Toll Free Numbers

3 Business Tips Straight From The World Cup

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Have you caught World Cup fever?

As enthusiasm grows for the sport, more and more people are tuning in to the tournament, drafting their favorite players in fantasy leagues, and, of course, cheering for their teams. One thing I've noticed as I've watched---football (the other kind) has a lot in common with successful business practices. These three business tips stick out to me:

1. Goals matter.

This one’s pretty obvious in soccer, isn’t it? But how much attention do you pay to your business goals? If you’re not setting goals and measuring your levels of success against them, you might just be wasting your time---and money. Not sure where to start? Sit down with your staff and create goals for yourself, your employees, and your company that are SMART:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Actionable

  • Results-focused, and

  • Time-bound

Once you’ve clearly and concisely set goals, follow through on them. Make sure you revisit them annually to make sure you’re on track, and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals when necessary.

2. Listen to the coach.

As the owner or manager of your company, this may sound a little funny to you---after all, aren’t you in charge? Exactly! You’re the coach, which means you are responsible for coming up with a game plan, conditioning, training, and ultimately, executing a win.

In December, the U.S. Mens Soccer Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinnsman had this to say about his team: “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament." Sounds pretty harsh, right? This article contends that that Jurgen’s brand of coaching is exactly what the team needs.

“Through this sort of harsh realism, Klinsmann is asserting his belief that the U.S. must significantly change the way it produces soccer players. He wants the team to develop a coherent national style of play that will be employed at every level” so that 9-year-olds play the same way the national team plays. He wants teenagers to join professional teams when they're 18 instead of going to college, like they do in Europe. He wants to proactively identify and recruit dual nationals.”

How does that relate to business? It means everything starts with you. Despite what Klinsmann said about his own team, he obviously believes they have the potential and capacity to win on a big scale. Whether you’re frankly pragmatic, like Klinsmann, or more optimistic, the tone and expectations you set for your team will direct your success or failure (yet another reason we think it’s imperative to set goals from the top down).

3. Have a backup plan.

When USMNT defender John Brooks scored the winning goal in the United States’ game against Ghana, being a “backup” didn’t matter. Brooks actually became the first U.S. MNT substitute to score a goal in a FIFA World Cup, but what really mattered was that, in the 86th minute, Brooks’ goal was on target. Clenching a win against Ghana secured the U.S. team a win.

Like Brooks’ last-minute goal, a backup in business can come out of nowhere and help your business win big, too. With call tracking, you can have a backup always there to help you track calls across the U.S. without having to deal with your phone company.

Here’s how it works: When you advertise, we partner with you to give you local or toll-free numbers, depending on your needs. Whether you choose 800 or vanity numbers, you can use  your numbers on specific campaigns to see how the results stack up against each other. That information can help you determine which media work best for you, what time of day your ads are most successful, and more. (P.S. Not sure if you need a local or toll free number? Here's an article that can help.)

With call tracking, you won’t have to scratch your head wondering how your advertising campaigns are doing (and why they are or are not wins for your company). If you think that sounds good, but want even more insight into customer phone calls, we can record each call, too, so you can review them to help your team close more business.

So, whether you have been a diehard fan for years or are just dipping your toes into the world of (the other) football, enjoy the tournament! And then, take these tips back to the office and see what a difference they will make for your team. 

Should Your Business Get A Toll Free Number?

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Pay phones. Calling collect. Toll free numbers.

One of these things is not like the others.

Long gone are the days of scouting out a phone booth to make a phone call, and cell phone minute plans make calling collect ubiquitous---minutes are minutes whether you’re calling one house over or several time zones away.

So, if a vast majority of customers use services that don’t charge them to make calls, and they can call from any location, should your business have a toll-free number? Ask yourself these five questions to see if a toll-free number is a good call for your business.

1. Do we serve customers outside of our area?

If you’re shipping to, serving, or otherwise communicating with customers who are across the map, a toll-free number is a must-have. It tells potential customers that you’re willing to serve them no matter what their location. Consider this: you’re browsing online for a specific gift and you see two companies selling the same item for the same price. One has a toll-free contact number, and one has only a local number. Who do you call first? Chances are, you’re going to pick the 800-number, even if the only reason is because they appear to be more professional. Which leads us to our second question...

2. Does our business portray a professional image? 

800-numbers are a great equalizer in terms of professionalism. No matter how many employees you have or how long you’ve been established, a toll-free number gives an "official" feel to your business correspondence. With vanity numbers, the potential for unique branding and advertising is even greater.

