Starting a home based business is a journey of many difficult steps. After defining the company’s target audience and what goods or services to offer, the next task is establishing the company – developing name recognition, a reputation and client loyalty. Utilizing the capabilities of an established toll free, or 800, phone number can aid a home based business in doing all these things and more.
As is the case with most start-up business ventures, creating a good first impression is paramount when connecting with the customer base. Unfortunately, one of the biggest hurdles that home based businesses face is that they lack a physical storefront. A tangible storefront provides ever-essential validity to a business’s reputation. Having a toll free phone number can help create a virtual storefront for any home based business.
Many consumers see businesses that have an accessible phone number as a legitimate establishment. In fact, according to advertising research surveys, businesses that have toll free numbers are 30 percent more likely to receive product orders or customer calls than those businesses that advertise without such a number. So, even though the customer may not be able to walk by the business and visually see products or employees, they can still call a number and know they will get an answer and proper customer service.
Furthermore, a toll free phone number gives a company the ability to sell goods and services outside the business’s local area. For a consumer, this means unlimited and unrestricted access to the business and what it has to offer. For the business itself, it means no limit on growth. Since the business isn’t physically nailed down to one area, the company becomes portable. This flexibility is especially important because if for some reason the home based business owner moves to a new home, the established connection to customers stays intact.
From a marketing perspective, being able to offer a toll free phone number in promotional material presents the opportune chance of establishing a home business’s brand and reputation. Without appearing coercive, using a toll free phone number on company literature draws attention to the business’s credibility. This can be even more effective if the business owner chooses to incorporate a vanity number – a toll free phone number whose last seven digits spell out the business name or the product the company sells.
This type of number makes it easy for the customer to remember how to reach an establishment with questions or orders. Additionally, the product or brand is perpetually promoted when the number is mentioned without any extra marketing cost. While surveys indicate the effectiveness of simple toll free phone numbers, they also suggest that ads bearing vanity phone numbers are 14 times more likely to receive a customer response than if they have a toll free number alone. This sort of number can put home based businesses on the same advertising level as those businesses with a physical storefront.
Potential customers also respond well to 800 numbers because they know this method of business communication will cost them nothing. For example, if a business charges for phone consultations or services, customers will be unlikely to take advantage of their offers. However, providing a toll free phone number suggests to potential clients that a business holds customer service over the mighty dollar. This develops customer trust, ultimately resulting in successful, long-term consumer relationships.
These relationships make toll free phone numbers a good opportunity to tout great customer service – something that smaller home based businesses can offer better than huge corporations with thousands of employees. If a customer has questions or concerns about the product or service, that person will be more likely to call if they know they are going to get an answer, not a long list of automated responses.
Unfortunately, many home based business owners are under the assumption that their small budgets won’t afford a toll free phone number. However, the telecommunications industry is fairly competitive. As a result, toll free phone numbers aren’t as expensive as most assume. There are a number of online providers that offer monthly service that includes minutes and call forwarding. Most plans also allow for growth so a home based business can start off small and upgrade their plan as they grow.