How a Toll-Free Number Can Help Your Business
Whether you’re a business owner who sells products or services, chances are that you’ll put a customer on hold when another call or customer comes in. And then, when you finally get around to answering the phone, or paying attention to that customer, the worst thing happens. They ask something so simple and easy to find that you wonder why you even bother to respond. It could be a question like “Are you open?” when it’s 11am on a weekday and all of your lights are on. Or a question like “what hours are you open?” when the bright red store hours sign is staring them in the face.
Sure, these questions are simple and may seem like no big deal to those who don’t run a business. But after awhile, questions like this can test your sanity…and your patience. One cheap way to keep you sane and avoid such nonsense is a free local or toll free number for your business. It can help your business directly and your spirit – so that you can focus on the things that matter - like that guacamole recipe you just found on the Internet.
Here are three other reasons (that may/may not involve guacamole):
- It's a cheap alternative to physically picking up the phone.
If you have a regular phone in your shop and a toll-free number that customers call, your call volume will probably diminish. And this is a good thing. It prevents you from having to stop whatever work you’re doing to answer a call that may be better handled by automation. After a busy day, it’s no surprise that you’d rather throw that throw pillow against the wall (because a throw pillow is the most appropriate thing to throw, anyway). But then you’d have to invest in luxurious (and often unnecessary) items like a throw pillow. And you’re a busy business owner. You don’t have time for that. But a toll-free number? Now you’re talking. It alleviates stress – and it’s cheaper than that obnoxiously large throw pillow that you never liked anyway.
- It fields your work calls.
A toll free number is a great way to take extra calls. This frees up the work phone for both your use and your employees – while preventing valuable time being wasted running to and from (and possibly tripping!) to answer the telephone. Most toll free numbers are operated from a separate site away from the business. But be careful. Just because your phone calls get routed through Hawaii doesn't mean that you should answer each call with “Aloha!” Unless your business is actually in Hawaii or you’re selling surfboards under the sun, then answering your phone in a more professional way is probably the way to go. Just don’t be too uptight. Smile when you answer the phone to let your customers know that you want to hear from them (even though you’re secretly wishing you were in Hawaii. They’ll never have to know).
- The auto-receptionist feature
A lot of telephone calls that businesses receive are meant to inquire about common company information. This would include calls about services offered, hours of operation, or questions about a product or service. A toll-free number can act as a first line of defense which can offer common information up front and keep the normal phone line free. Customers can Press 1 for Store Hours and Press 2 for Sales. Allowing your auto-receptionist to run the show is pretty simple. And it saves your soul from the mundane. Just be sure that those calls can get routed to a human stat if a customer needs extra attention. The worst thing you can do is to keep an already irate customer on hold.
Bonus Reason #4: Credit card machines
For those of us who still require a phone line to dial in to the credit card company for authorization, a toll free number can be a lifesaver and a moneymaker. Yes, you can save a life and make money all in one. Fielding calls while you’re using the phone line to ring in sales is business bliss.
A toll-free number frees your soul so that you can keep calm and email that amazing guacamole recipe to your friend. While the avocados in that guacamole are both a fruit and a vegetable, you are not in fact, a machine and a human. Focus your efforts on being human. Your customers can wait. But the guacamole can’t.