In today’s modern world, effective communication is the key to surviving in the market for any business, irrespective of its size. And when making phone calls, two popular choices are available: local and toll-free virtual numbers.
But do you know the differences between toll free and local virtual numbers? It is vital to know the difference between them and their unique features to decide which one best suits your call center.
The absence of a toll-free virtual number may result in missed communication with potential customers who prefer free communication. Likewise, customers might feel frustrated and hesitant to contact a local virtual number if they believe it won’t offer the desired support.
In this article, you will find the differences between toll free and local virtual numbers that will solve any doubts you have. By gaining knowledge about their differences, you can make a good choice that satisfies your business goals and customer preferences.
Advantages of Toll Free Numbers for Call Centers
A cloud-based toll-free number is a popular choice for call centers wishing to boost their customer service, sales, and marketing efforts.
In this section, we will see how toll-free numbers help call centers flourish. Following are some key advantages that toll-free virtual numbers provide to call centers:
1. Enhance Accessibility
A toll-free number enhances accessibility by eliminating geographical barriers and making it easier for customers to reach call centers from different regions. And increased accessibility means increased customer satisfaction, which promotes new sales and improves customer service at the call center.
2. Increased Customer Engagement
Toll-free numbers fill the communication gap between call center agents and customers. While calling through a toll-free virtual number, the person who receives the incoming calls (call recipient) must pay the charges rather than the person who makes the outgoing calls (caller/ dialer).
As a result, customers can make a call whenever they face a problem without paying a call-related charge. This direct communication helps build a stronger relationship between the parties involved.
Likewise, a good relationship with customers means a chance to attract more customers and ultimately increase sales.
3. Marketing and Advertising Campaign
Toll-free numbers are an effective marketing and advertising tool. Call centers can analyze the incoming call volume and conversions to track the effectiveness of each campaign by using toll-free numbers for different campaigns.
Based on this data, businesses can optimize their marketing efforts and allocate resources effectively, resulting in higher profits.
Cloud-based toll-free numbers are a cost-effective solution for a call center that makes and receives hundreds of calls daily. It’s because it follows the principle of pay-as-you-go, and a call center can decide what features to include.
Similarly, it is cheaper than local telephone lines as you don’t need to pay for the physical infrastructure like hardware and maintenance charges. You also don’t need to pay roaming charges while making international calls from the USA or Canada.
5. Improve Call Center Image
When customers can call your call center to share their problems without charge, it creates a positive image among customers that your call center is willing to provide excellent customer service, automatically increasing your brand image.
Likewise, a toll-free virtual number is a widely used business phone number, giving the impression that your call center is professional and well-established.
Disadvantages of Toll-Free Numbers for Call Centers
Everything has good and bad aspects. While a toll-free number has many benefits for call centers, there are also certain drawbacks. Below are some of the disadvantages of toll-free numbers for call centers:
Call Quality Issues
A virtual toll-free phone number operates through Wi-Fi. Hence, it requires good internet connectivity to make and receive a call. That means poor internet connections and network congestion affect the quality of calls between two individuals.
The problems seen in the call quality can be dropped calls, delays, or poor audio quality that negatively impact customer service.
Since a caller doesn’t have to pay for calls, your company might get calls from people who aren’t interested in your products or services. Some customers might call because it’s a toll-free number and they have free time, not because they want to buy anything.
What Is the Differences Between Toll free and Local Virtual Numbers?
The key difference between local and toll-free phone numbers is as follows:
|Characteristics||Toll-free virtual number||Local virtual number|
|Geographical coverage||Covers the whole city or area of a country.||Covers a specific city or area of the country.|
|Call coverage||It isn’t bound to a specific area code and allows customers to reach businesses from any city in a country and even overseas.||It has a local area code and allows customers to call within that area at a certain cost.|
|Call charges||The caller doesn’t pay for the call. The recipient of the incoming calls needs to bear the cost.||The caller needs to pay the call charges.|
|Usage||Businesses use toll-free numbers for call centers, customer support, helplines, and marketing campaigns.||A local company uses local numbers to connect with local audiences and specific local markets.|
|Vanity number||A toll-free virtual number can be used as a vanity number. Users can customize the phone number with both alphabets and numbers. For example, 800 – 12PIZZA.||This facility isn’t available with a local number.|
|Prefix||Starts with a specific prefix like 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833.||Starts with a local area code like 212, 646, and 718 (New York), 862 and 973 (Newark), 416 (Toronto), 905, 807, 705, 647, and 613 (Ontario), etc.|
Cost Comparison with Local Virtual Numbers
The pricing of toll-free and local numbers in the USA, and Canada depends on various factors, like the service provider you choose and the unique features and services you add.
Usually, the set-up cost of both phone numbers ranges from $10 to $20.
Toll-Free Numbers: The monthly cost of a toll-free number ranges from $10 to $30, while per-minute charges can vary between $0.02 and $0.03 or more.
Local numbers: The monthly cost of local numbers ranges from $5 to $10.
In conclusion, toll-free numbers are more expensive than local virtual phone numbers.
Call Center Case Studies
This section contains information on the NBFC company that used traditional phone services and then shifted to the virtual toll-free number.
The NBFC faced challenges with its inbound call center due to many landline numbers and a manual call routing system, resulting in high call abandonment rates. The situation worsened during the pandemic when employees had to use personal cell phones to connect with customers while working from home.
To address these issues, a toll-free number with advanced features like multi-level IVR, call recording, call monitoring, business SMS, global call forwarding, and analytics was implemented.
This cloud-based toll-free virtual number improved business insights, allowed customers to connect with support agents more efficiently, and enhanced engagement and satisfaction levels. The toll-free number also helped the company expand its reach, save costs, and strengthen its brand image.
Moreover, the company sees a 300% increase in the call flow, 50% smooth call access, 75% easy routing of calls, 100% satisfaction level, 25% easy access to data, and a 45% decrease in call drop rates after employing toll-free numbers.
How to Choose the Right Type of Virtual Number for Your Call Center
Many call centers are now shifting to virtual numbers after getting the idea of virtual phone numbers and the benefits they provide to businesses. However, there are many things to consider when choosing the right type of number for your call center.
Below are a few suggestions that can help you to make a wise decision:
Call centers should be very clear about the specific region they want to serve. After that, they can choose a number that covers the desired geographic regions. For example, a local phone number is best for them if they focus on local markets and receive local calls.
Decide on the number type
There are various virtual numbers, like local phone numbers, toll-free numbers, mobile numbers, national, international, vanity numbers, and others. These types of virtual numbers are different from each other.
For instance, if you want to gain the trust of local customers and build a local presence, a local virtual number is the best option. In contrast, virtual international toll-free numbers are the best option if you want to create a bigger presence and better customer support.
Features and Functionality
It is necessary to evaluate the services and facilities included in a virtual number while selecting the best virtual phone number for your call center. These services include call routing, interactive voice response (IVR) menus, call recording, and seamless integration with various systems.
It is necessary to carefully examine the pricing structures of various virtual phone number providers, like setup charges, monthly call charges, call rates, and any extra features. Doing so lets you select a virtual number that aligns with your budget.
By considering the above factors, a call center can select the best virtual number that satisfies your unique requirements and enhances customer service.
Although toll free and local virtual numbers are cloud-based and can be accessed through mobile phones and laptops, both have their own pros and cons. It is crucial to know the difference between toll-free virtual numbers and local virtual numbers to help you choose the best virtual phone system for call center.
By understanding the difference between virtual local and toll-free numbers, you can establish a strong market presence, manage incoming and outgoing calls, and enhance customer satisfaction. And this article will help you to gain knowledge on this topic.