Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?

 
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:52 PM   #1
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Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Felt like things were getting stale so going through a bit of a makeover. New logo, new site, lettering on my pick up, business cards, and yard signs for this year. Just not sure about my 888 number anymore.

Ive been using a my 888 phone number which is on both my cube vans that run the entire length of the truck for last 15 years. My pickup just has mags on doors with website on tailgate. Both vans are old so not gonna change up whats already on them because my luck ill wrap them and theyll die right after.

I also have a local number for where i live for local advertising and another local number that has been the company number since 1970 in a different county.(yes too many numbers) I personally dont think phone numbers matter anymore.

Part of me always felt like the 888 number might turn some people away cause might appear like im a bigger company when in reality im just a small local guy and thats how i present myself.

Is it time to get rid of the toll free number? Should i just pick one of the local numbers and use it exclusively? Will keep all numbers active but not sure if i want it on any of the new stuff.

The toll free number spells out "NO-SEAM" btw
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:01 PM   #2
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


IMO, toll free numbers are ancient technology....

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Old 08-13-2015, 11:46 PM   #3
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


I am more likely to call a local number than a tool free one. I can tell by the first digits after the area code what part of town they are from. I like to support my local nieghborhood when I can. Not saying a toll free number isn't local but it's not as personable appearing to me.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:56 AM   #4
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Toll free number = talk to impersonal sales person.
Local number = talk to helpful local person.

Completely in my imagination, probably, but I've always called the local number for that reason.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:58 AM   #5
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Most guys around here are on cell phones. If it is a landline prefix, I usually don't call, unless I am looking for shop work. I don't have time to wait for a call back.

Landline number nearly always are a message machine as guys are out working.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:06 AM   #6
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


I think your own comments pretty much spell it out. I agree with removing it from all your new material and dropping all promotion but keeping it active. The real question is how long to keep it active. The problem is the number of people who may have it stored who knows where for several years and pull it out when they need you, especially elderly HO's who prefer their life long methods of "filing" your contact info.

Obviously at some point the diminishing return will make it impractical to retain the 888 number so as long as your company name pops up right away in Google you should be golden.

For the record, I cast my vote as preferring local numbers over toll free. It's not only a perception issue, griz is right that they are mostly outdated except for large corporations. Long distance charges are rare on most phone services these days and even large companies don't really "need" them other than to reinforce the fact that they're a large company.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


In addition to what has already been said, the information age has caused the curtain to be pulled back. We are in a time when 800 numbers, PO Box addresses, answering services, vanity numbers, and having a television commercial no longer gives the public the eyewash it once did.

But I don't believe that the 800 number is completely obsolete. In a way it makes your number easy to remember because everyone knows the 800/888/877 area code. And then if your 7-digits spell something, all the better.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:58 AM   #8
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tedanderson View Post
In addition to what has already been said, the information age has caused the curtain to be pulled back. We are in a time when 800 numbers, PO Box addresses, answering services, vanity numbers, and having a television commercial no longer gives the public the eyewash it once did.



But I don't believe that the 800 number is completely obsolete. In a way it makes your number easy to remember because everyone knows the 800/888/877 area code. And then if your 7-digits spell something, all the better.

Only reason I got the number was because of exactly what you're talking about. Figured No-Seam would be easier to remember
Now I prefer the web address be huge with a small phone number

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Old 08-14-2015, 01:09 PM   #9
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


We use a local number 95% of the time. The only time I pull out the 800 number is for ads across multiple area codes.
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:10 PM   #10
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Some airline just did this. Most people are on cell phones and its going to save them like 2 million a year.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:51 AM   #11
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


I try not to use the 800 numbers as it was mentioned above I want the local Hampton Inn not the call center many states away.
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:27 AM   #12
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Thanks for all the replies. Will be keeping the 8NO-SEAM phone number but won't use it in any advertising or anywhere where I show an office phone number.

Now to the second problem. Do I use both local numbers that show the two different counties I'm located in or do I just pick one and really promote the web address to try to get people to contact me that way?
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:09 PM   #13
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


I have personally found that for whatever reason MY customer PHONE CALLS HAVE MANY DIFFERENT AREA CODES.
For that reason I would drop to but one number.
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Old 08-16-2015, 03:01 PM   #14
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NYgutterguy View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Will be keeping the 8NO-SEAM phone number but won't use it in any advertising or anywhere where I show an office phone number.

Now to the second problem. Do I use both local numbers that show the two different counties I'm located in or do I just pick one and really promote the web address to try to get people to contact me that way?
If not for tracking purposes one number would do you well enough.
You can mention the different areas where your services are offered via your advertisement.

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Old 08-16-2015, 06:05 PM   #15
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Framer53 View Post
I have personally found that for whatever reason MY customer PHONE CALLS HAVE MANY DIFFERENT AREA CODES.
Same here. In most cases, it's a cellular number. People move a lot more than they used to, and in most cases there's no good reason not to take your number with you.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:25 AM   #16
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Just like your website and the internet have evolved so have toll-free numbers. If you still think someone who sees a toll-free phone number is worried about whose paying for the call or that you are not a local company, then i need to ask if you still drive an el camino, perm your hair or rock a leisure suit? Joking aside that is a dated way of viewing them. Today toll-free numbers mean business and are more popular than ever. They now have 855 and 844, and will be introducing 833 (not that these are good like 800s and 888s but still, if no one is dialing them why do they keep introducing new ones?)

Today toll-free phone numbers convey two main concepts: 1) Customer service and (2) being established/professional. Your local number could be your cell phone. Who wants to give anything but the impression of being a solid and established company with an emphasis on customer service?

