Toll-free phone numbers offer an important sales and marketing tool for small business owners.
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In the "old days", 800 numbers were pricey, reserved for companies who had the cash flow and revenues to sustain them. But today, toll-free numbers are widely available and affordable for most small businesses.
The widespread availability of toll-free numbers has resulted in a significant number of toll-free number providers in the marketplace. Some of these providers focus exclusively on toll-free number services while others offer them as part of a comprehensive communication platform.
Toll-free providers differentiate themselves according to the features they provide to their customers. Features like number portability and no contract requirements are standard. But other features vary by provider. Here's a look at a few providers and the features they offer to their business customers.
Kall8 promotes itself as a fully integrated toll-free service. They offer traditional 800 numbers with powerful online tools for tracking and managing your company's 800 numbers in real time. Web-based features are becoming more common, but this seems to be the area where Kall8 has staked its claim. Their service lets business customers instantly activate, forward and view calls, and analyze marketing campaign results online.
Verizon is a good example of a toll-free provider that offers a comprehensive array of communication services. Their reporting features are attractive, allowing customers to view calls by the location/number of origin, call duration and separate 800 number sorts. The most appealing aspect of Verizon's service is that incoming calls are billed at the same rate as Verizon's long-distance plan and can be used to fulfill minimum long distance plan spending requirements.
Grasshopper is a toll-free service provider that focuses its offerings on entrepreneurs and small-business owners. The services they offer are extremely comprehensive. On-hold music, online management, call reporting & routing, etc. – you'll find it all at grasshopper as well as the option of purchasing a feature that converts voicemail to text messages.
There are tons of other providers in the marketplace. GotMail, Vonage, Phone People, and TollFreeNumber.org are just a few of the ones worth considering.