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If you’re a small business or a startup, you know the importance of the right small business phone number. But if you were to choose a small business phone number, should you go with a local or a toll-free number? What is the best number for your business?
The small business phone number you choose should make it easy for customers and your business associates to get in touch with you. But from a local and toll-free number, which one should your small business phone number be?
As the name implies, local numbers are linked to specific locations. When you get a local number, you’ll get an area code that corresponds with your locality. People in the region would know that the phone number is based there. The business doesn’t have to pay for incoming calls on a local number, it will be charged to the caller.
A toll-free number doesn’t reveal the location of your business to the caller. Their codes are not linked to any region. Businesses will have to pay for both incoming and outgoing calls on a toll-free number. This is the reason they’re used as customer support numbers or in marketing campaigns.
If you’re trying to decide whether a local or toll-free number would suit your business, the most important factor should be the kind of communication you expect with the number.
If you have customers or clients in a specific locality or city
If you want to associate your business with the locality it operates in
If you want to build personal relationships with your customers
If you want to differentiate your small business from national or international brands
If you want customers or clients from different regions or cities to contact you
If you don’t want to charge your customers or clients for the calls
If you want your business to seem bigger and more credible
If you’re launching a marketing campaign and expect customers to call you
If you want a specific number for customer support
When choosing your small business phone number, you should be aware of these advantages and disadvantages of local and toll-free numbers:
Makes your business seem local and relatable
Increases brand awareness in the region
Calls to local numbers have greater chances of being answered
Can make your business seem trustworthy
Your customers or clients will have to pay for their calls
Makes your business seem small
It doesn’t cost callers anything
Makes your business seem larger
Increases your credibility
Increases customer satisfaction if used for customer support
Customers can treat calls from toll-free numbers as telemarketing or spam
Not location-specific and so may be perceived as unreliable
May make the business seem impersonal
If you operate a local, independent business with customers limited to a particular region, a local phone number is your ideal option. Through the area code, people will identify your business as one from their locality, which will make you seem reliable.
If you have a physical store or office in the region, a local phone number should be your choice. Even if you don’t have a physical presence but do have customers in a locality, a local phone number can be your option since it will link you to the area.
If you have a wider consumer base spread across the country, you should go for a toll-free number. This will help you support your customers who won’t be limited by a local number.
Toll-free numbers are also the preferred option if you plan to expand your business to different locations. Even before your product or service hits other markets, a toll-free number would make you seem bigger and give you legitimacy.
Among the smarter alternatives to traditional phone systems, virtual numbers are now preferred by small businesses.
Chalkboard is highly affordable and comes with additional business features such as auto-reply which lets you send pre-written texts to missed calls. Sign up today for a free trial and you’ll discover all the reasons to make it your small business phone number.
Chalkboard gives you all the business phone number and messaging features you need, without a phone system.
No contracts, no SIM cards, and no configuration. Just install the app and go!
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The pros and cons of using local phone numbers for your small business – plus a smarter alternative