Making sure customers get what they need from your business can be challenging to say the least. Effective communication ensures the growth and success of any company no matter what stage it’s in. That’s why it’s important to decide which is better for your business: a local or toll-free number.
If you’re debating whether or not to purchase a toll-free or local number for your business, it will be easy to decide after reading through the following points.
Both local and toll-free numbers have advantages. A local number creates trust, encouraging connections with the local community. A toll-free number reaches a larger audience because it’s free to call from anywhere. It definitely depends on your goals, both short-term and long-term.
What’s the difference between local and toll-free numbers?
Local numbers consist of three-digit area codes based on particular regions in a specific city and state. So, a local business number in New York City would have a 212 area code. A business number in Grand Prairie, Texas would have a 214 area code.
When businesses choose to use local numbers, they usually plan to remain local. Often enough, national or international businesses will also use local area codes, especially for outgoing sales calls. They appear friendlier to the local communities so people are more likely to accept the call.
Of course, it depends on your strategy and the way you want to be seen by customers and clients. Toll-free business numbers portray businesses as large entities with an international feel. These numbers might begin with 844 or 888.
The appeal of toll-free business numbers begins with the idea that they are free to consumers. Anyone can call your business without worrying about charges.
Any company that has a global reach or plans to grow internationally should consider investing in a toll-free number for a professional appearance. It demonstrates an easy way for customers to contact the company from anywhere. It shows commitment and power.
Which one is best for your business?
Business owners need to consider several factors when deciding which type of phone number best suits the needs of the business with the customer leading the way.
Let’s start with local phone numbers.
Customers are more likely to answer calls from a local number.
Local numbers give your business a local presence and brand awareness.
Local numbers build trust because it feels close to home.
The value of purchasing a local number starts with what you as a business owner want your customers and potential customers to see. Ask yourself: What do I want my customers to feel when they call my business or my business calls them?
Small businesses and startups may not be thinking about a global presence at first. For example, a local pest control company that’s opening a business in St. Augustine, Florida might only want to work with local customers.
On the other hand, that same pest control company might want to work locally at first but plans to grow nationally or internationally in the next five years. Securing a toll-free number then might make more sense.
If your business goals for at least the next five years include plans to expand nationally, then go with a toll-free number. If your business goals only include local growth, then go with a local number. In a survey by SinglePlatform, 86% of consumers chose local businesses over national or international companies.
They thought that a local business would serve their needs better than a larger one, not just because of proximity. They believed that the quality of service would be better because the business didn’t seem as large as a national or international one.
By quality, these consumers equated quality with better customer relationships that would provide them with better overall service. If this makes sense to you, take a look at local numbers for your business.
Think of it this way. When deciding where you want to have dinner, you go to a large chain restaurant such as McDonald’s because you usually want quick service and don’t want to spend a lot of money. If you want higher quality and better service, you might choose a local gourmet restaurant.
That’s a great advantage for local businesses because 72% of consumers were willing to pay more to local businesses because they believed that they’d receive better quality services.
You should also consider a local number if your business makes a lot of outgoing calls. Potential customers are more likely to answer a call from a local number than a toll-free number.
Think about the last time you answered a call from someone you didn’t know. It definitely wasn’t a toll-free number unless you were waiting for a return or service call from a company similar to AT&T or Comcast.
Another important piece of information gathered from the survey revealed that consumers believe a local company will be more reliable than a larger company. Your business then becomes a source of consistent service over a long period of time.
So why do businesses use toll-free numbers?
Your business appears larger and more successful than if you only have a local number.
Right from the start you build a global reputation that people automatically respect.
National callers know they can reach you for free and free is always appealing to consumers.
You’ve probably heard that saying, “The best things in life are free.” Sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not. It all depends. But, it’s definitely a trigger point for a lot of consumers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, consumers are four to five times more likely to make a purchase from a business if it offers free shipping. That means at least half of all consumers will disregard quality, reputation, and a lot of other factors simply based on the word “free”.
Being able to tell consumers to call your toll-free number then becomes a huge point of sale. It’s definitely important when choosing a business number.
If your business has multiple locations like a pizza company, you can also use a toll-free phone number that will transfer your customers to their specific location. It’s simple and effective. Here’s a link to ePhoneNumbers search for toll-free numbers.
Consumers make a lot of decisions based on concepts that trigger them to make a decision, and it’s not necessarily based on objective logic.
It’s similar to making a first impression. In a Forbes article, You And Your Business Have 7 Seconds To Make A First Impression, research suggests that it takes only a tenth of a second for a person to start determining trustworthiness.
If you want to give the impression that your business is global even if it’s not yet to that point, a toll-free number takes care of that for you. A toll-free number can tone down and calm all of those often-doubtful thoughts that run through a person’s mind when first exploring anything new.
Then, pair global with larger and more successful and your business looks great to consumers who are concerned about your experience and quality.
So, what do you do if you still can’t settle on a local or toll-free number for your business?
Consider using both local and toll-free phone numbers.
With a clear business plan or a well-defined goal that involves rapid growth, a lot of businesses decide to purchase a toll-free number and a local number.
As a business grows, it adds more local numbers. Most local numbers are used for outgoing calls. This gives local consumers the impression that your company is nearby and cares about the local community.
The fact is that most businesses with clear goals do care about the local communities. It doesn’t matter if the business started out in that particular community. But, how do you show that you care about the local community? You achieve this with a local number.
How does a business announce a global presence without speaking a word? It has a toll-free number. Using both local and toll-free takes down the guard that your potential customers often put up when they approach you or you approach them.
In the end, choose a local or toll-free number or both that makes your business feel more approachable. If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that people are looking for reasons to feel more comfortable when they communicate. Give them that reason to call you and increase your business. Just click here to find your new number.