Here are some key factors to consider:

1. More people are holding onto their local cell phone numbers.. Last year it was reported that over 60% of people who moved kept their original cell phone number. People are putting less emphasis on local area codes and younger consumers don't view them as the older demographic has in the past. Having a toll-free number is unchanging and people recognize the toll-free prefixes (800, 888) no matter where they are from (even internationally).

2. Too many new area codes are being introduced and that means your local area code is not as significant as it once was. Since 1995 there have been over 241 new area codes introduced. See here: http://www.nationalnanpa.com/enas/npaSince1995Report.do. The FCC plans on releasing another 22 (see here: http://www.nationalnanpa.com/enas/pl...rviceReport.do). They put these new area codes right on top of the old ones creating an overlay. This makes dialing local numbers more confusing but it's the only solution the government can do to keep up with all the new devices requiring phone numbers.

3. Emphasis on a website is not an immediate call to action or a direct response tool. I don't know about you but i want people who see my trucks and ads to react immediately. A phone number, especially a high quality vanity number, gives them something immediate and unforgettable. They can't search your site while they are driving and many will forget it by the time they reach their destination. There are so many website URLs out there that people do not recall them at the same rate they do a vanity number like 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-888-FENCING. Secondly, most people are not typing in your proper URL into the address bar, they are Googling it. This in turn leads them to a lot of other things, including competitors, national directory/lead sites and review sites which may or may not be in your favor (that is an issue for an entirely different thread). A phone number is direct and immediate response. The more phone calls you get the more opportunities you have to sell. I want to increase my phone calls because I know i am most likely to make a sale with someone i speak too versus a click, a like or tweet.

One final note is that i don't think a random number does much. But since you have a vanity number it makes a lot of sense.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:17 PM   #17
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Quote:
Originally Posted by bradcoopersmith View Post
Just like your website and the internet have evolved so have toll-free numbers. If you still think someone who sees a toll-free phone number is worried about whose paying for the call or that you are not a local company, then i need to ask if you still drive an el camino, perm your hair or rock a leisure suit? Joking aside that is a dated way of viewing them. Today toll-free numbers mean business and are more popular than ever. They now have 855 and 844, and will be introducing 833 (not that these are good like 800s and 888s but still, if no one is dialing them why do they keep introducing new ones?)



Today toll-free phone numbers convey two main concepts: 1) Customer service and (2) being established/professional. Your local number could be your cell phone. Who wants to give anything but the impression of being a solid and established company with an emphasis on customer service?



Here are some key factors to consider:



1. More people are holding onto their local cell phone numbers.. Last year it was reported that over 60% of people who moved kept their original cell phone number. People are putting less emphasis on local area codes and younger consumers don't view them as the older demographic has in the past. Having a toll-free number is unchanging and people recognize the toll-free prefixes (800, 888) no matter where they are from (even internationally).



2. Too many new area codes are being introduced and that means your local area code is not as significant as it once was. Since 1995 there have been over 241 new area codes introduced. See here: http://www.nationalnanpa.com/enas/npaSince1995Report.do. The FCC plans on releasing another 22 (see here: http://www.nationalnanpa.com/enas/pl...rviceReport.do). They put these new area codes right on top of the old ones creating an overlay. This makes dialing local numbers more confusing but it's the only solution the government can do to keep up with all the new devices requiring phone numbers.



3. Emphasis on a website is not an immediate call to action or a direct response tool. I don't know about you but i want people who see my trucks and ads to react immediately. A phone number, especially a high quality vanity number, gives them something immediate and unforgettable. They can't search your site while they are driving and many will forget it by the time they reach their destination. There are so many website URLs out there that people do not recall them at the same rate they do a vanity number like 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-888-FENCING. Secondly, most people are not typing in your proper URL into the address bar, they are Googling it. This in turn leads them to a lot of other things, including competitors, national directory/lead sites and review sites which may or may not be in your favor (that is an issue for an entirely different thread). A phone number is direct and immediate response. The more phone calls you get the more opportunities you have to sell. I want to increase my phone calls because I know i am most likely to make a sale with someone i speak too versus a click, a like or tweet.



One final note is that i don't think a random number does much. But since you have a vanity number it makes a lot of sense.

Thanks for the great post and confusing me even more


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Old 08-17-2015, 02:24 PM   #18
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


Sorry if it was confusing. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you before you changed your marketing. I ultimately want to drive people to call me. Another thing to mention is that promoting your vanity number is good for referrals as well. People likely don't have your business card on them when a referral opportunity arises so have a super easy to remember phone number helps.
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:21 PM   #19
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


It really is a tough call and maybe it is best to survey your past customers to see what they have to say about it. It also depends if you are trying to become a big company. If so, then I would say keep it. Some people are drawn to a big strong company over little ones and some people stay away from big companies to support local guys.

I would survey first and then decide. You could maybe do the best of both worlds. Have the vanity number for easy remembering and have a subhead or tagline with emphasis on the fact that you are a local small business owner and not some giant multi location business.
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:48 AM   #20
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Re: Time To Dump The Toll Free Number?


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It really is a tough call and maybe it is best to survey your past customers to see what they have to say about it. It also depends if you are trying to become a big company. If so, then I would say keep it. Some people are drawn to a big strong company over little ones and some people stay away from big companies to support local guys.

I would survey first and then decide. You could maybe do the best of both worlds. Have the vanity number for easy remembering and have a subhead or tagline with emphasis on the fact that you are a local small business owner and not some giant multi location business.
You mean something like this?

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