There are various names for it – Freecall, Freephone, 800 number, among others. The commonality between them all, and something that everyone loves – you can’t beat the price. Vanity & Toll-Free numbers are always free to the calling party, while the charges will usually fall on the recipient of the call.
On the other hand, these charges are usually negligible, and in light of the business they can potentially bring in, having a vanity number is a worthy and intelligent investment for any company. Dating back to 1967, the most contemporary of toll-free number provisioning differs greatly by delivering offerings with both businesses and their customers in mind.
Vanity Numbers as a Business Tool
Businesses often overlook the most vital aspect of success, which lies predominantly in how they are perceived and remembered by their customer base. Toll-Free numbers are more than 11 digits, they are powerful advertisements – a useful way to market oneself. For instance, popular numbers such as 1-800-LAWYERS or 1-800-FLOWERS, are both quick ways for customers to find what they need without opening a phone book or browser. It’s also no surprise that both of these numbers and the respective businesses linked to them have been around forever. They are easy to memorize, recognize, and even share with others who will do the same, creating a veritable “circle of life” for any business.
Vanity numbers have fortunately become incredibly accessible and flexible, although this was not always the case. In 1991, the FCC ordered 800-number portability implementation to be the standard by May 1, 1993 to increase competition among businesses. This in turn, allowed subscribers to switch to another carrier without changing their toll-free number, which their customer base had already become familiar with, not to mention potential customers with which this number had already registered.
With VoIP, number portability has never been easier, and choosing a memorable and powerful series of numbers has never been easier. For our office, it’d be prudent from a business stance to employ 1-888-438-8647 (1-888-GET-VOIP), simple to remember and dial. Many VoIP providers understand that number portability could be the difference between losing or gaining your business, especially with toll-free numbers, and in this case, they can certainly attract bees with honey.
Pricing & Availability
Pricing with vanity, as well as toll-free numbers have continued to fall [see our comprehensive Toll-Free Number Roundup Comparison], and although most business VoIP providers will port toll-free numbers, companies like Vonage will provide new ones but not port existing ones. Viewing the provided comparison chart, you’ll find that the best plan ultimately depends on your usage. Additionally, some companies such as Nextiva may offer a toll-free number at no charge, while minutes for receiving calls on this line will still apply – check your rates to be sure of exactly what a provider charges.
Another great practice, is to check the availability of a number to make sure it isn’t taken, as it’s clear that two businesses can’t have the same number although they could potentially have the same name. There are many databases online with “Toll Free” Search engines. Businesses may even go the length of dialing the desired number and seeing if their call is received. You might be surprised/disappointed to find out an unrelated business has already claimed your number, which might not spell the same thing you originally thought of it for. There are always alternatives, so explore options and remain focused in finding something memorable that represents your company. Try different combinations of prefixes if at first you don’t succeed – VoIP providers will undoubtedly work with you on it, they understand it’s importance.
There are many elements to creating a successful business, and this is one to be considered a huge benefit towards that end. Remember that you are dealing with people, not machines, so winning them over beyond the quality of your product can be done by being memorable, while mixing in a little charm with a poignant vanity number. Though vanity numbers have been around for almost half a century, they have only recently become incredibly easy to take with you. Many businesses choosing this number for the first time, might not realize the weight it can have in the long run – choose VoIP and you’re already well on your way.