Recently, nearly every telephone company has begun offering toll free number with no set-up fee or monthly charge to the owner. A business can offer toll free service to customers and pay nothing except the actual cost of each call. (Some telephone companies have a monthly minimum, however.)
Providing toll free number service to customers and potential customers certainly has its benefits, but there are also a few drawbacks.
When you place an ad (whether print, Yellow Pages, radio or TV),offering a toll free number makes it easy for the customer to pick up the phone and call you long-distance at no charge to themselves. This allows you (the business they are calling) to take advantage of the “spontaneity effect.” Many customers either will respond immediately to an ad, or tell themselves that they will “get to it later.” Later seldom comes, of course, and they never end up calling you. In this respect, a toll free number can reduce one of the barriers preventing a customer from spontaneously picking up the phone. This can increase your business.
Some companies have found that using a toll free number in an advertisement may produce more calls, but may reduce the “quality” of each call. Stated another way, allowing potential customers to contact a toll free number may reduce the dollar amount of sales generated on a “per-call basis”. Most direct research has shown that when ads included only regular telephone numbers. For which potential customers would have to pay. For the long-distance call themselves, a higher dollar return per call is generated. This is probably because people are more likely to simply pick up the phone. For a quick chat or to ask an idle question if they don’t have to pay for the call.
If you have a business that benefits from ongoing relationships with customers (meaning that such a relationship produces repeat sales). A toll free number may make it more attractive for customers to keep in touch with you.
In some instances there may be cost disadvantages from making toll free calling available to your customers. Some business owners feel that. “If a customer is going to call, they’ll call whether it’s toll-free or not”. This is especially true if many of the calls from ongoing customers are not sales related. If a customer can use a toll-free number anytime that he or she wants a little information. A business may receive a lot of calls that eat up employee time. (This is why many computer and electronic companies, for example, offer toll-free numbers for sales but not for technical support.)
Every business and every industry is different. So a business owner will need to weigh the overall advantages and disadvantages of. Offering toll free number both to potential customers and ongoing established customers.