Toll free 800 numbers have been around for years and continue to be the go-to business phone number for many businesses. The reason for this is simple: everybody knows that toll free numbers are free to call. This means that customers are naturally more inclined to call an 800 number instead of a local or international number that would charge for the call. Let’s look at how 800 numbers work and how companies can use these numbers to increase customer engagement.
Everything You Need to Know About Toll Free 800 Numbers
First, what are 800 toll free numbers? 800 numbers are toll free business numbers that are free to call from within the country of origination. For example, a US toll free number is free for customers calling from within the US. However, a UK customer dialing a US toll free will be charged for the call, if they are calling from the UK.
Who Regulates 800 Numbers?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has assigned seven toll free codes or prefixes for toll free numbers in the United States. These are 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. Responsible Organizations (RespOrgs) assign the 800 numbers to subscribers on a first-come, first-served basis. The FCC does not allow toll 800 numbers to be reserved or warehoused by RespOrgs. The FCC regulates the use of toll free 800 numbers, but it does not assign the numbers to the RespOrgs.
The SMS/800 website determines the available assignments. Somos is a non-profit company that administers the Service Management System SMS/800 database. RespOrgs access the database for available toll free numbers and reserve the numbers for their subscribers. They also create call routing records for the handling of calls. Somos also powers the Texting and Smart Services (TSS) Registry, which lists the text-enabled 800 numbers. The registry includes routing information and multimedia services associated with the text-enabled toll 800 numbers.
How Do Toll Free Numbers Function?
As explained earlier, 800 or 1800 numbers are free to the calling party while the toll-free subscriber (businesses) are charged for calls based on minute-to-minute usage or an all-inclusive plan. 800 numbers can be used on any device such as telephone landlines or mobile devices, however, charges may vary. Toll free numbers can be domestic or international, therefore subscribers may decide what type of toll free number they want depending on where their customers are located.
800 numbers can also be forwarded to your personal or business lines just like local phone numbers in different locations. This is attained through a service called international call forwarding. So, businesses have the choice to purchase multiple toll free 800 numbers for different countries and forward all incoming calls to their main customer service headquarters located in a different location.
What is Toll Free Forwarding?
Toll free forwarding, also known as call divert or call forwarding is a service that allows businesses to set up toll free numbers in another city, state, or country, and route calls made to those numbers to single or multiple devices. Subscribers can choose to receive calls directly on their toll-numbers or have them routed to a mobile number or a fixed landline.
800 Numbers for Mobile Devices
Over the years, 800 numbers have become more affordable and accessible to all varieties of users – from businesses to individuals. Toll free numbers and toll free forwarding services are now available on mobile devices, unlike many years ago when they were only available for landlines. However, there are a few differences. In all instances, the toll free 800 number subscriber pays the charges for the calls. However, mobile phone callers accumulate the call minutes on their accounts. You can check specific details with your toll free service provider.
Small businesses tend to benefit more from toll free numbers forwarded to mobile phones because it allows them to receive business calls on the go. Mobile phones have become a reliable tool for traveling business owners and sales personnel, as well. This is because mobile phones are handy and are used to gain access to emails as well as business calls. With Global Call Forwarding, business owners can forward their business calls to their mobile devices conveniently from their account management tab.
1800 Numbers for Sale: Cost and Plans
Typically, to get a 1800 toll free number, you will have to pay a standard activation fee. The fee may vary depending on the service provider. The toll-free prefix variations 888, 877, 866, 855, and 833 do not have activation fees.
Additionally, you will usually have to pay for blocks of minutes, such as 300 or 1,000. Some 1800 number providers allow unlimited minute packages. If you are a relatively new company, you may prefer a service that offers a pay-as-you-grow package so that you can expand your 1800 toll free numbers along with your business.
Global Call Forwarding offers 5 different toll free number plans with varying levels of included minutes. We also provide add-on options for premium features and services. Browse through our inventory or speak with our representatives for custom quotes.
How to Get a Toll Free 800 Number
Getting a toll free 800 number is simple.
First, contact a call forwarding service provider such as Global Call Forwarding. Next, specify the desired 800 series area code (800, 888, 877, 866, 855 or 844). Then, select the actual number from a list of available numbers provided by the service provider. It is also possible to request a vanity number although this may result in a nominal fee for the service. Subscribers pick the toll free 800 number and specify the destination number or numbers. Then, they select a plan and plan options to complete the process. Usually, toll free 800 numbers are available for use in one business day.
Another toll free option is to obtain a local number. The number selection process is similar to the one for a toll free 800 number. However, instead of an 800 series area code, subscribers select a local area code. The phone network forwards calls to the local number to a destination number anywhere in the world at no charge to the caller. The use of a local number is beneficial if a business or individual has a large customer base in an urban area. The local number gives the impression of a nearby office, even if that office is halfway around the globe. The cost of the international call forwarding service is very affordable.
How to Dial an 800 Number
Dialing a toll free 800 number is like dialing any long distance number. Just dial “1” plus 800 series area code and the seven-digit number. On a cell phone, omit the “1”. To the caller, this is a seamless process.
In reality, the process is somewhat more complex. The number toll free 900 number dialed indicates to the phone network that special processing is needed. The phone network obtains carrier, termination and routing information from a Service Control Point (SCP) that is part of the SMS/800 database. The SCP returns instructions to the phone network to connect the call.
Business Benefits of Using Toll Free 800 Numbers
Utilizing toll free 800 numbers helps businesses to achieve their primary mission of satisfying their customer base. Toll free numbers make businesses easily accessible to customer questions and requests. Incoming calls from your customers are free. They pay no long-distance charges. In addition, having a toll free 800 number projects a professional image for the company. Other business benefits are the features included with the toll free numbers. These include:
- Recording of inbound calls
- Forwarding calls based on time of day or day of the week
- Advanced Interactive Voice Response/Public Branch Exchange (IVR/PBX) software to direct incoming callers
- Sequential forwarding of calls to preset numbers
- Failover forwarding to improve customer service and call quality
- Local Ringback Tone
- Simultaneous ringing on two or more phones
- Forward Fax to send or receive faxes to email
- Rollover of unused minutes
- Customized greetings for incoming calls
- Voicemail black and white lists to reject or accept calls, respectively
- The cost of toll free numbers with the above options is surprisingly low
Get Toll Free Numbers with Global Call Forwarding
Global Call Forwarding offers toll free numbers for more than 160 countries around the world. Our extensive coverage allows us to equip your business with the tools it needs to communicate effectively with global customers. Sign up for your new business toll free 800 numbers or chat with our experts online to learn more!