Friday, April 30, 2010

Better Call Handling and Management

A phone call is a very valuable communication event for every business. In fact, a phone call is as important as the products or services a company offers because it is a source for information, inquiries or orders.

Some companies are even taking advantage of putting up multiple phone lines to ensure that no calls will be missed. But this setup does not guarantee every caller to always reach the business without hearing a busy signal especially if some callers are engaged in lengthy phone calls. As a matter of fact the use of too many lines is also a waste of money.

Fortunately, there are ideal phone systems that provide powerful and efficient call management tools that will also eliminate the requirement for multiple telephone lines:

Auto-Attendant – provides a voice menu system that assists a caller in reaching the proper extension or contact. Some auto attendant system even allows a caller to reach a human operator by pressing a certain key.

Call Forwarding – responsible for the call management and the rerouting of calls to the proper extension or contact. It works in conjunction with the auto attendant feature.

Music/Message On Hold – catches the attention of callers, on wait, by playing music or messages. Some companies take advantage of this feature by employing it as a marketing tool.

Virtual Extensions – eliminated the need for multiple phone lines by assigning existing phone numbers as extensions to the main business number.

Voicemail – allows a caller to leave a message which can be retrieved later via phone, desktop PC or an online account.

Why waste money and resources when a single number, coupled with powerful tools, can provide better call handling and management.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Phone System for Business Basic Buyer’s Guide

Phone systems for small business are essential telecommunication devices that every company should purchase. The system will allow the business, its customers, vendors, partners and other contacts to easily reach each other.

Different types of phone systems are developed because of different business requirements. Five of the major types of phone systems are: PBX, key, KSU-less, hosted and VoIP systems. Which type of system to choose from would depend on how many extensions or features your company requires. PBX and hosted systems are usually suitable for a company with more than 40 employees. For less than 40 employees a key system is the typical choice while a KSU-less system is an affordable choice for a start-up company with less than 10 employees. Determining the size of the company is an important factor when planning to buy the right phone system.

But before purchasing that phone system for business here are some pointers to consider:
  1. If possible, ask other businesses about the phone system they are using and inquire about the price, vendor, features, options, plans and other related matter.
  2. Pictures seen on the internet, posters or ads are insufficient. It is always better to visit the vendor and see how the actual equipment works.
  3. If possible ask the vendor for a quick demo of some important features like audio quality, voicemail, extensions, call transfer, etc.
  4. Make sure that the phone system is compatible and will work with other third-party devices.
  5. Buy the system during the end of the quarter when prices are much lower.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Important Call Controller Features and Functions

These days, small business phone solutions can create a positive impact on the business’ goal of providing an effective customer support, as well as an organized communication with the aid of feature-packed phone systems. With the seamless telecommunication, and the internet and mobile technology convergence, service providers are taking another step to enable its users to gain more control over their system by supplementing a Call Controller application that can be installed on their PC.

This application, coupled with an online account, turns a PC into a command center for real-time call management. It provides simple tasks like fax access, contact management and business efficient functions like:
  • Call Logging – allows call logs to be stored. These logs contain important information like caller ID, name, date, time and transaction result.
  • Call Pickup – a user can listen to a caller while leaving a message and an option to answer the call.
  • Call Recording – gives the user the ability to record a conversation for storage and retrieval.
  • Call Response – for rejecting, redirecting or responding to a call with a text message.
  • Call Routing – provides a drop-down list of phone numbers to where a call can be forwarded.
  • Call Screening – the controller intercept a call by giving the user some call-handling options and a display and/or announcement of the caller’s name and number.
  • Conference Call – enables multiple callers to join the conversation.
  • Software Integration – can be seamlessly integrated with most software applications such as Outlook.
  • Text-to-Voice Message – allows an automated attendant to announce a text message to the caller.
  • VoIP Service – allows answering of calls on a PC.
Doing business using a phone system with a call controller has never been this easy.

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Setting-Up Your First Online Fax Service

    Using the fax machine is proven to be more expensive because of the extra costs it entails for the additional phone line subscription and consumption of electricity. Aside from that, a fax machine also requires paper, ink and maintenance costs. 

    An online fax service on the other hand is the modern and economical alternative for an aging fax machine. This technology uses the information highway in sending and receiving of facsimiles at no additional costs.

