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. As 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 shall discuss about 10 questions, which we believe you should ask your toll free number provider so that you get a better understanding and improve the effectiveness.
Question #1: Are you a ResOrg?
First of all, let’s understand what ResOrg is. ResOrg or Responsible Organization means they are certified by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to supply toll free number services.
It assures that they are not only well trained but also certified to offer the best service. In fact, having authorized toll free number service provider is a gem. Difference is as great as taking your child to a pediatrician and to a witch doctor.
So it’s always recommended to get toll free numbers from an authorized RespOrg toll free service providers.
Question #2: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 – Who is your ULCs?
Wow, that’s a ton of questions to your toll free number provider. Let us break it down for you, for better understanding.
First let us help you understand what ULC s is. ULCs or Underlying Carriers are the telecom companies who provide toll-free as well as DID numbers to VoIP wholesalers. These wholesalers’ providers provide the toll-free service to you.
Now let’s break down the next one. ULCs are usually categorized with respect to their size: Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3. Tier 1 carriers represent ULCs who are large telecom providers, who are practically called monopoly or oligopoly in the telecom industry. In the industry they are called ILECs or Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. Tier 2 carriers represent ULCs who are fundamentally recognized from Tier 1 carriers to monopolize in the industry. They are known as CLECs or Competitive Local Exchange Carriers. Unfortunately, several CLECs are bought or absorbed by ILEC on the long run. The Tier 3 carriers are in general, wholesale aggregators. Tier 1 carriers are considered to be reliable, stable, better quality, wider service area when compared with Tier 2 carriers.
When you know the ULCs your provider is with, you will get a better idea on what service quality you can expect. Well, selecting which one would depend upon your choice depending upon the price, quality or service area.
Either way, understanding your providers ULCs will be of a great help for you.
Question #3: Do you provide Failover Protection?
What is Failover Protection you may ask? To make it simple, during an event of failure or any kind of disruption when primary network automatically switches to a redundant network which assures no calls are missed. You would need to direct incoming calls to numerous alternate numbers, devices or network upon an emergency.
If your provider offers you failover protection, then when a switch goes inactive during a call, your calls are automatically carried through another switch assuring a failover plan for you. With failover plan from your provider, you shall not miss or drop any calls.
So we highly recommend you to ask your service provider is they provide failover protection.
Question #4: Post Dial Delay (PDD), how long will it be?
PDD or Post Dial Delay is something which we come across delay. When we make it clear to you, we’re sure you would say. Oh… that’s what it’s called. You might have noticed that when you make a call, there is a moment of silence before the ring starts. That moment of silence is called post dial delay.
The reason for post dial delay is, before your call reaches the ULC, it is been passed through several channels. The delay extends when passed around more.
If you can know your providers ULCs, then you can have a better understanding on how much post dial delay you might experience. It would be excellent to plan a step ahead.
Thus we recommend you to ask your provider for how long the post dial delay would be.
Question #5: Do you provide Tracking Service (additional features) along with it?
Not every toll-free number providers offers tracking service.
Unfortunately getting a toll free number is not enough for your business. 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.
Thus we recommend you to ask your service provider if they provide any additional features such as call tracking service.
Question #6: Do I need to expect any Additional Charges?
Receiving additional bill upon purchasing and using toll free number sounds familiar to many entrepreneurs.
One of the most common ways to receive additional charges is by toll free incompletes. The additional charges are imposed when the total number of rejected incoming calls goes beyond the utmost level of toll-free traffic. Call rejections may occur due to several reasons. Generally call rejections occurs due to improper switch set ups or inactive numbers.
Unfortunately, it’s never fun to receive unanticipated additional charges. Thus we recommend you to confirm with your provider on what kind of additional charges you may expect during the run.
Question #7: Where do you Offer your Toll Free Service?
Before selecting a toll free service provider, you should always bare where you will be handing your business. You need to identify your end user location and decide it.
Just make sure that your provider shall cover the entire locations of your target audience.
So never forget to ask for where do your provider provide the toll free services.
Question #8: What Numbers do you provide?
1-800 number is the traditional format for toll free number. However now we can find several numbers available as toll free number such as 1-844, 1-954, 1-866, 1-877, 1-888 and area codes 1-822 and 1-833 are likely to be used within no time. These numbers came into act due to lack in availability of 1-800 numbers. Most importantly, there are only few 1-800 number left and thus considered to be a valuable commodity in the industry.
In fact you can always look for vanity numbers with respect to your industry. For example if you run a taxicab company, then you can choose 1-800-Taxicab. If you’re an online florist you can choose 1-800-Florist. If you’re running a battery shop you can go for 1-800-Battery. Since most of the numbers are already used, you need to spice up your creativity to find a captivating number which is fresh and easy to remember by your customer.
Question #9: Is Number Portability possible?
You have a better chance to port your number if your carrier is a Responsible Organization (RespOrg).
So just before hiring the provider for toll free service, make sure that they facilitate number portability.
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.
So what all questions would you like to ask your toll free number service provider, share it with us in the below comment section.
Hobbes S Sujith is a Senior Writer at RingtoIndia and actively pursues interested related to telecommunication, technology and international business.