Do online companies need toll free numbers?
October 2, 2009 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Do online companies need 800 numbers if most of their sales are online from their website?
posted by ckohrman to Work & Money (14 answers total)
 
Nope.
posted by torquemaniac at 1:15 PM on October 2, 2009


I think it would depend upon what is being sold, and who the typical customer is.
posted by contessa at 1:18 PM on October 2, 2009


No, but why not offer a toll-free way for your customers to get in touch?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2009


Depends on why you think people are going to be calling you. If it's to place orders, putting a barrier like toll call in front of them may not be smart.

OTOH, who doesn't have a cell phone with free long distances now?
posted by smackfu at 1:32 PM on October 2, 2009


From my perspective, I offer a 1-800 number so that my customers can call me without being charged. 100% of my customers are other businesses so they don't necessarily have the option of calling me with free nation wide long distance plan on their cell phones.

We offer the vast majority of ordering online also but they sure do like to call.
posted by Gravitus at 1:33 PM on October 2, 2009


I think it makes you look more professional. If I'm calling somewhere, a toll-free # makes it seem more like a big, national company rather than a rinky-dink mom-and-pop shop.
posted by radioamy at 1:38 PM on October 2, 2009


In this era of cell phones, the concept of long distance calling has all but disappeared. So... 1-800 numbers are irrelevant. Phone numbers in general still matter a lot.

I suppose the real question is: how many of your customers have land-lines?
posted by 2oh1 at 3:46 PM on October 2, 2009


All things being equal; I will buy from a company with a 1-800 number. If company X and copy Y have the same product, but company x has a 1800#, and company y is 5% cheaper, I will buy from company x.

It is still relevant -- costs aside -- it makes you seem less fly-by-night.
posted by SirStan at 5:47 PM on October 2, 2009


What are you selling? A toll-free number costs $2/month. If having one gains you even one sale over the entire life of your company, you'll probably have come out ahead by having it.
posted by dmd at 6:39 PM on October 2, 2009


(Yes, $2/month is right.)
posted by dmd at 6:40 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dude. $2/month? KEEP IT - even if just because it makes your business look important (which, by the way, it does. It makes you look big-time). When I made my comment above, I assumed 1-800 numbers cost far more than they apparently do. dmd and sirstan are so right. For just $24 a year, that's a steal! If you're paying a lot more than that, I'd definitely dump it and switch to a number for just $2/mo.

Cheers!
posted by 2oh1 at 8:56 PM on October 2, 2009


Yes, you want an 800 number. Some customers will use it and appreciate it; most won't use it, but it will convey a message of legitimacy. You are selling things on the web. You need cred.
posted by mumkin at 1:27 AM on October 3, 2009


Some customers just prefer to place their orders via phone; you don't want to create a barrier for those customers, even if it's only a perceived barrier.
posted by girlstyle at 3:22 PM on October 3, 2009


I formerly sold toll free numbers, among other things. Don't necessarily purchase the one that has the lowest monthly fee. The most relevant cost of toll free numbers is the per minute fee. Chances are they're doing "double leg" billing (charging you per minute for the call hitting the toll free number and then another per minute fee when it dials out to the destination number). Also investigate the terms of their contract (if any, since many places sell month to month).

As far as whether it helps your business... yes, it does. There are still a lot of odd luddites out there. My father refuses to use his credit card online even though I've tried to explain many times that there is nothing inherently safer about the phone or at a store.
posted by groovinkim at 11:12 AM on December 3, 2009


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