Business communications have come a long way since their introduction. From simple letters to magazine-like catalogues, phones, and then online communications—interacting with organisations has become easier over the past few decades.
This accessibility can be attributed to the technological advancements in communication systems. With each successive iteration, these systems are improving performance, decreasing prices, and making communications secure and more reliable than ever before.
The most recent introduction of cloud communications has changed the game. While many businesses have yet to shift their business operations on the cloud entirely, cloud communications have seen a rapid adoption rate.
With modern tools like smart Interactive Voice Response (IVRs) systems, missed call solutions, and robust automation tools, cloud communications are paving the way for the future of business communications.
The goal of cloud communications
As the world heads towards more digitisation, technological adoption seems to be the way of the future. Business success is now measured not solely on an organisation’s presence in the market but on how well they are reacting and adapting to the changing landscape.
While cloud communication services boast of benefits in all spheres—costs, operations, automation—the true goal of the tools of this service is to offer seamless interactions between businesses and customers.
For this, cloud communications bring to the market a range of features. Since its operations run via the Internet, the technology is more secure, cheaper, and requires little to no hardware knowledge for smooth workings.
A free phone number is one such service offered within the realm of cloud communications.
What are free phone numbers?
Free phone numbers are ubiquitous in today’s business communications. They are built on the premise of free calls for customers. Rather than billing the origin or source of calls, the costs for calls made to free phone numbers are borne by businesses. Thus, callers do not have to pay a penny!
There are various kinds of free phone numbers designed to serve the various requirements of a business. The broad categories are:
Domestic free phone numbers
These are primarily used by small businesses and startups hoping to expand their reach. Domestic free phone numbers allow calls within the UK or the country of your service provider completely free of charge.
Callers can identify these numbers in the UK by their distinct 0800 prefixes. All calls made to these numbers within the country are not charged at the origin.
Free phone numbers are extremely popular with support centres as they serve as post-sales service for customers and enable them to resolve their queries at no cost.
International free phone numbers
Businesses grow over time. While initial days are spent expanding reach within the native country, gradually, business leaders need to think of moving beyond their territorial borders.
And in this growth phase, a critical consideration is connecting with customers overseas. More importantly, how do they connect with you should they face any issues.
This is where International Phone Numbers come into the picture. Built on the same concept as domestic free phone numbers, these allow clients from anywhere in the world to make a call to your business, free of charge.
Another sub-category of International Phone Numbers is Universal International Free Phone Numbers (UIFN). These have the unique advantage of not being limited to a single country.
Unlike the other types of free phone numbers that are limited to one country, universal free phone numbers can be located in multiple countries. As long as they are registered in two different countries, businesses can receive calls without paying extra from any part of the world.
Vanity free phone numbers:
Have you ever seen a phone number that barely resembles a number?
You must have seen commercials that end with a person urging you to call wacky numbers like 0800-FLOWERS or 0800-CARS-4-YOU. These unique numbers are known as vanity numbers.
While they may look alpha-numeric, vanity phone numbers are plain numbers, easily dialled on a number pad. The reason for their form factor is the fact that following an alphanumeric format makes a contact number easy to recognise and remember.
Businesses that provide a particular service, such as a flower shop, can easily opt for a vanity free phone number and have people remember and associate the brand with that number.
Why your small business needs a free phone number
Going over the basic premise of free phone numbers, frugal business leaders would be clenching their purses. After all, businesses end up bearing the costs for all incoming calls made via these free phone numbers.
Then that begs the question—why should your small business, running on small capital, burn money on free phone services?
The answer lies in understanding how free phone numbers are beneficial to your business communications. More importantly, how the consumer perception of your brand changes when you employ one of these numbers.
Here are ten reasons why free phone numbers are the right investment for your small business:
Businesses, especially enterprises, have a free phone number on retainer. This is done not just to provide free calling services to customers but to build a serious and professional image in the minds of audiences.
Seeing a free phone number on a website relays the notion to users that the business takes concrete steps to provide good customer service.
Improve customer satisfaction and confidence
Imagine a therapist who would not charge you anything to not only listen to your problems but also provide you with quick and accurate solutions.
This is what a free phone number does for your customers.
