Toll free numbers aren’t just for large call centers or Fortune 500 companies any more. Now you can get a toll free number and forward it to your cell phone. If you’re an on-the-go entrepreneur or a small business owner this technology can help you stay connected and sound more professional. When someone calls your toll free number they’ll first hear a professional greeting like “Thank you for calling ABC Company. For Sales press 1, For Support press 2…etc.” Then your caller is routed to your cell phone or your business partner’s cell phone in another location. You’d see on your caller ID that it’s customer calling you on your 800 number so you would know to answer the call professionally. And if you don’t answer, instead of going to your personal cell phone’s voicemail the caller will be sent to your Company’s unavailable greeting (“We’re sorry all representatives are assisting other customers…”). Your caller can leave a message and that message will be emailed to you. This is type of toll free number forwarding is made possible by Virtual Phone Systems for Small Business. With a Virtual Phone System, you can run your business from your cell phone, yet sound like you have a Fortune 500 company’s phone system.
What does Toll Free Forwarding mean?
Toll free forwarding refers to the ability to forward a toll free 800 number to a local area code number. For example you can forward an 866 toll free phone number to any local area code number using a phone company’s toll free services. However, there are more toll free area codes than just 866 and they all have toll free forwarding capabilities. Toll free area codes are called prefixes (technically they’re just called toll free area codes, but for some reason they are wildly referred to as toll free prefixes, even though the prefix is actually the first 3 digits after the area code). The FCC has currently approved the following toll free phone number prefixes for use by small business and other organizations: 800, 855, 866, 888, 877, and the newest toll free prefix 844. Any toll free phone number (that includes toll free vanity numbers) with any of these prefixes are eligible for toll free call forwarding to local area codes in the USA or Canada North American Dialing Plan.
How does Toll Free Forwarding work?
It’s simple. You sign up for toll free number service with a telephone company that is an official RespOrg (i.e., FCC authorized toll free service provider known as a “responsible organization” or “RespOrg” in telecom talk). You select an 800 number (remember the prefix or toll free area code does not have to be 800 – it can be 855 or 866, 888, 877, or 844) and you forward the toll free number to a local area code telephone number. Some toll free call forwarding services allow you to set up advanced call forwarding such as time-of-day routing, multiple greetings, extensions, phone numbers, or virtual voicemail boxes. In fact, some toll free forwarding systems offer virtual phone system features with all the power of a traditional PBX business telephone service. Or you can opt for simple toll free call forwarding and simply ring your 1800 number to your local phone number. Toll free numbers can forward to cell phones, home phones, office phones, VoIP phones or whatever 10-digit (3-digit area code plus 7 digit phone number) telephone number you’d like.
Why should I get a 1-800 Number Forwarding service?
If you are a small business owner, home-based business owner, or startup company entrepreneur, you may be considering getting 1-800 number forwarding service. In today’s world it is not as important to have a toll free number so customers can call your small business toll free. Most people have cell phones with unlimited calling or use a VoIP solution with free long distance. However, there is a few good reasons to get toll free number forwarding services. You could get a vanity phone number that gives your home-based business a more credible image, like a Fortune 500 company who primarily uses 800 numbers. Another reason relates to number portability. A federal law passed in the 1990s to protect businesses from phone companies holding their business phone number hostage. This law granted toll free number portability, otherwise known as owning your business phone number and being able to easily and quickly port it to any phone company at any time. Local area code telephone numbers are not regulated the same as 800 phone numbers. Only toll free numbers with the toll free area codes 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 have this portability protection. If you phone company raises their rates you can port your number to another carrier virtually overnight and say goodbye to your current telecom provider. This allows you to shop around and find a new carrier that will provide you with the same quality of 1-800 number forwarding service at a better value.