Deciding between a local number vs toll free: which is better for business?


Even with the rise of social media where customers DM a company for concerns and complaints, nothing beats speaking directly to the business’s representative. Phone calls continue to be a reliable means of providing and getting immediate customer service support. And where calls are concerned, it’s the choice between a local phone number or a toll-free number. So, between a local number vs toll-free number for a business, which is better?

What is a local number?

Local numbers, also referred to as DDI or DID numbers, are not like traditional numbers tied to an actual phone line or hardware – all thanks to the upgraded network infrastructure, the NBN. Instead, these are specific to a city or a local area. When a customer calls a local number, they are charged for it instead of the company who owns the number. Charges depend on the cellular or landline service provider of the customer. There are advantages to getting a local number which is as follows.

  • Establishes Local Presence
    Numbers specific to an area helps establish a business’s’ local presence. Plus, it gives customers the sense of comfort that the business they’re contacting is within the same proximity as their homes.

  • Specific Local Advertisement
    A local number boosts local advertisement, especially in phone books circulated around the area. Plus, a local number helps increase growth in targeted online searches.

While it definitely has its perks, local numbers lack national reach. If a business changes its target market or grows, then a local number lacks geographical and logistical advantage.

What is a virtual phone number?

A virtual number is basically the same thing as a toll-free number. It’s a number that works through the help of the Internet and not with the aid of a hardwired phone. Virtual numbers offer a lot of advantages such as the following.

  • Adds Credibility to Business
    Toll-free numbers add more credibility to any business. Plus, it makes it easier for a customer to get in touch with your company. Depending on your set up as well, a virtual number can be paired with a live answering service to guarantee that all customer calls are answered promptly.
  • More Customer Coverage
    While a local number is only for a specific area, a 1800 number is widely available on a national level. Customers, wherever they may be, can contact your business. Toll-free numbers provide customers with a means to reach out to the business without added charges.
  • Affordable Means of Communication
    For the customer, calling a virtual number incurs no added charge – save for calls made on mobile phones. For the business owner, toll-free numbers are quite affordable whether your company is small or medium-sized.

Difference between local number vs toll-free number

Apart from the charges incurred by a caller, toll-free numbers and local numbers vary in numerous ways. These include the following.

  1. In terms of installation
    Local numbers need landlines that must be connected from the provider to your business premises. Installation of a local number is not only costly but it takes a lot of time, especially if there are building permits to handle. On the other hand, a virtual number is easy to set up since it’s based on the Internet and there is no need for hardware or actual phones. Plus, if you decide to relocate, you can still keep the number.
  2. In terms of call costs
    Unlike local numbers that charge the customer, toll-free numbers don’t incur any charges. If the call is made from an Australian fixed line or mobile phone, then the call is free.
  3. In terms of availability and reach
    Local numbers, as they’re called, are tied down to a specific area. So, anyone from a larger market will find it difficult to reach out to you, and, not to mention, it can be expensive as well. However, virtual numbers make it easy to contact you whenever, wherever. You can also set up a virtual number to a fixed line or route calls to VoIP phones or your mobile phone.
  4. In terms of call analytics
    For a local number, going through the call history can be done in four ways. One is through the phone bill, and another is by going through the phone’s menu if the handset comes with the option of “call log” or “recent calls”. In some cases, your landline carrier may offer to show you your call history via their website or through customer care. It’s a lengthy and troublesome process. But for a virtual number, it comes with an inbound call report so you can easily track and monitor where calls are coming from and what time the calls come in.

Choosing between a toll-free and a local number all comes down to customer perception. If your customers are concentrated in one area, then a local number is your best bet. On the other hand, if your business offers products and services that cover a wider scope, then a virtual number is the way to go.

While both numbers have its advantages, when choosing between a local number vs toll-free number, choose the latter. And for 1800 numbers, our team of experts at 1800 Numbers Australia can help you with that. Contact us today at 1800 900 991 or visit www.1800numbersaustralia.com.au.