You’re looking for a new business phone number. Before jumping in head first, it’s best to understand your options. For small businesses, virtual numbers are extremely cost-effective and can be customized to fit a business' location, services and professional needs. They also allow you, as a business owner, to choose what you need, when you need it and easily make any changes along the way.
So now that you’re convinced virtual numbers are the best place to start, how do you decide whether to go with an 800 phone number vs. a local phone number? Here are some pointers on determining what's right for your business:
800 Phone Numbers
Also known as toll-free numbers, 800 phone numbers are an excellent choice for businesses with customers who live and work beyond their local area – like an ecommerce site, for example. An 800 phone number allows customers from all over to call your business for free, they are also, in most cases, easier to remember and can provide credibility by making your business appear larger and more established. Another benefit is that by having an 800 number, you're not showing a preference towards a specific region -- all customers are welcome to place an order.
Local numbers are phone numbers that are assigned based on geographic location. People and businesses around you probably share similar digits, so if you’re a company that does business exclusively within a certain area, it can be better to present your number within that area code to signal to customers that you only serve that region. Keeping with a local number can instill confidence in your customer base and provide a sense of “hometown pride” with which an 800 phone number or out of area number just can’t compete.
In some cases, businesses don’t fit exclusively in one category or the other. If it sounds like your company could benefit from a combination of both types of phone numbers, then securing an 800 phone number and a local number could prove successful. By assigning a toll free number for inbound calls and using local numbers for outbound calls, customers calling you professional support features, while prospects receive calls from representatives who appear to be from their area.