Do you run a business, or do you call businesses and other services regularly? You may well have come across toll free numbers before. These numbers tend to be very appealing as – well – you can guess – they won’t cost you a penny to dial.
However, there are a few interesting facts and figures about toll free numbers which you might not be aware of. Here’s a full fact file on what you can expect from these numbers, whether you are setting one up yourself, or if you are in the process of calling them for business reasons.
Many businesses set up toll free numbers because they are memorable. To begin with, there is no better way to advertise your business than to set up a number which is easy to recognise. As these numbers are custom-made, it makes sense to look for a line which you and your clients are likely to keep in mind.
Toll free numbers aren’t as tricky to set up as you might imagine. In fact, you can set up these lines and numbers through packages similar to those you might find available through your standard telecoms provider. You will normally need to pay for them on a monthly basis at rates which will fit your everyday budget demands.
There have been cases where people have set up toll free numbers which are similar to popular TV show voting lines. This means that people end up calling them by accident, and it can even lead to a unique way of claiming business.
With toll free numbers, businesses pay the charges, though the cost of doing so more or less pays for itself with all the leads and new revenue likely to be generated.
Some toll free numbers can cost huge amounts of money, but only if they are extremely specific. For example, it’s thought that the company AT&T once paid more than $1.32 million to claim the specific toll free number 1-800-YELLOWPAGES.
While 1-800 numbers have been largely popular to call for free since the 1990s, they have actually been around since the 1960s. However, it took decades for their popularity to spike.
Many people set up toll free numbers if they only have minor local or national numbers, or mobile phone lines for people to call through. These will replace such lines in an effort to make their contact numbers more appealing or professional.
Toll free numbers aren’t readily available through the usual channels in the US. You will normally need to apply to the FCC if you are claiming in the US. However, in the UK, there are private companies who will be happy to set you up with a unique, freephone number.
You may not find that prefixes for toll free numbers get added to databases regularly. In fact, the general rule of thumb is that they get added and pop up as and when they are needed. This means that there is always a chance that you can claim yourself a wholly unique toll free number if you are lucky enough!
You’ll never find a toll free number that ties to a location. This means that you can set them up from afar, and you can scale your business up as you go.
However, toll free numbers in the US weren’t actually portable at all until the early 80s. This means that up to 1981, they were tied to specific telecoms providers, meaning you used to have to go through specific customer support to access unique lines and call signs.
Toll free number formats differ wildly across the world, with 0800s being free in the UK, and 1-800s largely likewise in the US.
Toll-free numbers first came about in around 1966, when AT&T first developed the service. At this point in time, you were tied to an operator.
You should always be careful when calling a toll free number from a mobile phone or cellphone. While many packages include these lines in minutes you pay for, some will actually charge you extra. Keep your eyes peeled!
Do you know any interesting facts about toll free numbers? Share them in the comments below!