3. Is our business growing?

Hopefully, your answer to this is a resounding yes! For growing businesses, toll-free and 800-numbers are an asset because they can easily be scaled from two to 200 numbers. In fact, you only have to pay for what you use---there’s not any charge for services that don’t work for you.

4. Are our offices in more than one location?

Toll free numbers work well for franchise businesses and satellite locations by providing cohesive contact information for each office no matter where it is located. Extensions allow you to route the call to the right employee, even if he or she is located hundreds of miles away from your main office!

5. Do we need a cost-effective solution that still lets us care for customers?

Another benefit of utilizing toll-free numbers is their low cost. Toll-free numbers are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install for business owners, and, of course, are free for current and potential customers. Though it’s true that many customers don’t have to pay for calls---especially if they are calling from cell phones---it still matters for two reasons: First, it still matters to some people. Take, for instance, the outcry against Spirit Airlines when the company announced it was switching from toll-free to not free numbers. Secondly, though it may not actually affect your customers, the perception that you would charge them to do business with you doesn’t seem like very good customer service (whether they would actually be charged or not!).

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, a toll free number could benefit your business. It takes only a minute to get set up, and you can add more numbers at any time. Contact us today and let us handle the details!

5 Genius Reasons To Use A Toll-Free Number

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Quick: what do you remember about the last three ads you saw or heard? Can you even remember the companies or what they were trying to sell? When I think about how successful a business is in attempting to sell to me, I’ve found that most times, I don’t have a very good memory about the business itself. Whether it’s that I am distracted, or just not immediately drawn to whatever good or service is being advertised, nothing is setting these businesses apart from their competitors. Therefore, my brain skips over the ad, and the company’s message is lost in translation.

But, I’ve noticed that those few ads that really pique my interest have one thing in common: the advertisers plainly, frequently, and often humorously, share how I can reach them if I want to know more. Even more interestingly, this is often done through sharing one small (but important!) piece of information: their toll-free numbers.

Easy, right? And effective, too! Here’s why using a toll-free number means business:

1. Toll-free numbers grab—and keep—your customers’ attention.

Do you remember the opera-singing Vikings who demanded, “It’s my money, and I need it now!” If you’ve seen this ad, then you’re probably humming the tune right now. Or, maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about; if not, check out this video, but beware: it may be stuck in your head for weeks to come!

It’s for a firm called J.G. Wentworth, and the entire gist of the spot is to point their core customer group to calling their toll-free number. According to financial analyst Lance Margolis, “the appropriate combination of quality television commercials and excellent financial services spelled success and national recognition.” But I’m going to go one step further. The ads were catchy not only because of the quality television commercial, as Margolis said, but because of the key pieces of information provided in the 30-second spot.

As ridiculous as the premise of Opera is, the ad is a good example of direct branding, in this case the 877-CASH-NOW phone number, said Carl Marucci, the managing director and senior editor of Radio and Television Business Report.

It was catchy, yes, but also an extremely effective means of sharing a toll-free number that ultimately drove the commercial to viral success: winning national and international awards and, most importantly, driving record inbound phone and web volume to J.G. Wentworth’s sales center.

2. A toll-free number is all about location, location, location; but not like you may think.

With a toll-free number, you can do business anywhere and provide your clients a single toll-free number to use to reach you. If you have team members working from locations across the country, or if you don’t need your customers to know where you’re located geographically, toll-free numbers centralize your business to the customer and signify both a local and nationwide presence.

You own your number, so as your business grows and changes, transferring the toll-free number is easy and automatic; your toll-free number will work wherever you do.

3. The toll-free number you choose is unique to your business needs.

Think back to the earlier J.G. Wentworth example. What set the company’s approach apart from its competitors was knowing its business well enough to utilize its strengths; for instance, its use of the toll-free number 877-CASH-NOW. In choosing its toll-free number, the company not only provided viewers a good experience, but drove people to action in a way that resulted in record-setting business. Toll-free numbers give you the features you need to ultimately improve your bottom line, and they are tailored to your business’ needs with the flexibility to grow over time.

4. Your business’ toll-free number isn’t just digits. With it come the features you need to control and improve your business.

Call tracking data, used in conjunction with your toll-free number, shows how your business is succeeding in its efforts, and also gives you the ability to see how the money and time you’re spending can be used more effectively to share your message. Without excellent data to back up creative messaging, it is purposeless, and, to your company, without value.

