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Even thought getting 800 is the best thing to do, however you wanna be aware of the fact that, if you are going to get an 800 number, it might have been used before and you might end up getting lot of wrong numbers depending upon the popularity of the company owing the number.
However there are still lot of people are not aware of the fact that 866 or even 877 is a toll free number :(
Below is what I would recommend::
1) Get a toll free number that you can brand it like 1-8xx-call-4me or 1-8xx-any-thing or 1-8xx-company (just something that would be easy for people to remember, a easy to remember number can prove very beneficial for the success of any business)
2) Make sure that on your web site you *specify* that TOLL FREE number.. cuz if the end user is aware of it.. it does not hurt.. and if they are not.. you don't wanna miss those customers.
Hope this helps.
if you are going to get an 800 number, it might have been used before and you might end up getting lot of wrong numbers depending upon the popularity of the company owing the number.
I'd search Google before getting an 800 number: 800-***-****.
A lot of phone numbers show up on web pages and newsgroups. It's not 100%, but it may help you to avoid getting a lot of unwanted calls.
Furthermore, I think there is the possibility that having a number like 877-777-8888 tends to lend credibility to the company as people may think that the number is difficult to get and your company must be with it.
By the way, AT&T has an availability checker to find numbers (most providers do).
what's the best way to set it up and where its possible to save money
Nearly all long distance carriers can do an 800# for you. If you're satisifed with your current LD carrier, just call them and tell them you want an 800# ... their customer service folks will take care of you.
If you have "business" long distance they can get things done in a few days. If you are talking about adding an 800# to a regular residential-type line you'll get it set up within a week or so.
If you aren't paying less than 4 cents a minute with your current LD carrier, though, I highly recommend searching around for a cheaper LD carrier (there are about 1200 out there, many of them have high quality service, and the rates are low, low, low) before you set up the 800#. In general, your out-of-state 800# callers will cost you what you pay for out-of-state calls - so if you pay 3.5 cents a minute to call LD, you'll be charged 3.5 cents a minute for an 800# call. Some carriers hike their 800# rates - stay away from those guys.
Note: Switching an 800# to a new carrier is a hassle. So if you can, try and make sure you're happy with your total LD service before getting your 800# set up. (If you decide to switch carriers after you've established an 800#, you're going to have to fill out paperwork and it's a royal pain.)
The company I use has some very interesting features, you can do call routing, so you won't receive calls from the east coast at 6 am, you can send all calls from that time zone to voice mail during the night. You can also change the ring to number online at any time, so you leave the house and switch it to go to your cell phone until you get back, or your hotel room if you're on vacation, etc. You can also deny numbers if they repeatedly call you, saving you money.
Hold out for a real "800" number. I think plenty are still available if you aren't in a hurry. 888 might be okay.
As for getting wrong numbers, it happens. You'll have to pay for them. Still the cost is small. I'm told they don't reassign numbers for a year.
Toll-free numbers can be very useful for increasing sales and adding credibility to a small company.