    Because of numerous benefits it can give to the users, more providers are now offering it as a free or paid service. The process of setting up the fax over the internet service involves the following:
    1. Depending on the provider, a web-based email account may or may not be required. An online account or software that can integrate with other applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) may already be provided which in turn can be used for sending/receiving of faxes.
    2. Sign-up with chosen service providers, free or paid. Free service providers usually have limited offerings such as no customer support, lesser features and sending of faxes only. While the paid service providers offer the best and may even have a free trial or a money-back guarantee.
    3. Once subscribed, and depending on the provider, the faxing service may or may not be activated immediately.
    An internet fax service is also available to those who acquire 800 services. These toll free numbers are equipped with a full featured virtual PBX package that is very suitable to businesses longing to improve their customer service.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Interface Standards for PBX Systems

    In order to extend a PBX system or to integrate it with other devices, such as a public network, requires the use of an interface standard. An interface standard is a physical method of integrating a phone system with another system for the purpose of expansion, data exchange and data collection.

    The following standards are used to connect an extension to a phone system:
    • DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) – is a wireless technology that was adopted for use on cordless phones.
    • POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) – has been around since the advent of the public telephone system. A basic connection service for residential and commercial users.
    To interface two or more PBX phone systems requires the following standards:
    • DPNSS (Digital Private Network Signaling System) – a network protocol defined by the British Telecom.
    • PRI (Primary Rate Interface) – a standard based on the T-Carrier line that provides telecommunication services for businesses.
    • QSIG – a protocol, developed by Ecma International, designed for corporate or enterprise integrated voice and services networks.
    PBX and trunk lines can be connected by using:
    • ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) – enables an ordinary phone the ability to have digital transmissions.
    • RBS (Robbed-Bit Signaling) – developed by AT & T in transitioning from analog to digital trunks.
    Standards for enabling data collection over a PBX system:
    • File – the most simple standard wherein a PBX generate a file containing the data collected.
    • Network Port – utilizes a port, application or buffer in order for the PBX to send an information.
    • Serial Interface – enables data to be sent one bit a time over a communication channel. 

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    The Advantages of Owning Toll Free Phone Numbers

    To provide better customer satisfaction and to apply an effective marketing strategy toll free numbers are the right telecommunication tools to supplement the needs of a growing business. Owning such a special number provides the business with an easy connectivity with its customers.

    Maximizing the business with a proper communication device will enable a business to gain toll free advantages over the competition. Because of its free nature, a customer can call the business for an inquiry, support, order or other services without getting charge for the call. Therefore, providing the business with better customer care.

    A satisfied customer will seek the business by placing orders or making inquiries about a product or service. This gives the business more chances of selling its products and to gain potential customers. Coupling it with efficient and productive sales team will boost and create more sales.

    Customers may come and go due to a flawed service, product or support. One solution to bring back the trust of lost customers is by offering a toll free service to let them know that the business is fairing well and has improved. Old customers will definitely reconsider going back especially if they have been patronizing a certain product or service for quite some time.

    Having won back the trusts of consumers and provided better customer support the next benefit a business can gain, when utilizing a toll free number, is a professional corporate image. Customers will be convinced that the company is serious in doing business and providing excellent services for them. This in return will put the business in par with other larger corporations.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Call Screening – More Than Just Caller ID Capabilities

    With a call screening feature, the called party is not only able to identify the caller but also can easily decide on whether to answer, reject or forward a call. It is a helpful telephone feature that gives the user the ability to prepare and control an inbound call. But this feature is not just all about the process of identifying and evaluating a call. In fact, it can perform other functions like the following:
    • Call Blocking – to ensure the reception of all the important calls, this function allows  straightforward blocking of specific callers based on their caller IDs.
    • Caller ID – not only does it displays the caller information such as name or number but this function enable an automated attendant to prompt the caller to announce their name which is then transmitted to the called party's audio device.
    • Caller Lists – a configurable listing of callers that are to be blocked or allowed in accessing the phone line.
    • Text to Audio Reply – enables the called party to type and send a text message, as a computer generated voice, to the caller.
    Various VoIP services are also equipped with a similar VoIP call screening feature. This is usually incorporated in a software that is running on a PC, which allows incoming calls or voicemails to be played over the speaker. While the call is being played the software also presents the user with options for answering, rejecting or redirecting the call to another destination. A hosted VoIP feature such as this VoIP call screening service gives the user a feeling of owning a home answering machine.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Let Us Talk About Call Screening and Blocking

    Unwanted phone calls are one of the problems that are encountered by many telephone owners.  Not only does it cause inconvenience. Privacy intrusion can also be a big threat to both business operation and private family time. Fortunately, there are solutions in putting an end to these unwelcome calls.