5. Authority and Credibility.

It’s true of most relationships in life and absolutely in business: we want to partner with, work alongside, and give our business those we have faith in. Toll-free numbers, on a smaller scale, begin customer relationships well by first establishing trust and convenience. For a smaller company with an excellent reputation but that is relatively unknown, the credibility of a toll-free can draw in customers who may have initially shied away. It then becomes the company’s duty, through top-notch service and product, to leave the customer saying “wow!” and sharing his or her experience with other potential customers.

At first blush, it may seem like an insignificant detail to include a toll-free number as a prominent part of your campaign or branding material. But it’s not! For me, and for many potential customers like me, a toll-free number is that small but significant feature that we remember about your company. Ultimately, a toll-free number has the potential to differentiate you from everyone else and increase business, and therefore, your bottom line!

What Is A Call Tracking Number & Why Should I Care?

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Would you mail a valuable package without a tracking number? I know I wouldn't. If I can know where it is, when it's going to get there, (and, if I sold something on eBay, when I can get my money), I'm willing to fork out a few extra cents for the tracking option. All those details are valuable to me. They put me at ease and help me plan for the future. So, let's switch gears a little... what about your advertising dollars? Are they valuable?

Of course they are.

Then I guess the real question is, why wouldn't you track those dollars to see where they're going?

So, what is a call tracking number?

Simply put? A "call tracking number" is a unique local or toll-free phone number that you can use to help you determine the return on investment (ROI) that you're getting from your advertising. It forwards to your regular business phone number, so when people call they're getting your business on the other end.

Here's an example.

Dr. Clean

Dr. Clean is a dentist who's planning to put advertisements for his dental practice on the radio, in the local newspaper and on television. He's a really smart guy, which means he knows he doesn't want to waste money on useless ads. So he buys three different phone numbers (that all forward to his office phone) to use as call tracking numbers for the ads: one for the radio spot, one for the newspaper ad, and one for the television commercial.

After a few weeks of advertising through all three venues, he checks to see which phone numbers have been called the most. Turns out, the phone numbers he put on the newspaper and television ads haven't been getting many calls, which means it's not really worth the money he's using to advertise there. However, the phone number on the radio spots is getting a ton of calls! Now that he knows that information, Dr. Clean decides to pull his newspaper and television ads, and put all his advertising money into radio spots.

But his call tracking efforts definitely aren't over. Now Dr. Clean wants to know what the best time is for his radio spots to play: early morning, lunchtime, or late at night. So he uses three different phone numbers in three different radio spots to test that out.

And the story continues.

Back To Real Life: Why You Should Care

Dr. Clean knows his stuff. He understands the number one reason he should care about call tracking numbers: it keeps you from wasting your hard-earned money on advertising that's not working.

That's the genius of call tracking: it allows you to refine your advertising, so you know each and every one of your dollars is being spent effectively.

And it doesn't stop with radio, tv and newspaper ads. You can use call tracking numbers on anything... even online.

Especially online.

Jeff Bullas, well-known Social Media Marketing Blogger, Strategist & Speaker, says that the often forgotten ingredient in measuring your content marketing online is a call tracking tool.

Call tracking tools enable you to include unique trackable phone numbers in your downloadable and printed content, videos, trade show presentations, emails, ads, and direct mail blasts to measure the calls they generate. Even if a lead visits your web site before calling you, call tracking tools can still tell you how that caller found your site and the web page or blog posts they called from.

The possibilities really are endless.

Start knowing exactly what makes your phone ring.

Don't have a call tracking number yet? TeleCapture can help you with that. You can get started in less than 60 seconds.

Get Your Number Right Now >

Toll Free Numbers and Local Numbers Should Have 100% Uptime

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Toll Free Numbers That Work 100% Of The Time

While chatting on our company Twitter account recently, I happened to come across one of our competitors, and out of curiosity took a peek at their page. To my surprise, there was a link to not one, but two Twitter accounts for the same business. As it turned out, one account was active for the sole purpose of providing updates as to whether or not their lines were experiencing problems that day and would be in working order for their customers.

What?

When you purchase a product you generally anticipate it's going to work. When the product happens to be the phone lines that bring leads into your business, there should never be any period of time when it is out of order. It is vital that your phone lines are up and running 100 percent of the time. One “down day” equals loss for your business, and being notified via Twitter of an outage or problem doesn’t put those dollars back in your pocket.

I'm proud to say that TeleCapture lines are tested daily to ensure your account is in full functioning order at all times. There is no need for us to have a dedicated Twitter account for alerting customers of outages, because all our servers are backed up and employ multiple termination carriers as well as redundant server based operations. Additionally, TeleCapture employs a 24/7 customer support team to handle any troubleshooting or assistance you may need while using our service.

Now that's 100% peace of mind.