Are you thinking about improving your brand value with virtual phone numbers? Confused about whether you should go for a toll-free phone number or local phone number? Well, this article should help you understand your requirements and make an educated decision on which service suits your best.

There are two ways to look at it. Toll-free numbers and local phone numbers offer two different value propositions for customers. While the digital landscape is fast evolving, offline communication is still pretty much dependent on telecom, whether it’s landline or smartphones. Despite the increase in interest around chatbots, people still prefer talking to companies to have their problem solved.

A report by Mountain Marketing Group suggests that 90% of United States customers have had experience with toll-free numbers. Generally, customers trust a toll-free number to be professional and associate it with a reputed brand. However, local phone numbers too inspire confidence and often help customers to relate with the brand. But then which is better suited for you?

What Is The Difference Between Local Phone Numbers and Toll-Free Numbers?

Local phone numbers are identified with an area code and region or state code. This area code can be based on the PIN or ZIP code of the location of the phone number. The state code identifies the state in which the registered phone number exists. As a result, a local mobile number is generally identified with a local presence.

On the other hand, a toll-free number usually has 1800 codes which makes them national numbers. Unlike local numbers, it’s not possible to identify the origin location of a toll-free number. However, a toll-free number is generally viewed as universally available and easily relatable with national or international businesses.

One of the primary differences between local and toll-free numbers is that when a customer calls a local number, he bears the cost. However, there’s no cost attributable to the customer for calling a toll-free number. This is one of the main reasons why toll-free numbers first gained popularity. It transferred the cost of a call from the customers to the companies, essentially making it a free service for the customers. While customers were previously opposed to calling (since outgoing calls were expensive when toll-free numbers first came in), they could now get in touch with their retailer without spending a penny and understand their problems resolved.

How To Choose The Right US Virtual Phone Number Service For Your Business?

Whether you take on a local or a toll-free virtual phone number depends on your needs and how you want customers to approach your business. The first step should be to take a look at your business and identify how you want your customers to visualize your brand. You might want to be the next-door-neighbor-who-went-national brand or the big-guy-that-came-local brand.

These aren’t the only two perceptions of the industry. A lot of it will depend on the objectives, mission and value system in the organization. Once you know how your company wants to be identified in front of the customers, you can then adopt customer service methodologies which serve that particular purpose. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of both these options.

Difference Between Local Phone Number & Toll Free Number

All There Is To Know About Local Phone Numbers

Local phone services are generally used by businesses or services that exist in your local surroundings. It indicates the existence of a company that is dedicated to serving that particular location. As a result, when customers look at a local number, their first reaction is to trust the brand since it belongs to their locality. In a 2013 survey by Accenture, 89% of the customers mentioned getting frustrated at dealing with multiple call handlers.

However, at the same time, it can be expensive and logistically difficult to maintain separate numbers for each locality in a country. On the other hand, while a local number can endear a business to the natives, it can also alienate customers belonging to another locality.

Another issue that remains with local phone numbers is that calls made to these numbers are payable by the caller. As a result, any customer service or inquiry calls made by customers are not free of cost. But, it’s easier to maintain for organizations. The upfront and maintenance cost for local numbers are lesser than vanity numbers. As a result, companies tend to save on costs when investing in local numbers.

All There Is To Know About Toll-Free Numbers

Now, if you’re looking for international or US virtual numbers, especially for customer service teams, you’ll generally opt for toll-free numbers. As the name suggests, toll-free numbers do not incur any cost to the customer.  

These numbers are mostly identified with global or national brands. The numbers are usually formed in a way to help customers quickly identify and remember them. These US virtual phone numbers are easily accessible from landlines, smartphones and VoIP phones alike.  

It allows the brand to grow its influence and exert brand awareness on its customers and market demographic. It shows the customers that the company is willing to invest in customer welfare and take up the cost for the customer to call the company. In a recent study by PwC, respondents mentioned ‘trust in a brand’ as one of the top three reasons to shop with a brand.

However, toll-free numbers are also generic. This means that lacks the personal touch of local numbers. As a result, if you’re business wants to remain relatable to a particular area or locality, then the toll-free number is not suited.

Final Thoughts

A local number allows you to gain trust and build a connection with the local community. On the other hand, the toll-free numbers are used to target a wider audience and develop brand awareness. Based on how you view your business, you can now take the best call for your business. Get your US virtual phone number with CallHippo now!

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