    Call screening is a telephone feature that processes a call for evaluation so that the called party can decide on how to answer it. Some assessment that a user can perform are: listening to a recorded message stored on a voicemail or answering machine; or checking the caller ID, date and time. Some home users can take advantage of a call screen option, provided to them by the phone company, by configuring their telephone to route a call to a recording which informs the caller that the call will not be entertained. Other systems use a call controller to screen a call by providing the user with options to either: answer, reject or forward a call.

    A rather straightforward manner in dealing with intrusive call is by using the call blocking feature. It is activated by specifying a number to block into the system. When that number called, the phone simply does not ring.

    In the US, another option an owner can use is by registering to the National Do Not Call Registry. This prevents most but not all unsolicited calls from telemarketers. Unfortunately, it is also only applicable to residential lines.

    Call Screening and blocking are two of the telephony features that can assist both business and home users in avoiding a stressful privacy invasion. Other phone systems for business may offer other options in dealing with unwanted calls to make sure that important calls are always received.

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    A Glossary of the Most Common Virtual PBX System Features

    Planning to acquire a virtual PBX system is a nice decision to help the business provide better customer service and support. To help the subscriber better understand the PBX system jargon below is a list of the most common features that are most likely to be encountered:

    Auto-Attendant – automatically redirect a caller to an extension without the intervention of a human operator.

    Call Blocking – allows a user to block any phone number.

    Call Forwarding – redirect a caller to another destination if the called party is unavailable or otherwise unattended.

    Call Screening – a process for evaluating an incoming call before actually answering it.

    Call Transfer – enables the relocation of an ongoing call to another number or extension.

    Caller ID – provides caller information (name, number or location) to the called party's device display.

    Click to Call – converts web traffic into phone calls by embedding the phone number to a web page link that a visitor can click.

    Custom Greeting – a message or music that is used in a voicemail, on-hold message, etc.

    Dial by Name  – a system that announces a menu of directory extensions to the caller. Often associated with an auto-attendant.

    Fax on Demand – a computer-based voice and fax service that lets callers retrieve hardcopy of documents easily.

    Internet Fax – a new method of sending and receiving a facsimile via the internet.

    Message Alerts – provides alerts via SMS or e-mail whenever new messages arrives.

    Music on Hold – a feature that plays a music or message to a caller while waiting on hold.

    Online Management – a management system included with a hosted PBX system for easy online configuration.

    Voice mail – a feature for recording messages on a centralized system for later retrieval.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Basic Business Phone System Information

    The telephone is a device that provides connectivity between businesses, partners and clients. It is also the communication gateway for customers to easily reach the business. As a matter of fact, one of the most important tool an organization should have is the business phone system. This is a system that gives the business the ability to manage and gain full control of its telecommunication services.

    A typical phone system is composed of two elements: telephone set and the controlling system. A telephone set is a device that transmits/receives voice and sounds. It is usually at the receiving end of a phone system. A controlling system, on the other hand, provides the functionality. Depending on the type, a basic system usually comprised of a controlling processor, software and add-on connectivity such as PSTN card or VoIP ethernet.

    Because of varying business requirements, different types of phone systems were developed:
    • PBX (Private Branch eXchange) – a circuit switched and premise based system that provides management and exchange between internal and external phone lines.
    • Key System – a smaller premise based system that provides individual buttons for each business phone lines.
    • Hosted or Centrex (Central Exchange) – a system that provides switching from the hosting provider.
    • IP PBX (Internet Protocol PBX) – a system that utilizes the internet and are usually associated with a VoIP system.
    Common and Advanced Features
    The following are few of the most common features being offered by different service providers:
    • Auto Attendant
    • Call Convergence
    • Call Conferencing
    • Call Forwarding
    • Dial by Name Directory
    • Internet Fax
    • Music On-Hold
    • Voicemail

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Virtual Extension Features and Benefits

    What is the best solution to connect users to any phone line so that any inbound calls can be received even outside of the business premise? The answer is virtual extensions. What is it, you may ask? Well, a virtual extension is a telephony feature that allows any numbers (cell phones, home phones or office phones) to be virtually associated to a single or multiple numbers, as an extension in order to have the ability to redirect inbound calls to any destination.

