800 Numbers: What does your US 800 number say about you (or your business)?
800 numbers have come a long way since they first hit the scene in the late 1960’s, so has voice communication for that matter. As the telephony landscape changes, so do perceptions about toll free numbers. But as the years have gone by, the toll free galaxy has grown significantly with 888, 877, 866, and 855 numbers appearing (844 numbers are even rumored to be on the horizon soon). However, the most tried and true – 1-800 – continues to be the most popular, trusted and well regarded.
Here’s a quick look at the toll free numbers out there today and some thoughts on each…
The classic. The real thing. The granddaddy of toll free numbers. For years, 800 numbers have been seen as the sign of a legitimate business and that trust has translated, and continues to translate, into more sales and more customer contacts. These numbers have certainly aged well but they have aged and with that age may have come a perception problem. Some customers might see 800 numbers as old and, perhaps, somewhat stodgy. So, what about their hipper offspring?
The most well-established of the ‘new’ toll free numbers, 888 also benefits from nearly 20 years of use. If someone misdials 1-800, instead of the proper prefix, 888 is typically the next man up. The 888 prefix also has established a bit more credibility due to its longevity but has yet to reach the venerated status of the original 1-800.
This prefix is sort of the hip, teenage sibling to 888. 877 is getting enough age that it is slowly being taken more seriously but is still seen as a younger, more edgy alternative to the more established 888 and 800 numbers.
866 and 855
These two are the youngsters. Both prefixes have benefited from the familiarity that 888 and 877 have created among consumers with the release of new toll free prefixes. This has helped to readily establish them as the ‘new’ toll frees. However, both are a bit young and much less trusted (especially 855 numbers) to be respected as much as 877, 888 or 800 numbers.