with one of my favorite service providers—Grasshopper—in this guide today.
What to Expect When Getting an 800 Toll-Free Phone Number
The best way to get an 800 toll-free phone number is through Grasshopper. But you can always do your own research to find a service provider that meets your business and budget requirements the best.
Setting up the 800 number prefix, followed by assigning it to a dedicated line, can be carried out in four simple steps:
Getting an 800 toll-free phone number may sound complicated, but the reality couldn’t be any different.
You can actually get the 800 number prefix—along with other toll-free variants like 866, 844, 888, and 833 quite—rather quickly. The only requirement for this is a good site or app that offers this functionality, and of course, the right guidance.
There’s also the flexibility for you to choose a toll-free service provider based on your requirements.
You’ll find vanity number brokers that could give you hard-to-find custom 800 numbers, virtual phone system providers that work with your existing phones as an extension, and full business VoIP phone services that use the local internet service to make and receive calls.
As there are plenty of options, you can choose any toll-free business number you like. And you can use a toll-free number for other things, too.
For instance, you can utilize the service to keep track of your marketing ROI, send and receive faxes and SMS texts, port to any provider, or even set up a dedicated hotline in case of emergencies or special events.
There is also no shortage of services that give users an 800 toll-free number. Just do a quick Google search, and you’ll have several options.
If you’re planning to buy the 800 business number prefix from the very first service that pops up on Google, please don’t. I repeat, stop.
You need a new (and better!) course of action that involves solid research.
There’s ample research involved to make sure you buy the phone number from a reliable service and get the best deal. Besides, every provider has different rates and packages. Some offer a set number of minutes for a month, while others have a per-minute charge. It depends on the prospective provider.
You should focus on finding the right match for your business needs, which can be time-consuming and sometimes tedious.
No, this isn’t contradictory to our previous statement about how getting an 800 toll-free phone number is easy. It definitely is easy if you’ve already found a company that you can trust.
Also, there are several rules you should remember when getting a customized toll-free number. Some suggest including your brand name in the number (Eg: 1-800-XFINITY), while others claim that having action words (Eg: 1-800-GETLOAN) or repeating digits (Eg: 1-800–000NIKE) is better.
Do you see why finding a good toll-free number available for purchase is even harder than trying to get the perfect domain name for your business?
Don’t worry, though! I’ve got you covered.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to make sure you can get a toll-free phone number for your business with ease.
Step 1 – Know Whether You Really Need an 800 Number
Everything shiny isn’t gold. Precisely why you shouldn’t get an 800 number just because your business rival has one.
Instead, you should spend time figuring out its relevance for your business, especially after considering your business niche and size. Below, we’ve made a list of potential questions to ask yourself to make the right decision.
Think About Your Business Size
Big businesses with offices in different parts of the country or those thinking to expand outside their local boundaries should invest in an 800 business number. And while having toll-free numbers is a decades-old practice, it’s still quite relevant in today’s time.
Plus, as your customers won’t have to pay anything to call you, they will be more encouraged to place a call and engage with your representatives. This can be particularly useful for developing and nurturing better long-term relationships with your clientele.
Think About Your Conversations With Customers
It also makes sense to get an 800 number when you spend a lot of time on the phone with customers.
Suppose you find that the average customer spends about 15 to 30 minutes on a call with your representatives. In such cases, having an 800 toll-free phone number that allows them to call for free can be very beneficial as they won’t have to worry about their phone bill.
However, if most of your customer dealings are online through ads or a chatbot, you may not need to invest the time, money, and energy into having an 800 number.
Question the Monetary Benefit of You Getting a Toll-Free Number
It makes no sense to invest money in getting an 800 toll-free number—or anything else—that doesn’t benefit your business.
In addition to the intangible effects of credibility and greater engagement, you should know whether the positives of getting the toll-free number is reflecting on the number of sales you make and the profit earned.
If not, this means the extra charge isn’t worth it, so you should discontinue it.
Step 2 — Select the Right Business Phone Service Provider
As mentioned before, you’ll find many companies that can provide you with a toll-free 800 number. Your priority should be to receive the best service and support possible from a reliable company that offers you the best deal.
I recommend selecting a reputable business to set up your number. You can try out Grasshopper, Verizon, AT&T, 800.com, Nextiva, and GoDaddy, to name a few available options.
Grasshopper is my personal favorite, as it offers plenty of useful features of a VoIP service, such as call management, call forwarding, extensions, voicemail transcript, and more. You can also send and receive texts through this service.
And if that wasn’t enough, you can use customer greetings, call waiting, simultaneous call handling, among other features. The basic plan starts at $26 per month, for which you get one number and three extensions.
Here are other options.
Contact Your Current Service Provider
Start by contacting your existing service provider. It’s possible for you to get a better deal through them instead of setting an account with another service. Plus, it never hurts to give it a try!
Compare Rates and Quotes of the Different Providers
Find out about the different rates and packages of every service provider. You should know the minimum monthly payment for the fixed number of minutes. If your service provider charges per minute, make sure you make the necessary calculations based on your typical consumer conversations.
Keep in mind that incoming calls from different regions have different charges. For instance, a call from a Canadian or European customer will cost a United States-based business more than a call from New York or Washington DC.
Analyze the Offered Features
Think about the kind of features that every service provider offers. Such as the following:
- Do they offer a voicemail or caller ID facility?
- Do you get voice-to-email flexibility?
- Do you receive virtual office administrative support as a part of the package?
- Are there any special features that you think could help boost the productivity and efficiency of handling customers?
It’s best to select a feature package that includes everything to cover your basic requirements while fitting your estimated budget.
Step 3 — Set up the Toll-Free 800 Phone Number With Grasshopper
I’ll show you how to set up a toll-free number using Grasshopper as it’s super simple and only takes a couple of minutes, thanks to its number availability search tool and customer control panel.
You can, of course, go ahead with other service providers that suit your needs better.
Sign up for a Grasshopper Account
Like every other service or social media platform, you have to first create an account with the company. Signing up with Grasshopper is easy. Just fill in basic information to get started.
While signing up, you also have the flexibility to customize the phone numbers you want to make toll-free. I’ll talk about the nuances of setting up your 800 number prefix in more detail later on in this article.
Search for Available 800 numbers
When you sign up with Grasshopper, you can access its number availability search tool to look for available 800 numbers.
Do a quick search to look for available options. If 800 is unavailable, you can try alternate prefixes like 877, 888, 866, 844, and 855.
Register Your New Toll-Free Number
Next up, you have to register your new number. You have three options in this case.
The first option is to retain your existing number that has been previously activated on the Grasshopper system. The second is to do a number search by the state or area code. And the third is to opt for premium vanity numbers if you want something more customized.
The choice is yours.
Step 4 — Set up Your Call Routing Settings
There are all kinds of things that allow you to control how your new phone line will work. For instance, you can choose to forward calls to your cell phone or upload an automated custom greeting to make it sound like an automated attendant.
You can also add extensions for any department or employee you would like.
This step is crucial as you have to assign the number to a designated line for it to work. After this, your number should be active within an hour.
Once you’re sure everything is set, you can proceed to receive calls, voicemails, and faxes from your customers through your new 800 toll-free business number.
Easy peasy, right?