    Because of seamless connectivity, extensions are suitable to employees or organizations located in different locations. What’s impressive about a virtual extension is that it creates an impression to callers that satellite companies operate as a single office. Moreover, each extension can be configured according to the owner's requirements, allowing customization of the following settings:
    • Address Book
    • Call and Fax Rules
    • Caller ID
    • Dial by Name Directory
    • Extension Number
    • Greetings
    • Name
    • Time Zone
    • Voice mail
    Extensions are not only customizable but are also virtual. They can be created anytime, instantly and after, provide the ability to connect to any generic SIP device. This then allows easy communication with remote teams anytime, anywhere.

    A company equipped with virtual extensions features can create a bigger and professional business image because it can take advantage of creating virtual departments even if it has only a single employee.

    Accessibility is another benefit an extension can give because it prevents callers from reaching busy phone lines. If in case they still do, then they still have an option of leaving a voice mail, to hold or to be rerouted to another number.

    Virtual extensions can aid a company in saving money since they are easy to deploy and maintain. Because of their virtual nature they eliminate the requirement to purchase any additional hardware or equipments.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    The Basics of a Universal International Freephone Number

    The universal international freephone number (UIFN) is a worldwide toll-free number service that enables an International Freephone Service (IFS) subscriber to allocate a fixed-global number which can be called freely (except for some certain cellphone network providers) anywhere in the world.

    The UIFN number is issued by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It is a United Nations (UN) agency for information, communication and a global focal point for developing networks and services among the governments and private sectors.

    Components of a UIFN number
    The UIFN number uses the global ITU 800 number prefix as the fixed country code. The next component is the 8 digit Global Subscriber Number (GSN), which is the number issued by the ITU to the IFS customer or subscriber. The following, which is almost similar to a business toll free number, is an example of a UIFN number: 800 1234 5678

    Dialing a UIFN number
    A caller can dial a UIFN number by simply keying in the International Access Code (IAC), the ITU Country Code and the GSN number: 00 800 1234 5678

    Applying for a UIFN number
    Just like with a toll free number application, only a Recognized Operating Agency (ROA) can submit the IFS subscriber's application. The subscriber should also agree to serve two or more countries or else the application will not be accepted. Upon the approval of the application the number is considered under reservation until the subscriber completes an in-service, between two or more countries, within 180 days.

    Fees and method of payment

    Currently, the registration application fee costs 200 Swiss Francs and is payable by bank transfers, prepaid accounts or credit cards.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Various Directory Assistance Methods

    Telecommunication has lots of surprising services to offer that truly benefit home and business users. The directory assistance is one of these remarkable telecommunication service that is being used for locating specific telephone numbers, addresses or other business or residential information.

    To reduce the cost of human resources, a directory assistance system is used and it usually is comprised of a wide range of automated tools such as customized databases and softwares. One good example of this automation is a system that utilizes an IVR or virtual auto attendant, speech recognition, speech synthesis or speech recording to handle the entire call without the intervention of a live operator. These automatic operation and control allows for quicker listings and faster lookup.

    But some systems still utilize an assistant operator who assists the caller. But it is an automated read-back system that finishes off the task by announcing the requested phone number to the caller. Other systems use yet another kind of method that employs both a live operator and an automated tool such as the store and forward technology. This system records the request of a caller which is then played back to the operator for quick lookup. The operator then interacts with the caller by asking specific information concerning the needed inquiry.

    While both a fully automated and a live operated system have great benefits, they are sometimes limited to a single request. However, there are newer methods that allow the caller to request multiple numbers in a single directory assistance inquiry. The caller can then decide whether the retrieved information is to be put on queue, connected to all the numbers or be selected as the number to dial.

    Whichever of these methods are used, the most important part is the ability to assist callers on their request for single, multiple numbers or other information.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Dial by Name Directory – Providing Convenience to Callers

    The dial by name directory is a useful phone system component for letting a computer-generated voice, or auto attendant, to read and announce the name and/or extensions of every contact in an organization. This helpful feature provides convenience for a caller in reaching the proper contact person or department.

