With flat rate calling plans and little to no long distance fees on the standard phone line or cell phone plan, you may wonder if toll-free numbers still matter for your small business.

Even though your customers aren’t worried about long distance fees like they used to be, there are still several good reasons to use a toll-free number for your business line:

  • Enhanced credibility – 1-800 numbers have always been associated with larger companies. Even if you’re a start-up, using this kind of number may help you make the right impression with customers from the start. Just by glancing at your number, they’ll know that your company is likely to be around for the next year at least, which can make them more comfortable and confident in doing business with you.
  • Improved branding – With a 1-800 number you can get creative with your branding and use a vanity number (e.g., 1-800-BYE-PEST for a pest control company). Not only can a vanity number reflect what your business does, it also helps your company become more memorable. Customers are likely to remember your number the next time they need your products or services.
  • More flexibility – Toll-free numbers allow you and your staff to accept calls on any phone line you wish – cell phones, office land lines or even your home phone – and customers won’t be the wiser. You can stay more flexible and don’t have to feel chained to the desk – and customers will never need to know your mobile number or call a variety of different numbers in order to reach you or your staff.
  • Better customer service – A vanity toll-free number that is easy to remember can help your customers get the help they need when they need it. Although many issues can be resolved on your website or through email, some customers will still expect the personal touch from a phone call. If there’s no easy way for them to reach you, you may lose out on a sale or on the opportunity to fix a problem they are having.
  • Expanded coverage area – With a 1-800 number, your business identity isn’t tied to a particular city or region. If your business has a national or international scope of potential, it’s important to keep your options open. With a toll-free number, your West Coast customers won’t be hesitant to call your New York-based company, or vice versa.

Should you have a toll-free number for your business? It all depends on your goals. If your company is small, local and thrives on the perception that you’re there to serve a particular city, a regular business line might do fine. But if you want to provide the best in customer service and accessibility for your customers, toll-free numbers still matter for your business.