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Toll-free and 1-800 numbers for business

Maximize value and authority with a toll-free or 800 phone number for your business.

อัปเดตล่าสุด January 22, 2024

Toll-free service started in the 60s, decades before the birth of the internet. Its staying power, fueled by convenience, has helped 800 numbers remain an important way for modern businesses to support their customers and manage voice operations. Thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) toll-free numbers and CTI software, toll-free service has evolved with advanced call routing, call monitoring software, and other call management capabilities.

These advances have made toll-free numbers more accessible to businesses of all sizes. Even startups and small businesses can get an 800 number and save costs while routing calls, managing call queues, tracking and reporting on-call data, and seamlessly resolving customer issues.

For new buyers, however, it can be tricky knowing how to pick a service that best fits their needs. Our guide can help you learn more about toll-free, 800, and vanity phone numbers—what they are, how to get the best toll-free phone number service, and why they might be a good fit for your business and customers.

What is a toll-free number for your business?

A toll-free number is a phone number that allows customers to call your business from a landline for free. If they call from a mobile phone, their service provider may charge you for minutes, depending on their plan.

Usually, when a customer calls a non-toll-free number, they’re charged for the call. But with toll-free numbers, the fee structure is switched, and the business pays for the cost of incoming and outgoing calls.

Toll-free phone numbers for business can be:

  • Domestic, which allows only callers from within the country to call for free

  • International, which allows international callers to call for free as well

Why get a toll-free number for your business?

Toll-free numbers provide customers and prospects located outside the local calling area with a convenient way to contact your business via phone, as they can avoid long-distance toll fees.

  • Provide options for all customers: When businesses don’t have a toll-free number available, customers may not reach out to avoid paying for call charges.

  • Make your contact info easy to remember: Businesses use toll-free numbers to make it easier for prospects and customers to memorize their phone numbers, provide a free service, and manage their voice operations more effectively.

  • Collect insights: Toll-free numbers for businesses can also be an important part of a customer feedback platform because they can help businesses gather insights. 1800 numbers are also prevalent in inbound contact centers.

In short, toll-free numbers help businesses remove barriers, financial and otherwise, for their customers who want to contact them.

Toll-free vs. 800 vs. vanity number: What’s the difference?

Think of 800 and vanity numbers as different types of toll-free numbers.

Any toll-free number that starts with 800 is considered an “800 number.” But toll-free numbers can also start with different three-digit sets, like 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833.

A vanity number uses numbers (and their corresponding letters on the keypad) to spell out a brand name, product, or familiar phrase. Examples of vanity numbers include:

  • 1-800-CONTACTS

  • 866-FLOWERS

  • 833-LAWYERS

Numbers can be both an 800 number and a vanity number. For example, “1-800-CONTACTS” is a toll-free, 800, and vanity number.

Top 9 toll-free number services for 2023

Ready to get a toll-free number but don’t know where to start? Let’s compare the best toll-free number services for 2023 to help you decide which one best fits your business.

1. Zendesk

Zendesk

With Zendesk, you can buy your toll-free business telephone numbers from within the interface, so you can start using them right out of the box. Zendesk also lets your customer service teams provide phone support and handle all conversations from one place, giving them a unified customer view. This provides your support agents with the context they need to deliver exceptional, personalized experiences.

When calls roll in, Zendesk springs into action to optimize the customer experience with a few important features:

Interactive voice response (IVR)

Zendesk comes with an interactive voice response (IVR) call tree that serves as the first point of contact for customers. Through a series of prompts, the IVR can answer common questions or intelligently route the caller to the agent who’s best suited to handle the inquiry.

Real-time dashboards

Real-time dashboards in Zendesk update instantaneously, so management teams always have access to the latest reporting and analytics—like the number of callers in the queue or number of available agents—enabling them to maximize support. Zendesk offers pre-built dashboards so you can start analyzing metrics out of the box. You can also use customizable dashboards to personalize your view with the metrics and charts you want to see.

