So, you need a way for your customers to call you– but you don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg. And you might be thinking, aren’t toll-free numbers old-fashioned in today’s digital world? The answer is, not at all!
In today’s high-paced consumer world, customers prefer to speak to your brand through a variety of channels. Some want to communicate through SMS or web chats while others want to use more traditional methods like emails and phone calls.
But toll-free numbers are especially important because studies show that 76% of consumers prefer phone calls over all other communication methods.
But there are a variety of different types of toll-free numbers, all of which will bring different offerings to your business.
If you’re hoping to reach all of your customers and prospects, a domestic or international toll-free number might be right for you. Below, we’re comparing international and domestic toll-free numbers side-by-side to help you choose the best option for your company.
What is a Toll-Free Number?
A toll-free phone number is a number that starts with a 3-digit toll-free code and allows customers to call your business without incurring any fees. As the owner of the toll-free phone number, your organization covers the costs of any incoming or outgoing calls.
Toll-free phone numbers provide your business with a variety of benefits including:
- Improved brand credibility: They add legitimacy and professionalism to your organization from the customer’s perspective.
- Better customer service: They give your customers a simple and free method of communicating with you.
- Number portability: They allow you to retain your existing numbers so you don’t experience any disruptions when transferring them.
- Cost-effective: Toll-free number subscription rates are lower than traditional telephone services. Plus, setup is easy and the numbers are affordable.
- Cloud advantage: Toll-free numbers work with cloud platforms, giving you more tools and advantages over a traditional PBX.
Having a toll-free number can also help you separate your business and personal calls, giving you added flexibility to forward calls to your multiple business devices, IVRs, extensions and email. But not all toll-free numbers are created equal. It’s important to understand which type of toll-free number is right for your organization.
Domestic Toll-Free vs International Toll-Free
Domestic toll-free numbers and international toll-free are two of many toll-free options available on the market. It’s important to know the difference between the two depending on your specific business needs.
What is a domestic toll-free number?
Domestic toll-free numbers (DTFN) are originating country-specific numbers, meaning they only work for callers within the business’s home operating market. They are also free for callers within that region.
This is a great solution for companies who may be expanding their national presence, but aren’t reaching a broader global audience yet.
Example: If your company operates within the United States, you can purchase a domestic toll-free number so that your U.S-based customers can call your company for free. Prospects outside your country operations won’t be able to access you via your DTFN.
What is an international toll-free number?
International toll-free numbers (ITFNs) are business lines that allow international callers to connect with your business free of charge. While these numbers are country-specific, your organization has the ability to forward the calls to any location.
ITFNs are a great option for organizations that are expanding their global presence and are looking for a quick, cost-effective way to connect with their international customers. Additional benefits that come with international toll-free numbers include:
- Expanded market presence: IFTNs give you the ability to expand your business presence without needing a physical office in a different country.
- Growth with limited overhead: They allow you to enter and test target market countries without adding to your overhead costs.
- Reduced costs: With a cloud communications provider, your business can reduce international calling fees while getting feature-rich telephony tools.
Example: If your business is based in the United States, you can purchase international toll-free numbers for different countries like Singapore and Japan. The customers within these countries can call your company at no cost, and you have the ability to route those inbound calls to your headquarters in the US via call forwarding.
Comparing DTFN vs ITFN
There are several ways in which DTFN and ITFN share similarities:
- Availability: Most countries around the globe support both of these phone number types. Working with a provider who offers toll-free numbers in your target countries will be important for your growth.
- Country-specific: Both options require you to buy a different phone number for each country you want a presence.
- Free for customers: Both of these numbers give your customers free access to call your organization.
- Device compatibility: Both allow you to make inbound or outbound calls from any device.
When it comes to the differences between ITFNs and DTFNs, here are the most important to note:
- Reach: Domestic toll-free will only allow customers in the country of origin to reach you while international toll-free will allow international customers to contact you - both free of charge.
- Restrictions: Domestic toll-free numbers have much fewer restrictions than international toll-free numbers. Different countries and providers may have specific restrictions that can limit your ITFNs reach based on factors like:
- Mobile constraints
- Partial country coverage
- Telecommunications regulations
- Cost: While both DTFNs and ITFNs are more affordable than legacy phone lines, domestic toll-free numbers typically have lower monthly fees than international toll-free numbers. However, ITFNs can help reduce your overall cost of international calls.
Choosing Between Domestic vs International Toll-Free Numbers
When it comes to choosing the right number for your business, it’s important to understand that in many cases, it won’t be an either-or situation. In fact, you may need both a domestic and international toll-free number depending on your budget and where your customers are located. More importantly, you will want to work with a provider that not only supports your current coverage needs, but areas you may want to target as your business grows.
With the AVOXI Platform serving your global coverage needs, international and domestic toll-free numbers are one because of our long-established relationships with global carriers. We can provide the same benefits for each, so you can reach your customers with ease and support in 170+ countries. Contact us to see how we can help you set up your toll-free number service today.
*ITFNs accessible from outside the country are not guaranteed, as stated on the AVOXI cart.*
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