    How it Works
    When a customer rings a business a computer-generated voice will announce a menu structure of the extensions of the company:

    “Press 1 for Accounting Department...” or “Press 9 for directory listing”

    The caller is then prompted to enter the extension number. After pressing the selected extension the automated attendant will ask the caller to enter the numeric equivalent of the department or contact's name. If a matching name is found an automated attendant will announce a directory of the contacts' extension or number as a selection in order to connect the caller to the proper contact automatically.

    Some office phone systems have a default human operator to take the inbound call immediately if the caller does not respond to the prompt or have difficulty in entering the appropriate extension.

    The Benefits
    Besides the fact that it can provide callers with an easy way to reach the appropriate extension, this feature can create a professional image and brand for the business. It can also make the phone system interactive and allows customers to reach the proper destination faster.

    Dial by name directory is one of the many feature included in a virtual office phone system that can help in delivering convenience to callers.

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Automatic Routing and Scheduling with Answering Rules

    Businesses equipped with advanced PBX functionality, such as a toll free number, are to expect huge volume of calls on a daily basis especially during the time of special promotions or discount offerings. With an answering rules feature companies can prevent business phone lines from being cluttered due to numerous inbound calls.

    This feature enables a phone system to be easily configured with unique settings suitable for the business requirements in order to have a flexible call answering and rerouting preferences. With answering rules a system can be fine-tuned based on different factors:
    • Date and Time – enables a call to be rerouted to specific destination depending on the specified date or time. For example, a caller can be redirected to a home or a mobile number if a call is made after office hours.
    • Caller ID – prioritized calls can be redirected, for example, to a mobile number by simply identifying the caller disregardless of the date and time.
    • Number Called – each phone number can have its own rule. A specific number can be configured to automatically forward inbound calls to a voicemail for instance.
    Utilizing this useful PBX feature will allow the business to direct calls to any numbers or voicemails depending on the settings made. It is not limited to call forwarding or scheduling because it can also provide custom greetings to be announced on different times and day of the week.

    VoIP answering rules feature is also being offered by different VoIP phone service providers which offers the same capabilities but offers much more flexibility because it utilizes the power of the internet. Whether a business is using the PBX or the internet-enhanced feature it enables the phone system to maximize communication.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Service Provider Winners by 800 Number Pricing

    The following toll free number providers are the winners when it comes to toll free pricing. These selected winners offers the most comprehensive and affordable toll free plans which includes some or all the full features of a virtual PBX package. The following lists offers a summary of what these providers can offer.
    • RingCentral Business Plus – one of the best toll free numbers provider in the market because it offers four plans that includes all the features of a virtual PBX package. With rates of $24.99 per month or $29.99 annually, included are: free 500 minutes, 10 extensions, a free trial, and free setup.
    • Halloo Solo M-500 – a plan suitable for individuals who wants to get 800 number service. At $29.95 per month, it comes with a free setup, a free trial and 500 minutes. Unfortunately, the solo plan does not offer multiple extensions which is only offered with their office plans.
    • TollFree Forwarding Standard – the cheapest in terms of the monthly fee at only $19.77 a month. However, it only comes with 250 minutes. Also, they don’t have extensions. Fortunately they offer a free trial and free setup as well.
    • FreedomVoice Freedom Lite – at $24.95 a month it comes with 500 minutes with an additional 5.5¢ per minute in excess. At this rate however, they do not include extensions. Check out their other plans that include multiple extensions at

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Common Virtual PBX System Features

    To allow an organization to connect its existing phone lines to a single number requires a virtual PBX system. This system is a network of communication channels that exists on the hosting provider's premise. In short, a company does not need to worry in purchasing expensive communication equipments or maintaining its own phone system.

    This system revolutionized the way business communicates by presenting advanced features that utilizes the power of the internet. The following list showcases few of the most common virtual PBX features:
    • Auto-Attendant – this is a feature that automatically transfer callers to different extensions, without the intervention of a human operator, by offering a simple menu system.
    • Toll Free Phone Number – this is a special telephone number that allows callers to dial the business for free. Most suitable for businesses that offers free customer support or services. It may come in different prefixes such as: 800, 866, 877 or 888.
    • Voicemail – sometimes called a messagebank, vmail or VMS. This feature enables a caller to leave a message in case a call is unattended or unanswered.
    • Call Forwarding – also called FindMe or FollowMe service. This allows a call to be redirected to another number such as a mobile, home phone or even abroad.
    • Internet Fax – a feature that eliminates the requirement of a tradition fax machine. Instead, it offers the most modern and convenient way in sending/receiving facsimiles by utilizing the internet.
    • Virtual Local Number – a number that is not directly associated with a phone line. Instead, it is programmed to be redirected to any number. This allows virtual presence in different key cities.
    With a virtual phone system a business can provide the best customer service without any hassle because everything is taken care by the hosting provider.