Embedded voice

Using Zendesk, you can add a “Call Us” button that lets customers make a toll-free call with a simple click. This embedded voice button gives your customers a way to seamlessly and conveniently connect with your team, creating a great customer experience.

Zendesk offers a range of plans to suit the needs of businesses of all sizes.

Features:

  • Call recording

  • IVR

  • Embedded voice (add a “Call Us” button to your website or app)

  • Real-time dashboard

  • Unified conversations

  • Easy setup

Pricing:

  • Suite Team: $55 per agent/month

  • Suite Growth: $89 per agent/month

  • Suite Professional: $115 per agent/month

  • Suite Enterprise: Contact sales

Free trial: 14 days

2. RingCentral

RingCentral

RingCentral features several toll-free number options to help your customers connect with you for free. The software offers the classic 800 number prefix, plus alternatives like 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 numbers. You can also create a custom vanity phone number so you can make your phone number easy to remember.

RingCentral lets you port your existing toll-free numbers to the platform, too. In addition, the Zendesk integration offers automatic ticket creation as well as call routing and forwarding that simultaneously sends calls to a smartphone, an office location, or multiple devices.

Features:

  • Call routing

  • IVR

  • Call button for your website

  • Monitoring and recording

  • Call delegation

Pricing:

  • Essentials: $19.99 per user/month

  • Standard: $27.99 per user/month

  • Premium: $34.99 per user/month

  • Ultimate: $49.99 per user/month

Free trial: 14 days

3. Dialpad

Dialpad

Dialpad’s unified communications (UCaaS) platform allows you to make phone calls, participate in video conferencing, and send messages on both desktop and mobile. You can buy a toll-free number through Dialpad (or easily add an existing one) and route the incoming calls to your support team with your VoIP phone system.

Dialpad’s unified platform lets you see all your communications in one place. It also features call recording, voicemail transcription, custom IDs, DIY call routing, and an auto attendant. With the Zendesk integration, you can make calls, send messages, and create tickets automatically.

Learn more about Zendesk for Dialpad.

Features:

  • Toll-free number support

  • Call recording

  • Analytics and reporting

  • Auto attendant

  • Real-time transcription

Pricing:

  • Standard: $15 per user/month

  • Pro: $25 per user/month

  • Enterprise: Contact Dialpad

Free trial: 14 days

4. Vonage

Vonage

Getting a toll-free or business 800 number with Vonage lets your customers get in touch with you without paying long-distance charges. Vonage’s cloud-based call center solution helps businesses create good experiences for customers by giving employees the tools they need for better productivity, efficiency, and personalized experiences.

Vonage offers a flat monthly rate without per-minute charges for businesses that purchase a toll-free number. This includes customers dialing in from the United States or Canada.

Learn about Zendesk for Vonage.

Features:

  • Screen and voice recording

  • Omnichannel support

  • Customizable dashboards

  • Real-time and historical analytics

  • Virtual assistant

Pricing:

  • Mobile: $19.99 per month/line

  • Premium: $29.99 per month/line

  • Advanced: $39.99 per month/line

Free trial: 14 days

5. CallHippo

CallHippo

CallHippo makes getting an 800 number for small business operations easy. You can purchase a toll-free number in three minutes or less, so you can start making and receiving calls quickly. If you already have a toll-free phone number, you can integrate it with the CallHippo solution. The company offers 24/7 support to businesses that buy a 1-800 number.

Toll-free phone numbers from CallHippo come equipped with call recording, call forwarding and transferring, IVR, voicemail transcriptions, and more at no additional cost. You can also add analytics and reporting features to help your business boost efficiency, handle high call volumes, and create good customer experiences.

Learn about Zendesk for CallHippo.

Features:

  • Call recording

  • Call forwarding

  • IVR

  • Real-time dashboard

  • Call analytics

Pricing:

  • Bronze: $16 per user/month

  • Silver: $24 per user/month

  • Platinum: $40 per user/month

Free trial: 10 days

6. AVOXI

AVOXI

AVOXI offers toll-free phone service in more than 150 countries. The company’s goal is to provide affordable plans with great coverage to growing businesses. You can purchase additional extensions, so the service can scale with your team as you grow.

