• TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS

You’ve heard it said about diamonds – but did you know that toll free numbers are “forever”? That is to say, you can keep a good, dependable toll free number for life.

When you secure a toll free number through a service provider, you have certain protections afforded to you by the FCC that help you keep that number in the event you change service providers, or even change businesses. Today we’ll cover that protection, some pitfalls to watch out for, and how to go about changing providers should the need arise.

Your Protection, A Brief History

Set the WABAC Machine to May 1st, 1993. This is the cutoff date set in 1991 by the FCC for 800 numbers (the only toll free number prefix at the time) to be made “portable,” such that customers can change carriers / service providers without changing their toll free number. The portability of numbers serves two purposes. First, it breaks the grip companies like AT&T had on 800 numbers in the decades prior and encourages greater competition. This inspires service providers to provide only the best service to earn their customers’ loyalty. Second, toll free number portability protects the investment a business makes in promoting and advertising their number as part of their brand.

Transfers take place by changing a toll free number’s “Responsible Organization”, or RespOrg. When you’re ready to transfer a number to a new service provider, simply contact that new provider and they’ll provide you with a form that you can fill out to start the transfer process. It’s usually a good idea to contact your old service provider to double-check your account information when filling out the form and make sure your account is in good standing, so that there’s nothing to stop your transfer from going through. You don’t need to mention that you’re transferring the number away. In fact, I recommend not. Less reputable toll free number service providers have been known to go out of their way to impede transfers if they have advanced warning.

Why to Avoid “Shared Use”

One of the more notorious pitfalls that can cause you to lose the time and effort you’ve spent promoting your toll free number is unwittingly using a “shared use” number.

Time and again, we at FreedomVoice hear horror stories from businesses that turn to us after being put through the ringer by “shared use” toll free number service providers. A shared use line is exactly what you might think – there are multiple businesses dividing up (often geographically) a single toll free number. The purpose is typically to get access to some kind of rare, attractive vanity toll free number spelling. The problem is, when the time comes for you to change service providers or to grow to a nationwide reach, you don’t own the toll free number and can’t take it with you. Everything you’ve built with that number is now lost, and you have to start all over again.

Our advice? Stay away from shared use. Find a toll free number you love for your business, and own it.

Safeguarding Your Toll Free Number

It’s always important to read the fine print when signing on with a new service provider / carrier to make sure you’re not getting into a toll free number black hole. If there’s any doubt about whether you’ll keep your number should you choose to leave, don’t be afraid to ask. And watch out for extensive “transfer away” fees. Some providers charge prohibitive costs as penalties to move a number away from their service.

While your rights to keep your number are in most cases secure, certain actions on your part might give even an honest toll free number service provider leverage to deny your transfer request. For example, if you have a sizeable unpaid balance, transferring your number away isn’t a means of dodging your bill. A service provider can, and likely will, refuse your transfer if your account is not in “good standing” at the time of the transfer.

Also, should you choose to transfer your number away from a service provider, don’t cancel your service with them prematurely. Wait until the transfer is complete, or you run the risk of having your transfer request rejected.

Read more

Whether you’re just starting a new business or looking to expand your growing business, figuring out how to get a toll free number of your own can be a bit of a mystery. But getting your business set up with toll free numbers is easier than you might think, and can help you immediately add to your professional image.

Getting an 800 number isn’t like setting up traditional phone service through your local phone company. Here are a few differences that make it easy to get started with a virtual toll free number.

1. No Equipment to Buy

That’s right – virtual toll free numbers are an equipment-free business phone solution. There’s no expensive call switching equipment that will swallow your budget, since all of the features and functionality are hosted from remote by your toll free number service provider. You get a professional auto attendant, multiple voicemail extensions, and can forward calls to your existing phones without any on-site installation or maintenance.

2. No Software to Install

With FreedomVoice, not only is there no equipment to buy, there’s no confusing software to download and install. Your toll free number service is controlled 100% from remote, and you can change your settings and check your messages at any time online through your secure WebLink interface.

3. Instant Number Activation

The best part of getting a toll free number from FreedomVoice? It’s activated instantly! Choose your own 800 toll free number and it will be ready for you to configure and use as soon as you place your order. We’ll help you walk through setting up your service and in a few quick steps you’ll be good to go!

So what are you waiting for? Choose your own 800 number today!

Read more

uk-flagOperating a business is the UK can be prosperous especially if you use a UK Toll-Free Number. Local numbers do have the advantage of local advertising, but toll-free numbers are more prestigious to the business. If you own an international business in the UK but operate from outside the UK, then a toll-free number might be your best option for the growth of your company.

When choosing the best number to use for your business, ask yourself, “How do I want to position my business?” A toll-free line positions your business as a larger business. If your business in the UK has a national market and a national brand, then a toll-free number is advised. One main advantage of a toll-free number is the fact that a customer can dial from the mobile or landline number and not get charged for the cost of calling. The cost of toll-free numbers is usually incurred by the company. The costs usually depend on the amount of usage, flat rate service charge and the cost of trunk lines.