It allows them to call your business for any issues they might face. This builds a sense of comfort in the minds of your customers as they feel they can reach out to your business at any time, from any place.
It also incentivises customers to reach out to your business and improves their satisfaction rates.
Phone numbers are tough to propagate. Not only can they be tough to memorise, but customers are also less likely to store business numbers on their personal mobile phones.
By deploying a free phone number, your small business has the advantage of being registered into the national directory of your country. This makes it much easier for customers to look up your number and for you to spread your number across the market.
Both domestic and international free phone numbers spread over large distances. This lets you stay in touch with existing customers and enable new customers to reach out to you without any costs.
As free phone numbers are not limited to an area code, they also present a larger-than-life image of the brand, allowing you to reach previously untapped markets.
This might seem unreal. However, if you calculate the total costs of incoming calls, you will find that free phone numbers are the more affordable option for your business communications.
With a trusted telephony provider like Acefone, you can get a free phone number for as little as £5 per user per month.
These low costs are a result of the cloud. Cloud communications transmit calls over the Internet, allowing you to reduce your calling costs drastically. You don’t even need to invest in bulky hardware or regular maintenance and updates—your service provider does the needful.
Grow with your business
The biggest concern small businesses have during their growth phase is staying connected with the influx of new customers. With a free phone number, this concern is a thing of the past.
Cloud-based free phone numbers allow you to increase or decrease the number of phone lines as and when your business scales up or down. The best part? All of this comes at a very reasonable cost.
So, you never have to worry about leaving your customers in the dark.
Free phone numbers are designed to increase the call inflow to your business. This might seem overwhelming to small businesses.
However, businesses can automate inbound call processes with modern tools like auto-attendants, virtual receptionists, and intelligent IVR systems. This not only saves time for agents to refer to callers with more serious queries but also ends up saving a lot of money for your business.
Businesses are not static. Companies can change their office spaces or move to a different city or location based on their growth path.
With traditional phone systems, this move can be tedious. However, as free phone numbers are cloud-based, these problems are not your concern.
As you move to a new location, your free phone number moves with you.
Easy to remember
Vanity free phone numbers, as mentioned above, have a unique alpha-numeric form. This helps businesses highlight their service and helps people remember them when the need arises.
Even free phone numbers that are not vanity numbers are much simpler and easier to remember.
Where can you use your free phone numbers?
While highlighting the benefits of free phone numbers is essential to building a strong case for its deployment, one must also understand where they can be used in business communications.
This use case is one of the most popular and widely used.
Businesses want to provide their customers with a good experience. While some may think that the duty of a business ends when a customer has made a purchase, it is actually where the relationship starts.
Post-sale services are crucial to maintaining and retaining customers for reselling opportunities. With free phone numbers, you can build this relationship without any strings attached.
With a free phone number, callers have an incentive to reach out to you for all sorts of information—product details, price, availability, or even exciting business opportunities.
Without customers having to spend any money to call your business, they are more inclined just to pick up the phone and contact you.
Free phone numbers have a role to play in your next marketing campaign. While you can lure interested customers in with the prospect of a free phone number on your marketing collateral, it can also give you insights into the success of your efforts.
Free phone numbers can create temporary extension lines associated with a particular campaign in a specific location. The number of calls on that extension can provide you with data on the success or failure of your marketing campaign.
Free phone numbers are one of the most convenient and affordable ways to expand the reach and increase your customer base. Being able to reach out to you at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world, completely free of charge is a privilege they will not forget.
While small businesses may not see the advantages of free phone numbers right away, the reasons above are sufficient enough to shift your focus to this service.
However, it is always important to first understand the requirements of your business communications before deploying any service. Other benefits like improved customer satisfaction, while appealing, are additional perks of a free phone number.
If your small business is looking to add more customers from different parts of your country, or the world, then a free phone number will do the trick. As more and more people reach out to your business by calling you on these numbers, there is a higher chance of more conversions.
Small businesses may choose to seek out local numbers during their initial days. However, in order to turn into an enterprise, you need to try your hand at free phone numbers.
Olivia is an outgoing person who enjoys writing, is an SEO enthusiast, and often interacts with others in intellectual conversations. She enjoys listening to music in her free time. Connect with her on Linkedin