AVOXI provides call monitoring, analytics and reporting, and more. AVOXI also has an IVR that features an auto attendant and several call-routing options. These features help improve efficiency, performance, and customer experience.

Learn about Zendesk for AVOXI.

Features:

  • Call routing

  • Click-to-call button

  • Monitoring and recording

  • Queue callback

  • Call coaching

Pricing:

  • Launch: Free

  • Contact: $19.99 per user/month

  • Engaged Enterprise: $39.99 per user/month

Free trial: 7 days

7. 8x8

8x8

8x8 offers support and toll-free phone numbers for your business in over 100 countries. This allows your scaling business to establish a brand presence in markets where you don’t have local employees. The company’s toll-free numbers have Tier 1 network support, so your business can experience great connectivity and coverage, no matter where a customer is calling from.

8x8 features a customizable platform that allows you to create call forwarding rules for more effective call routing. You can set up the rules for different situations, like routing calls to after-hours teams. With the Zendesk integration, you can manage all inbound toll-free calls in one place.

Learn more about Zendesk for 8x8.

Features:

  • Unlimited international calling (to 14 countries)

  • Auto-attendant

  • Call recording

  • Call center analytics and AI

  • Visual voicemail

Pricing:

  • Express: $15 per user/month

  • X2: $28 per user/month

  • X4: $57 per user/month

Free trial: 30 days

8. Toky

Toky

Toky’s simple and convenient voice platform for businesses makes communicating with customers easier. The company’s virtual phone system and CTI solutions aim to create a more seamless communication experience. With local and international numbers available in over 60 countries, Toky provides many options to connect.

Toky features an IVR system that helps customers connect with the agents most appropriate to handle their issues. Call recording lets you automatically capture important conversations from both inbound and outbound calls, with an option to convert them to text. Call monitoring lets you listen in on real-time conversations for quality assurance and coaching opportunities.

Learn about Zendesk for Toky.

Features:

  • Unlimited call recording

  • Unlimited inbound calls

  • Call history tracking

  • Call forwarding

  • Click-to-call button

Pricing:

  • Entrepreneur: $20 per user/month

  • Business: $25 per user/month

  • Enterprise: Call Toky for a quote

Free trial: 14 days

9. Aircall

Aircall

Aircall makes it simple to create toll-free numbers. With only a few clicks, your business can set up its new toll-free 800 number or create a vanity number that’s easy for your customers to remember. Aircall lets you pair toll-free numbers with local phone numbers, so you can set up a number that’s familiar to your local customers and that costs you less.

Aircall features multiple ways to route callers, depending on your preferences. Call cascading allows you to automatically direct calls to agents in a customized, pre-programmed order. Alternatively, you can set up an IVR directory to direct customers to where they need to be through a series of prompts.

Learn more about Zendesk for Aircall.

Features

  • Call routing

  • Blocklist numbers

  • IVR

  • Queue callback

  • Click-to-call

Pricing

  • Essentials: $30 per user/month

  • Professional: $50 per user/month

  • Custom: Contact Aircall for a quote

Free trial: 7 days

Toll-free number servicesStarting price (per user/month)
Free trial
Key features
Zendesk
$49

14-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • IVR

  • Embedded voice (add a “Call Us” button to your website or app)

  • Real-time dashboard

  • Unified conversations

  • Easy setup

RingCentral
$19.99

14-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • IVR

  • Real-time dashboard

Dialpad
$15

14-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • Embedded voice

  • Unified conversations

Vonage
$19.99

14-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • Embedded voice

  • Real-time dashboard

CallHippo
$16

10-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • Real-time dashboard

  • IVR

AVOXI
$0

7-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • Embedded voice

  • Real-time dashboard

8x8
$15

30-day free trial

  • IVR

  • Real-time dashboard

  • Unified conversations

Toky
$20

14-day free trial

  • Call recording

  • IVR

  • Embedded voice

Aircall
$30

7-day free trial

  • IVR

  • Embedded voice

  • Real-time dashboard


How does a toll-free number work?

