The Top 16 Toll Free Mistakes

I’ve written a number of posts about several different mistakes that people make regarding toll free numbers so I figured it was time to write up a wrap up of sorts. This started as the top 10 mistakes but it’s up to 16 now. So here there are in no particular order.

1. Searching for a vanity number on the wrong website.

Be careful where you search for your 800 numbers
This is a common mistake and it’s easy to do. But unfortunately the look up tools on most websites lock up whatever number you enter so you have to buy it from them and use their more expensive service and in some cases pay them rent for the number that they just pulled out of the spare pool because of your inquiry. This is absolutely slimy but happens more often than anyone realizes. The only safe websites to search for numbers on are ours and AT&T’s.


2. Falling in love with the first girl you meet, even before you find out if she’s available.


This is extremely common as well. Most visitors come to our site with a dream number in mind and some have a hard time understanding that the first choice number they wanted isn’t available. They often think that’s the only number/girl that can make them happy and they get blinded by their desire and don’t see any other options.


3. Forgetting to transfer your toll free number to another carrier.

Forgetting to transfer your 800 number
If you don’t transfer your toll free number, the free temporary service we give you will expire after 30 days or 100 minutes of use. You won’t lose the number and you can still transfer it to whatever company you want to use it with the same way. All you need to do is get a resporg change form, from the new company, fill it out and send it back to the new company with the Toll Free Birth Certificate™ that we send you in the toll free manual.


4. Thinking you need to get your toll free number through your local phone company.

why you don't need to use the local phone company
Your local phone company is often the worst choice. They are usually more expensive, harder to work with, and more restrictive, refusing to send your toll free calls to a cell phone or phone line from any other company. I understand wanting to keep things simple and organized but just because you already get a bill from them is honestly not a significant reason to use them for the toll free service.


5. Buying a toll free number from a website because it looks nice, without researching the service.

some 800 services look good on paper but bad in real life
There are a number of nice looking websites and companies that may wind up costing you an arm and a leg, with hidden fees, lieing about things, over charging you in a number of ways, or even worse providing customer service that is worse than not having any at all. Research your options as carefully as possible but also know that if you get a number from us, you can always transfer it away if whatever company you select doesn’t wind up being as good as they sounded in the beginning.


6. Relying on your personal preference for a numeric number because you don’t like to have to think about dialing a toll free vanity number.

Vanity 800 Numbers and premium 800 numbers
Most of the time we as marketers try to do what the customer wants, but sometimes what they say they want, and what generates the best results aren’t always the same thing. Thousands of big companies have spent billions of dollars advertising vanity numbers for the past 20+ years for one reason, because they work.


7. Selecting a phone company on price alone.

You need to compare more than just priceA competitive phone company is good, but if their price is too low, what are they cutting in order to get the price so low. Are they going to be around or are they going to answer the phone and have someone to help you if they do anything wrong. Do they have hidden fees in order to make their price low or are they making deceptive comparisons? It’s smart to look for a competitive company but it’s just as important to go with a company that’s recommended by someone that you trust and that knows what they’re doing.


8. Thinking a phone number is or may be available just because it’s not answered or goes to an error message.

Calling a toll free number doesn't prove muchThe message you hear does NOT tell you the actual status in the national database. If our look up tool says it’s active, it’s active and can’t be backordered, even if it goes to a message saying it’s disconnected. There are a lot of possible reasons for that. You can research it further in our consulting section but unfortunately we can’t do that much to get those for you.


9. Limiting your self too much (to 7 digits, only ‘800’ numbers, pure generic numbers, etc).


One of the reasons that visitors don’t get the number they want is that they put to many limitations on themselves. If someone says they only want 7 digit numbers I usually ask if they think the generic term for their business which is usually longer than 7 digits was disconnected would they want to know about that? (ie 1-800 PHOTOGRAPHER and 1-800 RESTAURANT) That shows that their “rule” is actually a preference not a requirement.

Our job is essentially to show you as many options and possibilities related to your terms as possible. Most people come into this too focused on their dream number and it’s our job to broaden their horizons. Most customers can’t get the perfect number, but they can get a good number if they really open up and work at it.


