An 800 number, also called a toll-free phone number, allows long-distance calling, with the recipient being charged for the call instead of the caller. Get one by choosing a service provider, picking a prefix, and creating an account. 800 numbers enable small businesses to create an image of a large, reputable company and make a great marketing tool since it’s easy to remember. Continue reading as we further explore the steps of how to get an 800 number.
Step 1: Choose a Service Provider
There are two options for selecting an 800 phone number provider—a standalone toll-free number service or a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system. A standalone toll-free number is best for small teams on a budget that want to secure an 800 number with a toll-free minute allowance. Pricing starts at $5 per number, monthly.
A toll-free number included in a business phone system subscription is best for handling high-volume call traffic. It includes access to VoIP features, such as interactive voice response (IVR), call queues, call recording, and call analytics. Rates range from $10 to $50 per user, per month. Below are our top picks for VoIP providers offering an 800 number:
Click on the tabs below to learn more about each VoIP provider:
Step 2: Pick a Toll-free Prefix
After choosing a service provider, the second step is to pick a toll-free prefix. The available options are 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. Toll-free numbers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so be flexible in terms of your preferred digits, as the ones you want may already be taken by other businesses.
If you prefer having a memorable number, consider getting a vanity number that spells out a word or phrase. Popular examples are 1-800-FLOWERS, 1-800-TAXI, and 1-800-PIZZA-NOW.
According to Grasshopper, toll-free vanity numbers are much easier to remember than any other number, which increases the likelihood of customers calling the business. The digits are linked closely to the products or services you sell, making you a top-of-mind choice when there’s a need. The steps to securing vanity numbers are relatively the same as how to get a toll-free number, except that you’re able to customize the digits with the letters and numbers you prefer.
Step 3: Set up Your Account
After selecting your phone number and toll-free prefix, the last step is to choose a subscription plan that matches your communication and budget requirements. After creating an account, log into the virtual phone or VoIP system and assign the toll-free numbers to extensions and users.
Who Needs a Toll-free Number?
An 800 number is ideal for any business wanting to establish a national presence. Instead of tying your brand to a specific area code, toll-free numbers project an image that a company is capable of serving customers across the country. If you plan on expanding into new areas, 800 numbers boost brand credibility and client engagement in new markets.
Toll-free numbers can also track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Assigning 800 numbers to a website, billboard, or print ad lets you associate which marketing channel a call came from. Check out our video below to better understand when to use a 1-800 number for business:
Advantages of an 800 Toll-free Number
Toll-free services have provided customers with a free and convenient way to contact businesses. They positively affect every aspect of a company, including its marketing efforts, customer service, and brand credibility. Read below to further explore its benefits:
- Expand your business: Toll-free numbers are country-specific—they allow anyone within a country to call your business without being charged. This enables your local business to be perceived as a nationally recognized company.
- Enhance credibility: Customers associate toll-free numbers with large companies with a national audience. Thus, 800 numbers help establish a reputation for serving several customers.
- Allow mobility and portability: Toll-free numbers have no geographical restrictions, allowing you to answer business calls anywhere. They are set up in a way that makes it easy to transfer calls to an internet protocol (IP) phone or personal phone. Even if you change providers, you can take your number with you via number porting.
- Be easily remembered: According to 800.com, toll-free vanity numbers use a neuroscience approach called memory chunking. A vanity number enables the brain to associate the words and digits with the brand, making the numbers themselves difficult to forget. So if customers can remember your business phone number, it’s easy for them to reach you anytime.
- Track marketing campaigns: Attributing toll-free numbers to a specific marketing campaign allows you to measure its impact based on the number of incoming calls. According to toll-free number provider 800.com, vanity phone numbers increase call rates by as much as 84% for billboard and print ads, 58% for radio and television commercials, and 20% for online ads.
Alternatives to 800 Numbers
Other forms of virtual phone numbers like local, vanity, and international numbers also open countless opportunities to businesses with unique needs. Before picking a phone number, consider these popular options:
A local phone number is typically included with a VoIP service. You choose a phone number with a local prefix from the region where your business is located. You can also expand to other places by selecting local phone numbers in states where you want to reach a new market.
Vanity phone numbers are custom phone numbers that typically spell out a memorable word or phrase. They work with a local area code or toll-free number prefixes (e.g., 212-NY-PIZZA and 1-800-FLOWERS). Most businesses choose vanity numbers to increase brand awareness and make customers easily remember their contact numbers.
If you want to expand your business overseas, international numbers help establish a local presence in other countries without actually opening an office. This encourages foreign clients to call your business without worrying about expensive international charges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It depends on your purpose for getting phone numbers. A local number is better for businesses wanting to appeal to a local market, while a toll-free number is better for companies with multiple offices serving a large customer base.
Yes, some business phone systems like RingCentral offer toll-free phone numbers that allow businesses to send and receive text messages. However, in most cases, you must reach out to the provider to enable this functionality.
800 numbers for business are location-agnostic, meaning they’re not associated with any state or area. In contrast, a local phone number has a three-number prefix representing the state, city, or town a particular business serves. For example, New York has an area code of 646, so an example of a local phone number is (646) 555-3890.
A toll-free phone number allows businesses to strengthen brand recall and provide customers a means to contact them without incurring charges. Fortunately, the steps on how to get an 800 number are simple: choose a service provider, pick a toll-free prefix, and set up your account. Sign up for RingCentral’s 14-day free trial today to secure a free toll-free number for your business.