Toll-free numbers work by sending a customer’s toll-free call through the SMS/800 database to identify who pays for the call, then routing it to the responsible party.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the toll-free number process:

  • The customer calls your toll-free number.

  • The call is sent to the customer’s local telephone company.

  • The customer’s local telephone company asks the SMS/800 database for the routing information of the business responsible for the cost of the call.

  • The customer’s local telephone company routes the call to the appropriate long-distance telephone company.

  • The long-distance telephone company receives and routes the call to the business’s local telephone company.

  • The business’s local telephone company routes the call to the business.

  • The business connects with the customer.

This entire process takes less than three seconds to execute.

What are the key features of toll-free phone software?

Toll-free phone software

Benefits of toll-free and 1-800 business numbers

If phone support is one of your primary customer service channels, toll-free numbers are highly beneficial. Here are a few perks for getting a toll-free or 1800 number for business.

Best practices for businesses using a toll-free number

Follow these best practices to maximize the benefits of using a toll-free number for your business.

  • Reduce wait times for higher CSAT: Giving customers the option to send text messages to your toll-free number allows them to skip long hold times during peak hours, boosting customer satisfaction. You can also have an IVR record quick answers to FAQs—like your address or business hours—and let customers request a callback.

  • Improve efficiency with routing: Equipping your toll-free business number with an IVR can improve efficiency, as the software routes inbound callers to the best agent to handle the call. Intelligent routing considers the caller’s responses to automated prompts and quickly identifies where to send the call for fast, effective service.

  • Personalize calls with customer context: Integrating your toll-free number service with your existing systems and support channels helps you meet customers where they are. Unifying all customer engagements and interactions in one place gives agents the customer context needed to provide a more personalized customer experience.

  • Prevent call center burnout: When you provide your agents with tools that make their jobs easier, employee satisfaction will rise. Toll-free phone software improves collaboration across teams, helps agents find critical information faster, and automates tasks to lighten their workload. This can reduce stress, prevent agent burnout, and improve crucial call center metrics.

  • Gather feedback to improve phone support: Sending CSAT surveys can amplify the voice of the customer and help you understand what customers love about your product or service—and where it needs work. Call monitoring and recording will help your team identify training opportunities to improve phone support, too.

How to choose a 1-800 number provider for your business

Each business will have a different set of priorities when picking a 1-800 number provider. Here are a few things to consider to determine the best fit for your business.

  • Features: Does it have all the features you want? IVR, call recording, call monitoring, and a real-time dashboard are just a few important features many companies prioritize when choosing a 1-800 number provider.

  • Pricing: Does it fit in your budget? Consider the features, integrations, and capabilities it offers (not just cost) to determine if it’s the right fit.

  • Easy setup: Does it sync with your contact center software so you can start using it right away?

  • Scalability: As your business grows, you might need a toll-free number service that allows you to quickly and seamlessly add more agents.

How to get a toll-free number for your business

While the specifics of buying a toll-free number may vary depending on who you purchase it from, the process is generally the same.

  1. Pick a toll-free service provider. You can reach out to your current telephone provider or contact center solution for service.

  2. Choose a toll-free number and purchase it. Depending on the country, you may need to verify your business before purchasing your number.

With Zendesk, you can easily purchase your phone number from within the Zendesk interface. Then, you can add a line to your Zendesk account. The following resources can help you through the process:

You can also purchase a toll-free number from RespOrg (short for Responsible Organization) and then port it over to an IVR software platform. Just keep in mind that purchasing the number from RespOrg rather than a virtual call center platform means you won’t necessarily have access to advanced features like phone forwarding, business text messaging, or customer support software integrations.

Toll-free number FAQs


Get toll-free numbers automatically with Zendesk

When you start your Zendesk trial, you can purchase and activate a toll-free number within the app. If you have an existing number, you can migrate it to Zendesk. Check out our free demo to learn more about toll-free phone service through Zendesk.