For a business owner, company growth is always the goal. More clients in more locations buying more products or services is the fastest way to achieve this.
But when your business grows beyond your local customer base, you have one very large hurdle to overcome. You must ensure customers from diverse locations can reach you quickly, easily, and at no cost to them.
It isn’t practical to have different customer helplines for every location you’re in. It will be difficult for customers, and your employees won’t be able to efficiently or effectively manage phone calls and subsequent sales or service.
One way to avoid this scenario is with an 800 toll-free phone number. Having an 800 number implies a natural national presence. It makes your company look capable of serving customers everywhere, while also offering improved customer engagement, better credibility, and more successful customer service.
If you’re business is expanding, it’s time to get your own 800 toll-free number. Let me show you how with one of my favorite service providers—Nextiva.
What to Expect When Getting an 800 Toll-Free Phone Number
One of the best ways to get an 800 toll-free phone number is through Nextiva. But you can always do your own research to find a business phone service provider that meets your business and budget requirements the best.
Setting up the 800 number prefix, followed by assigning it to a dedicated line, can be carried out in four simple steps:
- Know Whether You Really Need an 800 Toll-Free Number
- Select the Right Business Phone Service Provider
- Set up the Toll-Free 800 Phone Number with Nextiva
- Assign User Extensions on Your 800 Toll-Free Number
Getting an 800 toll-free phone number may sound complicated, but the reality couldn’t be more different.
You can get the 800 number prefix—along with other toll-free variants like 866, 844, 888, and 833 quite easily. The only requirement is finding a good website or app that offers this service, and of course, the right guidance.
You’ll find vanity number brokers that can give you hard-to-find custom 800 numbers, virtual phone system providers that work with your existing phones as an extension, and full business VoIP phone services that use the local internet service to make and receive calls.
With so many options, it is easy to get a toll-free number you like and have customers and prospects calling you right away. But did you know you can use a toll-free number for other things, too?
For instance, you can utilize the service to keep track of your marketing ROI, send and receive faxes and SMS texts, and even set up a dedicated hotline in case of emergencies or for special events.
But even though 800 number service providers are seemingly everywhere, finding the one that best suits your business needs is where some difficulty comes in.
If you’re planning to buy an 800 business number prefix from the very first service that pops up on Google, please don’t. I repeat, stop.
You need a new (and better!) course of action that involves solid research.
You want to buy the phone number from a reliable service and get the best deal. Every provider has different rates and packages. Some offer a set number of minutes for a month, while others have a per-minute charge. It depends on the prospective provider.
You should focus on finding the right match for your business needs. But all that research can be time-consuming and tedious.
Also, there are several rules you should remember when getting a customized toll-free number. Some suggest including your brand name in the number (Eg: 1-800-XFINITY), while others claim that having action words (Eg: 1-800-GETLOAN) or repeating digits (Eg: 1-800–000NIKE) is better.
Finding a good toll-free number available for purchase might seem harder than trying to get the perfect domain name for your business. But don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to make sure you can get a toll-free phone number for your business with ease.
Step 1: Know Whether You Really Need an 800 Number
Not everything shiny is gold. You don’t necessarily need an 800 number just because your business rival has one.
Instead, you should spend time figuring out its relevance for your business, especially after considering your business niche and size. Below, we’ve made a list of potential questions to ask yourself to make the right decision.
Think About Your Business Size
Big businesses with offices in different parts of the country or those planning to expand outside their local boundaries should invest in an 800 business number. And while having toll-free numbers is a decades-old practice, it’s still quite relevant in today’s time.
Even with the explosion of mobile phones that include free nationwide calling as part of the monthly subscription, not every potential customer of yours has this option available. There are still plenty of potential clients out there who call from something other than their mobile phone.
With an 800 number, your customers won’t have to pay anything to call you. This eliminates a potential hurdle, making it more likely they will place a call and engage with your representatives. This can be particularly useful for developing and nurturing better long-term relationships with your clientele.
Think About Your Conversations With Customers
It also makes sense to get an 800 number when you spend a lot of time on the phone with customers.
Suppose you find that the average customer spends about 15 to 30 minutes on a call with your representatives. In such cases, having an 800 toll-free phone number that allows them to call for free can be very beneficial as they won’t have to worry about their phone bill.
However, if most of your customer dealings are online through ads or a chatbot, you may not need to invest the time, money, and energy into having an 800 number.
Question the Monetary Benefit of You Getting a Toll-Free Number
It makes no sense to invest money in getting an 800 toll-free number—or anything else—that doesn’t benefit your business.
In addition to the intangible effects of credibility and greater engagement, you should know whether the positives of getting the toll-free number is reflecting on the number of sales you make and the profit earned.
If not, this means the extra charge isn’t worth it, so you should discontinue it.