    Some Essential Elements of a Successful Business

    Majority of the start-up businesses fails within five years of business operation. This is because they have not fully understood the concept. A startup success or failure is all dependent on how well the business knows the how, why and which step or action they should take next. On this note, there are a few things that are important to know in ensuring a successful business. These are processes that ensure the business is on the right track.

    Offer quality products or services that people want to buy – probably one of the most important ingredients of a successful business. A business should offer a product or service that is proven to have a market niche.

    Strategic education and continuous learning – a business can earn if the people running it are learned in the area of sales, marketing and operation. Commit to learning and once the needed knowledge have been gathered applying these can leverage the business. Learning more means earning more.

    Build strong customer-base – in order to keep customer coming back requires good customer-business relationship. Few ways to achieve this is by building trust, providing extra benefits, equipping the staffs with the required skills, etc.

    Effective marketing strategies – this is very crucial and important to the success of the business. Good marketing provide sales, leads and brand. And, more businesses are now looking at the potential of different indirect marketing tools such as toll free numbers.

    Customer service mindset – a good customer service can bring customers back. Simple ways to achieve this is by getting a good phone system so customers can call anytime. Provide the business with 800 toll free numbers sso customers do not get charged when they call.

    Even though a study shows that 90% of all small businesses failed in few years a properly armed business, with strategies and plans, can help in getting to the ultimate destination.

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Internet Faxing Service Software

    It is not enough to be able to send and receive faxes using an internet faxing service. While this service is already a convenient way to transmit facsimiles using the internet, businesses and even home users wanted more – the ability to create and edit faxes.

    The ability to create and edit a fax on the ply eliminates the need to rescan a document. Tasks like adding a digital signature, putting an image or simply adding some texts can be done quickly with the use of internet fax software. With this tool the process of sending a fax can be speeded up.

    This software is installed on a PC and can easily integrate with compatible applications such as Microsoft Office making it easier to create, edit or even send a fax straight from that application. Most internet fax softwares can handle different file types such as DOC, TIFF, PDF, JPG, etc.

    Some of the internet fax softwares available in the market are:
    • FaxTalk Messenger Pro – does not only offers faxing service but also full featured voice messaging. It is an easy to use telephony application suitable for home users and small businesses.
    • WinFax Pro – it can create high-quality faxes straight from the computer. It has the ability to schedule the sending or forwarding of faxes via email.
    • Fax Now – using the FaxNow print driver it enables the sending of faxes using the print function of any application.
    • RingCentral Internet Fax – provides advanced faxing capabilities by enabling the sending/receiving of faxes via email and other applications.
    • HotFax Message Center – features such as fax forwarding, broadcasting, application integration and fax to email support makes it suitable for advanced users.
    Whether it’s a VoIP internet fax service or an ordinary faxing service a simple tool can enable the business to work more efficiently.

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    The Toll Free Numbers Prefixes

    Toll free numbers are special telephone numbers that are being used by businesses to provide free support and services to callers. A toll number is preceded by a prefix of either 800, 866, 877 or 888 and usually comes in the form of 1-8xx-xxxxxxx in the US and Canada.

    While all of the prefix offers the same set of features the 800 number prefix is the most widely used, expensive and scarce. This prefix is noted as the most effective because it is the prefix first used since the advent of toll free calling in the 1960s. In fact this prefix has come to mean toll free number.

    The 866 and 877 prefixes are the least popular among the others because callers who encounters these toll free prefix often mistaken them as area code numbers. As a results callers, who are not aware of their free nature, will not call these numbers thinking that these are home-based or new business numbers.

    Since the 800 prefix is rare to find nowadays, 888 is accepted as the best alternative. It is also cheaper compared to the 800 prefix and can create similar credibility and professional image for the business.

    And when it comes to the point of adapting one for the business it does not matter which toll free prefix to use. All of them can provide the business with branding, marketing, professional image and increased volume of calls. What is important to consider are the price affordability, toll free plans and the suitability it can give the business. Whether a prefix has a positive or negative intuition it only depends on how well a business use them and how well they market their number to make callers aware.