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What is the Difference Between Toll Free and Local Phone Numbers?

A comparison of local versus toll free numbers.

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In the market for a new business number but cannot decide if local phone numbers or toll-free numbers are the way to go? Here’s a rundown on the difference between these two kinds of numbers and what to keep in mind when choosing one for your company.

Local Phone Numbers vs. Toll Free Numbers

Telecom technology has advanced in such a way that individuals have access to a variety of business telephone numbers for their communication needs. Toll-free and local phone numbers are two types of contact numbers that can be used by start-ups, small businesses, large corporations, and more. Before you decide which numbers to purchase for business needs, you need to consider how they differ in utility.

Why do Businesses Use Local Phone Numbers?

Local phone numbers, as the name suggests, are telephone numbers for specific areas and are used to call locally. Local numbers, also known as geographic numbers, target people within a specific geographic region. A local number often has a designated area code for the city, town, or state it is issued in. For example, a Miami local number will likely be a 786 area code or 305 area code number.

Calls made to these numbers are not free and callers pay what their provider charges for local calls. Local geographic numbers are able to receive calls from outside the country as well as mobile networks.

Can local phone numbers really increase customer engagement?

A local business number makes for a suitable regional contact as it makes your company available to yet another geographical location. And with a virtual number, you can do so without actually physically moving to the location or opening a local office. Interested customers can contact you without having to pay extra charges and have their concerns resolved through the phone. If you buy bulk local numbers, you can target different markets and demographics from one central location. Multiple numbers can:

  • Provide easy access to different customer bases
  • Establish a local presence without a physical one
  • Come with advanced features that come with virtual numbers
  • Streamline marketing efforts with call tracking
  • And, of course, help you expand globally

What Can Toll-Free Numbers Do for Businesses?

Toll-free numbers differ from local numbers in that they are not necessarily tied to specific local areas. And so, with such a number, the dialer is not privy to the exact location of the business. But, the key difference is that calling toll free numbers is free of cost for callers. Receivers get charged instead of callers. Large corporations, therefore, choose to have a toll free number as a way of attracting customers to call.

Toll free numbers usually have a distinct code at the beginning of the number. For example, the United States has different toll free number codes: 1800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. An 800 number presents your business as professional and established. And it gives potential and interested consumers a free and easy way to get in touch with you.

With virtual phone service providers like Global Call Forwarding, you can purchase international toll-free numbers as well. And they enable businesses to reach contacts from overseas countries without paying exorbitant international calling charges. Instead, they pay a lower fee to a call forwarding company. Call forwarding companies allow you to appear as though you are from said overseas country.

Does Your Business Need Local or Toll-Free Numbers?

So, how do you decide which virtual number type will boost your business communications? There are a few things to consider:

  • Can your company benefit from multiple “virtual” local presences?
  • Do you need to target specific locations, markets, or demographics?
  • Are you a local company or a national/international one? Does it matter what your consumers view you as?
  • Is it time for your business to increase its global reach?
  • Do you have a high volume of international customers?

Toll free numbers are ideal for companies, even small businesses, looking to expand their services to more states and countries and go beyond their local restrictions. Local business numbers, on the other hand, may seem more suitable for solopreneurs and start-ups or organizations with remote offices and employees.

Toll free numbers are convenient and have a good reputation because most consumers associate 800 numbers with large, professional organizations. Unfortunately, these numbers are not always reachable from outside of their origination country. Local phone numbers are a more suitable option, if you are looking for a regional contact phone number.

Therefore, the decision about your business number depends on what plans you have for the future of your company. You can also experiment with both number types. Have a running toll free number and 4-5 local ones for target markets, and then see how that affects your communications.

Get Local Phone Numbers and Toll Free Numbers from Global Call Forwarding

Have a better idea about what type of number is more suitable for your enterprise? Call 1 (561) 908-6171 to learn more about how each number type would work best for your needs.

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