Step 2 — Select the Right Business Phone Service Provider
As mentioned before, you’ll find many companies that can provide you with a toll-free 800 number. Your priority should be to receive the best service and support possible from a reliable company that offers you the best deal.
You can get virtual phone numbers from a variety of places, but I suggest taking care of two problems at once.
Modernize your communications while getting a toll-free number by signing up with one of the best VoIP phone service providers.
Nextiva is my personal favorite, as it offers a full-fledged communications upgrade to just about anybody in business today. You get it all—voice and video calling, team chat, faxing, an auto attendant, voicemail-to-email notifications, and mobile and desktop apps—on its entry-level plan.
That basic plan, of course, also includes toll-free numbers for your organization. Pricing starts at $17.95 per user per month for teams of over 100, scaling up slightly in cost for fewer numbers of users.
Don’t necessarily take my word for it. I think Nextiva works best for just about anyone, but here are some other ways to find your best route to an 800 toll-free number.
Contact Your Current Service Provider
Start by contacting your existing service provider. It’s possible for you to get a better deal through them instead of setting an account with another service. Plus, it never hurts to give it a try!
Compare Rates and Quotes of the Different Providers
Find out about the different rates and packages of every service provider. You should know the minimum monthly payment for the fixed number of minutes.
If your service provider charges per minute, make sure you make the necessary calculations based on your typical consumer conversations.
A lot of modern VoIP providers don’t even bother charging for minutes, instead opting for a per-user monthly fee. For any provider you’re considering, just make sure to read the details closely to ensure it applies to the ways you make and receive calls.
Keep in mind that incoming calls from different regions have different charges. For instance, a call from a Canadian or European customer will cost a United States-based business more than a call from New York or Washington DC.
Analyze the Offered Features
Think about the kind of features that every service provider offers and, more importantly, the ones you need.
It’s worth comparing every potential phone provider on their feature sets, including digging into things like:
- How many local and/or toll-free numbers do I get with my service?
- Does this support voice and/or video conferencing?
- Can I use this as easily for outbound as inbound?
- Are the features beyond phone service, like collaboration tools, worth the price tag?
It’s best to select a feature package that includes everything to cover your basic requirements while fitting your estimated budget.
Step 3 — Set up the Toll-Free 800 Phone Number With Nextiva
Getting going with Nextiva is a piece of cake. Most of the process, you’ll be guided by a Nextiva rep to set everything up in minutes.
Still, let’s go through what you can expect when securing your 800 number from Nextiva.
There are a few different ways to get started, but they all arrive pretty much at the same point: you give some contact information and Nextiva will contact you to begin the process.
So, you can either select the plan that has the feature set you need and click Get a Demo (note that only the basic plan has a free trial period):
And then provide your name, email address, phone number, and basic company info (name and number of employees).
There’s also a helpful phone number if you’d like to connect with a real person quickly instead.
Or, you can jump straight to that same contact form anywhere on their site by clicking Get Started in the upper right-hand corner:
After that, the Nextiva reps will reach out to you via phone and email to guide you from there.
Get Your 800 Toll-Free Number Issued by Nextiva
During your onboarding, Nextiva will issue you a toll-free number automatically. There’s no extra work on your end. It comes automatically and for free with every plan.
The only real drawback here is that you don’t have as much control if you wanted a specific or vanity 800 number.
If that’s important to you, make sure to bring that up to your Nextiva agent, to see if they’re able to provide other available 800 numbers to choose from. It may not be that you have to go elsewhere to get 1-800-MATHWIZ for your accounting firm. They’ll work with you to make sure you start off with Nextiva on the right foot.
After finishing with your Nextiva representative, you’ll be able to sign into the platform and begin setting up user extensions on your new toll-free number.
The choice is yours.
Step 4 — Assign User Extensions on Your 800 Toll-Free Number
One thing you’ll want to do for inbound calling is assign reps extensions from your new 800 number on Nextiva.
You’ll first need to make sure all your phone system users are added. This is one of the first steps in your initial setup.
It’s straightforward, just click Users from the main Nextiva dashboard after you log in.
Then, just add each person’s first and last name, email address (which they’ll use as their Nextiva user ID), job role, and team. You’ll also need to assign them a license to use the Nextiva service.
After that, find the user in your user list and click Voice Setup from the drop-down menu labeled Actions to the right of their listing.
Select their home office location if you have multiple and then choose whether they will primarily be making calls in your office or from their home office or remote work location.
After that, choose your toll-free number from the drop-down menu and then set their personal direct line extension.
You can also set a forwarding number if ever the user’s phone goes offline.
Once you’re sure everything is set, you can proceed to receive calls, voicemails, and faxes from your customers through your new 800 toll-free business number from Nextiva.
Easy peasy, right?