When you’re building up your business, it’s easy to focus on big picture things – your brand, unique selling proposition, pricing, and website. With so many things to think about, it’s easy to overlook tiny details, like how you want company email addresses to end or what type of phone number you choose. While they may seem like minor details to you, they can be important signals that your customers read into, so it’s essential to make each decision carefully.
The decision between a local phone number and a toll-free number, for example, is one that all businesses will need to make eventually as they scale. Some will opt for the toll-free numbers to appear established, while others may opt for a local phone number for a variety of reasons. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the four best reasons why it may be the right choice to go with a local phone number and how to decide what’s right for you.
1. They Signal That You’re Part of The Community
Local phone numbers can be exceptionally important when you’re serving a local, tight-knit community. These communities will typically prioritize doing business with those who “belong” as a member, and if they recognize the area code on the phone number on your site, this is an immediate signal that you’re one of them.
Whether it’s true or not, seeing that local number can trigger feelings that your business is an enthusiastic member of the community at hand, that you give back to it, and that you want to enrich it. This is an enormous benefit to have on your side while you’re growing your client base and your business.
2. They’re An Indication of Reaching the Right Place
Let’s say you had a pipe burst and you’re trying to connect with a plumber and you see a 1-800 number. Do you proceed, even with the assumption that they might not service your area (1-800 is vague, after all), that they’ll have big-corporation prices, and that they might charge out the nose for emergency fees?
You might, but many more customers might not. If you’re in a hurry and trying to make sure that the first number you call gets you results, you might be more responsive to a local number matching your area code. You’d know with certainty that they’re serving your area, and hopefully, have someone nearby to help soon.
There is a caveat to this: if your business is scaling or intending to soon scale to a wider geographical region, serving people in other areas of the country, you may want to consider using a toll-free number for this exact reason. You don’t want someone in New York seeing a Seattle area code and thinking you can’t help them when you can. We’ll discuss this a little more later on.
3. You Can Still Use All the Advantages Associated with Toll-Free
It’s nothing more than a huge misconception that local phone numbers can’t be exactly as useful as toll-free numbers. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you purchase a local number with Tresta, for example, you’re getting the exact same functionality as you would with one of our toll-free numbers.
You can still take advantage of call routing, voicemails, call menus, analytics, extensions, auto attendant, and so much more. You just need to install our app on your phone, get your virtual business number set to go, and you can have the best of both worlds: the small-town, sentimental feel of a local number combined with the high-tech capability of advanced calling technology.
Just because you’re using a local number doesn’t mean that you need to be giving out your number and answering the phone a million times a day. Use a single number and add extensions for call-routing, or consider outsourcing to U.S. based answering services like PATLive to pick up some of the slack.
4. Customers Feel Like They’ll Get a Real Person
If someone sees a toll-free number, they’re typically already dreading the 20-minute hold times and the bad elevator music. If they see a local phone number, however, they’re more likely to feel like they have a shot at reaching a real person.
Even if they end up on the end of an automated call menu, it’s easier to feel like you’ll get in touch with a real person (or at least their voicemail), which can make customers more likely to call and a little more patient while waiting to connect.
Should I Ever Use a Toll-Free Number Instead?
While there are clearly a lot of advantages to using a local phone number for your business, there are certain circumstances when you may want to consider a toll-free number. This is particularly true when you have a business that you want to scale beyond your current geographical region, or if you want to appear well established from the get-go.
Tresta offers both local and toll-free virtual business numbers so you can choose the option that allows you to represent your business in the best way possible. You can learn more about what we can do for you here.
Whether you decide to go for a local phone number or a toll-free number, keep your audience in mind and consider how your choice factors into their perception of your brand.
Both choices are available through Tresta’s virtual business numbers, which allow you to add a second business line to your existing devices, cutting down on costs and maximizing the convenience while still giving you the separation between personal and professional that we all need.
Ready to choose a local number for your small business? Sign up for your free trial with Tresta now!