Toll-free numbers offer customers a direct way to contact your business. Whether it’s for phone calls or texting, here’s how to get an 800 toll-free number.
We’ve all used a toll-free number to reach a business. Maybe to call a customer service team, or to reach out for support. Whatever the reason, toll-free numbers are used across the U.S. as an easy way for customers to get in touch with a business.
But did you know, you can use a toll-free number for more than just phone calls? You can text-enable a toll-free number to use for two-way communication, mass texting, and more.
Simply put: toll-free numbers are one of the most effective inbound and outbound communication methods for a business.
Whether you want a toll-free number for texting or phone calls, here’s how to get one.
Toll-free numbers are phone numbers that consist of a three-digit prefix beginning with the number 8. As toll-free numbers are free to call for those dialing, they are predominantly used by businesses for inbound and outbound customer service.
Toll-free numbers are a convenient way for customers to get in touch with a business. If a business has text-enabled its toll-free number, it can also be used to send and receive text messages.
Toll-free numbers are assigned by the FCC, and the business utilizing the number pays for the inbound and outbound calls made from it.
There are third-party providers known as “Responsible Organizations” or “RespOrgs” which manage and assign numbers on behalf of the FCC. In the same way a URL can be claimed if it is not in use, any toll-free phone number which is expired or not claimed can be bought through a provider.
All RespOrgs have access to a database with information on the owners and status of toll-free numbers. This allows businesses that have purchased a toll-free number to move between RespOrgs if necessary.
It’s fast and easy to purchase and set up a toll-free number.
First, you must decide if you’d prefer a ‘vanity number’, one which is customizable, or if you’re happy to be assigned a toll-free number at random.
Vanity numbers consist of an 800 prefix, followed by a word or phrase relevant to your business such as 800-CUPCAKES or 800-PIZZA-PLEASE. If you have the 800 at the beginning of the number, it will operate the same way as any other toll-free number.
Once you’ve chosen your toll-free number, you’ll need to have it verified. This is a new requirement by mobile carriers to cut down on spam texts, and that’s why it’s such a significant (and exciting) change to the SMS industry.
You also need to know that these mobile carriers have imposed limits on toll-free number traffic and that those limits will increase until you submit your verification form, which is why we here at SimpleTexting are focused on getting our users verified right away.
Not to worry. Verification may sound intimidating, but our team is here to help. You’ll just need to use the verification form provide some basic information about your business and what kinds of texts you’ll be sending.
Note: Once you choose your toll-free number, you’ll have limited message throughput until you’re fully verified (that’s usually a few weeks).
RespOrgs offer both vanity and auto-generated toll-free numbers. Here are some of the providers you can use to purchase your own.
Grasshopper continuously updates its toll-free numbers; it offers a variety of 800+ numbers, including vanity number options.
Prices start at $29 per month and the service includes unlimited minutes with any plan.
However, Grasshopper has limited features, which means businesses may quickly outgrow it. Without call recording, call routing or the option of an automated voice menu, businesses need to be available to pick up the phone. The bigger the business, the harder this will be to navigate around.
Verdict: If you’re looking to move away from using your personal phone number for business, Grasshopper is a great option. Individuals and businesses with 1-5 employees will be able to utilize Grasshopper the most, and it’s an efficient way to get a toll-free number almost instantly.
FreedomVoice has been a toll-free number provider for over two decades. It’s one of the most reputable in the business, and offers affordable, minute-based plans starting at 400 minutes.
FreedomVoice offers a toll-free number setup in just minutes. It offers less features than competitors, and wouldn’t be the right providers for a large business. However, it is ideal for smaller businesses that aren’t looking for a VoIP system, but may look to scale in the future.
Verdict: FreedomVoice doesn’t have the bells and whistles, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The installation process is quick and simple, and the variety of numbers available make it a great option for small businesses that are looking to add credibility with a toll-free or vanity number.
If you’re looking for a provider that has it all, RingCentral is your one-stop-shop for all things toll-free. With plans ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 minutes, it can accommodate businesses of all sizes.
On top of the toll-free numbers on offer, RingCentral also provides a range of other services and features including faxing, conference calls, and call logs. Its range of tools enables established businesses to merge any existing communication strategies with their new toll-free numbers.
Verdict: Thanks to its range of plans, businesses of all sizes can utilize RingCentral. From purchasing a basic plan to one with all of the add-ons, you can build a bespoke plan with your toll-free number, dependent on your business’ needs.
While a relatively young company, Dialpad stands out from its competitors due to its range of integration and collaborative features.
Not only can you purchase a toll-free number from DialPad at $17 per month, but you can optimize your workflow to create a seamless integration between any apps or tools you may already use.
Additionally, Dialpad offers monthly breakdowns of your call metrics, including who placed the call, the date/time of each one and the cost of the call.
Verdict: Dialpad should be your go-to if you are a company with an established workflow across a variety of different apps. From Slack to G-Suite to Salesforce, you can integrate Dialpad to optimize a range of processes within your business.
800.com is a user-friendly, fast toll-free number service. Business needs are prioritized with 800.com, making it an appealing provider for companies of all sizes.
Users have the option of choosing a plan with unlimited minutes or a plan that offers unlimited seats, but with limited minutes. As 800.com enables number parking, you only need to pay for the service as and when you use it.
Verdict: 800.com is one of the easiest ways to get a toll-free number up and running without compromising on features. Other features on offer include faxing and call forwarding, however, for the high price tag most businesses would expect call recording to be an option – which it isn’t.
When used for inbound phone calls, the biggest benefit of a toll-free number is that it’s free for customers to call.
A free number encourages customers to reach out to a business where they otherwise wouldn’t. Rather than diving through a list of contact numbers, your customers can reach out to just one number and know they’ll be directed to the right place.
When it comes to texting, the benefits of a toll-free phone number are dependent on your texting platform. SimpleTexting’s toll-free texting service offers businesses the ability to text both one-on-one with customers and send out mass messages to thousands of contacts.
Toll-free numbers further allow businesses to manage everything from an online platform without the use of a physical phone. You can manage contacts, your inbox and send and receive messages and analyze performance from just one dashboard.
Toll-free numbers make communication easier for both parties. Whether it’s enabling customers to call up for free, or allowing businesses to better manage their inboxes, it’s never been easier to build strong customer relationships without being face-to-face.
Toll-free numbers offer a degree of separation between the personal and professional. If you’re a business looking to step away from using personal cell phones, why not text-enable your toll-free number with SimpleTexting? Join now for a risk-free, 14-day free trial.
Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.More Posts from Alice Dodd
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