Leveraging more than 15 years in global communications and listening to thousands of customer conversations, AVOXI built a complete guide to selecting an International Toll Free Number. This quick reference guide contains key points about International Toll Free Numbers to help you determine which type works best to help you achieve your business goals.
Guide to International Toll Free Numbers
The choices in International Toll Free Numbers range from shared cost to domestic toll free to international toll free service (ITFS), to universal international freephone number (UIFN), and more. It takes understanding and planning to select the right numbers for specific business objectives. Use this guide as a starting point to help you better understand the differences in number types.
The International Toll Free Numbers Guide addresses:
- What defines an international toll free number and what types are there?
- How do the various types of toll free numbers work?
- Forwarding calls and strategies
- How do coverages and restrictions influence your number selection
- How much do international toll free numbers cost?
- Key points in planning for a successful setup
- Numbers checklist for planning a purchase
- What to know in selecting a provider
3 Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting an International Toll Free Number
While there are several questions you want to ask before buying your toll free number, answering the first set of questions drives the direction.
- From where are the calls coming? Where is your customer base or targeted audience?
- Where are the calls going? Who answers your inbound calls?
- How are you answering the calls? VoIP phone? Mobile phone? Fixed-line phone?
Coverage and Restrictions When Selecting a Toll Free Phone Number
These answers identify information that you need to make your decision. Once you have an initial idea, it’s important to review the coverage and restrictions. Why? Coverage and restrictions vary by type of number, country, and device.
For example, a domestic toll free number in New Zealand is accessible through mobile and payphone. A New Zealand ITFS number is also available from all mobile networks at a premium rate. No airtime is charged to the caller. You assume the premium rate.
In another scenario, an ITFS in Spain is only available at a premium rate and UIFNs are blocked. However, a domestic toll free number is accessible from fixed-lines, mobile, and payphone. Shared cost numbers have another consideration if available for the selected country. Is it okay for your customer or prospect to pay for a percent of the call? Typically, the charge is equal to the cost of a local call in that country.
One Toll Free Number for All Countries
Many organizations want to have one “global toll free number.” That’s a dream. The reality is that a UIFN is the closest thing to a global number.
- UIFNs have their own set of limitations based on what countries you seek.
- There are currently about 40 countries in which a UIFN is available.
- In a few instances, the country regulations require proof of a business presence (most do not).
- To purchase the number requires registration of that number in at least two countries.
- Additionally, the dialing format uses an eleven digit fixed number with slight variations based upon the country. That can cause confusion in customers identifying the numbers as free to call but must dial as if they are outside the country placing an international call.
As you can see, several factors go into deciding the best type of international toll free number for your business. Your provider can help you walk through the details to meet your business requirements. Comparing number availability, origination and termination rates, call management features, and customer support accessibility can help you make the right decision.
Need Number Compatibility with a Current Phone System?
Another key factor in your final decision is whether you plan to use the number or numbers as a standalone phone system or if you need the number to integrate with your current cloud based or premise based phone system. Your provider will need to have a SIP connection available or the ability to forward your phone number to another number on your system.
Integrating Your Virtual Number into An Existing Phone System Is Simple.
- There are no hardware requirements for this integration.
- Setup is through SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) connectivity or number forwarding.
- Installation and testing should be quick and easy for this service.
- Clients configure and manage their numbers through a web browser by logging into an online portal.
Use the Numbers Checklist to Help Plan for Success
The guide includes a quick numbers checklist to help you identify exactly what type of toll free numbers works best for your business. This checklist is the starting point for your international communications plan.
A powerful business tool, international toll free numbers allow you to reach your global customers. Download the international toll free numbers guide to start planning now.