When it comes to running a business, every entrepreneur understands the importance of having a toll free number. It assures professionalism, credibility, consistency, and—most importantly–it assures customer satisfaction. Since having a toll free number for your business is vital, you should make sure that you get the most out of it. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 questions, which we believe you should ask your toll free number service provider so that you get a better understanding of what they offer and whether it matches your needs.
How to Find a Reliable Toll Free Number Service Provider
When researching and finding a new toll free service provider, there are quite a few factors to consider. Here are 9 questions to ask your provider before you make a hiring decision about your toll free numbers:
1: Are you a RespOrg?
First of all, let’s understand—what is a RespOrg? RespOrg or Responsible Organization is a provider that is certified by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to supply toll free number services.
It assures that the provider or telecom company is not only well-trained but also certified to offer the best toll free number service. Having an authorized toll free service provider can vastly increase the chance of getting high-quality, reliable service. So it’s always recommended to get toll free numbers from an authorized RespOrg toll free service provider.
2: Tier-1, Tier-2, Tier-3—Who are Your ULCs?
Underlying Carriers (ULCs) are telecom companies that provide toll free as well as direct inward dialing or DID numbers to VoIP wholesalers. These wholesalers’ providers offer your business toll free service. ULCs are usually categorized with respect to their size: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3.
1. Tier-1 carriers — also called Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) — represent ULCs that are large telecom providers. A provider in this category is usually called the monopoly or oligopoly in the telecom industry.
2. Tier-2 carriers — also called Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) — are the most common providers. These providers peer with other Tier 2 networks and may purchase access or get a portion of their network from Tier-1 carriers. Most often, several CLECs are bought or absorbed by ILEC in the long run.
3. Tier-3 carriers get almost all of their network from a Tier-1 or Tier-2 carrier. These carriers are small, regional carriers and are wholesale aggregators with no direct access of their own.
Tier-1 carriers are considered to be reliable, stable, better quality, wider service area when compared with Tier-2 carriers. Tier-1 operators often acquire Tier-2 and Tier-3 carriers to broaden their coverage and customer base. The type of ULC or Tier your provider falls under can greatly impact the type and quality of service you will receive. Selecting a provider then depends on the price, quality, or service area.
3: Do You Provide Failover Protection?
Failover Protection refers to the process of the primary network automatically switching to a redundant network to ensure no calls are missed, during an event of service failure or disruption. During such a crisis or emergency, your business would need to direct incoming calls to numerous alternate numbers, devices, or networks. And if your provider offers Failover Protection, then when a switch goes inactive during a call, your calls automatically carry through another switch. With this set-up from your provider, your business will not miss or drop any calls.
4: Post Dial Delay (PDD), How Long Will it Be?
Post Dial Delay (PDD) is a delay after dialing a phone number. In other words, PDD occurs when you make a call and there is a moment of silence before the ring begins. Post dial delay happens when your call passes through several channels before it reaches the ULC. The delay extends when passed around more. If you can know your provider’s ULCs, you can have a better understanding of how much post dial delay you might experience.
5: Do You Provide Tracking Service (Additional Features)?
Not every toll free number provider offers a tracking service or additional features. Depending on the type of business, simply getting a toll free number is not enough. It’s always beneficial to find a service provider who offers additional features such as call recording, monitoring, and tracking. This will help you to optimize every incoming call by analyzing it. You can browse through Global Call Forwarding’s features to get an idea of what toll free service providers offer.
6: Should I Expect Any Additional Charges?
Every provider is different and may have varying additional charges. For example, some providers charge extra for calls made outside the monthly minute limit; this is called an additional per-minute rate. Another circumstance is when additional charges are imposed when the total number of rejected incoming calls goes beyond the highest level of toll free traffic.
Receiving unanticipated additional charges is stressful and so you want to choose a provider with a predictable monthly bill and upfront additional charges. We recommend confirming with your provider what kind of additional charges you should expect.
7: What Locations Does Your Toll Free Service Cover?
Before selecting a toll free service provider, you need to know what locations and regions their service covers. For this, you need to plan out how you will handle your communication system and where your customers or end-users are located. If your provider does not cover your target markets, you may want to look for another provider.
8: What Numbers Do You Provide?
1-800 number is the traditional and most common toll free number format. However, now there are more toll free prefixes such as 833, 844, 866, 877, and 888. These numbers were developed due to a shortage of 1-800 numbers. And since there are only a few 1-800 numbers left, these variations are considered valuable in the industry.
You may even consider getting a vanity number with letters or patterns inserted within the number to make it memorable. For example, if you run a taxicab company, you can choose 1-800-Taxicab. Similarly, if you’re an online florist, you can choose 1-800-Florist. Note that most of the obvious or common words and names may already be in use, so you need to spice up your creativity to find a captivating number that is fresh and easy to remember.
9: Is Number Portability Possible?
You have a better chance to port your number if your carrier is a RespOrg. However, it is always a good idea to confirm number portability with your provider. So just before hiring the provider for toll free service, make sure that they facilitate number portability.
Global Call Forwarding’s Toll Free Number Service
With these questions besides you, you can surely ask your toll free number service provider these questions and get the maximum benefits out of the service. It will help you to find the ideal provider for you with respect to the price, quality, or service area. To learn more, speak with our experts or chat with us online!