The toll-free number is the UK is sometimes known as the UK freephone and starts with 0800 followed by seven digits (0800 XXXXXXX). Having a customized toll-free number from some of the best telecommunication companies like Global Call Forwarding has several benefits for your business. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits your business stands to gain.

home-based-business-owners-can-see-big-benefits-with-toll-free-numbers_54b9731150e85_w1500

Benefits of a toll free number in the UK

UK toll free numbers will immediately improve the credibility of your business. It will make your company or business appear larger and well established gaining trust among the consumers. Instant credibility is gained, and you might start to experience larger traffic than before.

The toll-free number lets ready customers call for immediate ordering of goods or services. In most cases, you get there are ready buyers who have made their mind order for your business but haven’t called yet. Getting a toll free number will make them order or ask instant questions that have been preventing them from making an order. In most cases consumers have a question or two about a certain product before they can make up their mind on buying. Create a capable insider team to answer customer questions and clear any worries they might have before making a purchase. Explain to them how your product will benefit them and in the process close many potential sales.

Various studies done in the UK show that customers respond much better to advertising with 0800 numbers that those without. A simple call from a customer just to make an inquiry can always lead to sales even if the customer was not an interested buyer. “Who doesn’t like to make free calls?” Customers who used to dial 100 and request for a free call to your business can now do that directly from their mobile phones.

International businesses operating in the UK are given a professional and polished image over businesses using local numbers. You can customize the toll-free number to match with your business idea. This makes it a lot easier for consumers to recognize your brand. The number works well with advertising and print media. Just have your company trucks or vehicles printed out well and add the number asking customers to call for inquiries.

Always use easy number combinations that are easy to remember. Numbers like 0800-6662323 are easy to remember than a number like 0800-2476980. Toll-free numbers can help build trust with your customers especially if good customer service is also offered. Remember customers are likely to call back for advice or help especially if their needs are met. They can even call to order more products from your business. A toll-free UK number enhances the chances of the customers calling back. The toll-free number is usually the first step in planning to grow your business within the UK and gain international coverage. Most consumers tend to think businesses with local numbers are small and do not offer an excellent service as those with toll-free numbers.

If you want to experience growth in your business, order a toll free number from Global Call Forwarding today and start enjoying the numerous benefits some of your competitors are already enjoying. Global Call Forwarding has helped provide toll-free numbers to many businesses in the UK that are now successful and continues to help more small businesses achieve their targets.

Read more

As we round the corner toward 2013, many companies might be thinking about what the next year will hold and how they can take advantage of emerging trends to make their businesses more profitable.

Virtual work spaces are a trend that might pay off in the New Year, according to Entrepreneur Magazine.

Employers who allow their employees to work remotely don’t need to relinquish any appearance of professionalism, especially as advanced mobile technologies have emerged.

Tablets and laptop computers enable sales representatives to give visually engaging presentations on the road and virtual phone systems that offer call routing features help remote employees get to every customer call whether they’re working from home or in another state.

According to the source this more than a trend, with a growing number of businesses across a wide span of sectors adopting this practice to keep their companies agile and reduce unnecessary expenses. Virtual meeting rooms are much less expensive than renting physical spaces and cloud-based phone systems are cheaper than airfare for a long-distance consultation. The biggest businesses may continue to foot these expenditures in order to maintain a physical presence, but those spaces might be re-imagined to reflect the office of the future.

Read more

Being a successful small business owner requires a unique blend of skills, including the ability to be proactive and creative, while, at the same time, scanning the competitive landscape for ways to improve and be more profitable.

Competing with larger companies is a constant, never-ending challenge, and getting ahead of the pack takes significant effort and ingenuity. In the end, you have to stand out against similar companies that do business on the Internet or you won’t survive.

Today, every small business can use a boost to get ahead of the competition and grow into a well-established company, and a wide selection of valuable tools is readily available to give you that boost.  One such tool is a business phone system with a virtual phone number — eVoice, for example.

An eVoice virtual phone number helps solve a wide range of business challenges small business owners encounter every day. I’ll cover three here.

First, there’s the challenge of creating a professional business image. First impressions are everything. When you switch to an eVoice virtual phone number, you can say goodbye to the standard ho-hum “I can’t get to the phone right now” greeting. A message like this can leave potential clients feeling as if they had called an individual instead of a serious and successful business. “Why would I want to do business with a company like that?” is not the type of first impression you want to leave.

With eVoice, you can be assured that every caller will leave a message or hold the line until you answer because the professionally recorded greeting, and subsequent direction to extensions (“press 1 to speak with Greg, press 2 for Sales, 3 for Customer Service” etc.), leads to a positive first impression.

Second, a virtual phone number leads to improved efficiency, resulting in increased productivity and revenue. The saying “Time is money” really applies here, and as with any useful tool, a virtual phone number gives you back the gift of time, freeing you up to focus on priorities. In essence, it acts as your own professional assistant, answering all of your calls and directing them to the appropriate extension. This promotes efficiency by keeping your calls organized.

Third, a virtual phone number from eVoice also makes sure that you receive every call. It does this by routing calls to your home, mobile, office, or any phone number you choose, as well as delivering voicemail messages as easy-to-read transcriptions in a text message or email.

These are just three ways an eVoice virtual phone number can help you compete, and win, in today’s challenging business environment. eVoice provides just the type of image and benefits you need to stay ahead of the competition, surpass goals, and eventually grow into a larger enterprise. See how with a free trial of eVoice.

Read more