10. Thinking that generic numbers are more valuable than more creative numbers.

Your mom will still buy from you even if you don't attract anyone elseGeneric terms say what type of business you’re in, but they don’t give you a brand name. You can’t stop your competitors from using the term in their name and if they Google it, they’re probably going to find lots of competitors but not you. It’s like putting yourself in a generic cereal box on a crowded shelf filled with other boxes of cereal. You need to do something to stand out, make yourself unique, highlight the reasons they should buy your service, not just what type of product or service you offer. Be creative and bold. Do something exciting to stand out. Highlight what makes you the best.


11. Not calling your toll free number before you put it into advertising, every time.

No butts, you have to check your toll free number every time.Always, always, always just call it. It’s easy to do and could save you an awful lot of heart ache and wasted money. Even if there’s just a small chance that it’ll save your butt at some point, isn’t it worth it to make this a habit? Believe me and don’t learn this the hard way.


12. Not getting your toll free number from an independent 3rd party service.

Get your toll free number from an independent 3rd party service.
Sure the people who are trying to sell you their toll free service and keep you there will tell you that you don’t need it, but the truth is that your ability to transfer the number is more important to you than it is to them. This is also the only way to guarantee you have the ability to transfer your number away and they can’t try to steal your number. That’s what keeps them accountable and its really no surprise that they don’t want to be accountable. You also get someone that knows what they’re doing, that’s accountable, knowledgeable, and accessible on your side.


13. Assuming your phone company will process your toll free transfer just because you sent them the form.

Don't just assume your toll free number is being transferred, double check it
One of the most common ways for people to lose toll free numbers is to assume that they are being transferred to the new phone company. If you mess this up I hope you don’t mess up #10, forgetting to check your toll free number too. Give them time to process it, and realize that it’s hard to find it in process. Most companies can only see whether it’s been released or not. But follow up and don’t just assume it was done because you sent in the forms.

13. Believing and acting upon everything your phone company representative tells you.

Don't believe everything the phone company rep tells you
I have by far more posts about this than any other issue in this list. Probably because they say so many crazy things that relate to so many different things, but especially transferring toll free numbers. Whether it’s how long they say the transfer will take or if they say we rejected it, or need a bill copy or even that something can’t be done. Most phone company representatives get very little training on toll free transfers and it’s like asking the cashier at Walmart for advice about cuts of meat instead of talking to the Butchers.


15. Building your house on someone else’s rented property (and sometimes not even realizing it).

don't invest money property you're just renting
The most important thing to remember about this is that the more you advertise someone else’s number the more at their mercy you become. And any time someone else has that kind of ultimate control over your business it almost always creates a very bad situation. 800 number sharksAnd many of the shared use businesses tend to build their business on and make their most money by taking advantage of that control.

16. Falling for the flat rate scams or buying minutes in buckets or blocks.

Flat rate 800 is a shell game and scam
I use the analogy of the shell game because it’s very similar in a lot of ways. They control the rules and set the terms to make it sound as attractive as possible, like you’ll save a lot of money but in the end you wind up losing more often than a drunk in a Las Vegas casino. You’re guaranteed to pay for more than you use for the first few months and then if you do use more than you’re paying for, guess what there’s a loop hole that says they can shut down anyone that abuses the system. Then you’ll pay whatever it takes to get your number back working because at that point you’re out of business and you’ll gladly switch to a per minute rate even if it’s a higher than you could have gotten somewhere else. No big name phone company ever offers this and no really large customers ever use this for a reason.

If you have any other suggestions to add or additional mistakes, post a comment!

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    3 pings

    Calling your cell phone company is a mistake at TollFreeNumbers.com says:
    January 4, 2009 at 12:14 am

    [...] people make the mistake of calling their cell phone company and asking them about toll free service. The cell phone [...]

      Don’t get trapped in the wrong 800 Service at TollFreeNumbers.com says:
      August 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm

      [...] how important it is to use our independent look up site at TollFreeNumbers.com where you won’t be trapped into the wrong service, and then to transfer the number to whatever service you want to use it with rather than activating [...]

        Why don’t we show you per minute rates? at TollFreeNumbers.com says:
        October 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

        [...] it’s the best deal ahead of time, because once you get the number from them you’re probably stuck with the wrong company. We do show our one time fees but we don’t list per minute rates because we don’t charge any! [...]

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