Toll Free Number Tricks: Question & Answer Voicemail

With a toll free number and virtual phone system from Global Call Forwarding, your voicemail service goes well beyond just taking messages on missed calls.

One of Global Call Forwarding’s most popular voicemail features is the ability to set up automated question and answer voicemail boxes. These voicemail boxes prompt callers with a series of your pre-recorded questions, then string their answers together into a single voicemail message. For example, if your automated questionnaire involves five quick “Yes or No” questions, you might get a message in this voicemail box of, “Yes – No – Yes – Yes – No.”

Here are a couple great ways you can use question and answer voicemail boxes with your business…

1. Conducting Call-In Surveys

If callers are dialing your toll free number for the express purpose of taking a survey, question and answer voicemail makes automating these surveys a snap. Simply present any surveys you’re conducting as a extension options from your auto attendant recording. When callers choose their survey extension, they will hear your pre-recorded series of questions and be given a chance to respond to each. When they’re finished, you get a single voicemail message that has all of their survey responses, in order, left in the voicemail box corresponding to the survey they chose.

2. Customer Service Follow-Up

Another very popular form of survey-taking is asking callers to respond to questions at the conclusion of speaking to a customer service or technical support representative. With your question and answer voicemail service, a representative can ask the caller if they wouldn’t mind taking a brief follow-up survey. If they agree, the representative can simply transfer the caller to the survey extension, where the follow-up questions will begin automatically and record the caller’s responses.

3. Automated Order Taking

Using question and answer voicemail to automate taking orders over the phone can be a great time-saver and a real convenience for your returning customers. Since they can reach your virtual phone system 24/7, your customers can get their orders in when it’s convenient for them – even if that’s outside your business hours. Callers simply identify their account information (e.g. first and last name, and a password for security purposes), and what they would like to order with the billing information they already have on file with you. You get a single voicemail message that contains all the information you need to look up their account, verify their identity, and provision their order.

Toll Free Number Tricks: Vanity Overdial

I recently went over how to use vanity toll free numbers to help build your brand. In that post, I mentioned one of the trickiest parts of wielding a vanity number is finding it in the first place. The pool of available toll free numbers on the national database is limited, and many businesses before you have had a chance to comb through looking for their prized pick.

But all is not lost. Today I’ll cover one of the lesser-explored ways around available number limitations: the vanity overdial. Businesses such as 1800MATTRESS (1-800-MAT-TRES[S]) and 1800 CONTACTS (1-800-CON-TACT[S]) have been using vanity number overdial for years with great success. By stretching your vanity toll free number one or two letters over the edge, you can get your hands on coveted, high-value vanity spellings that are otherwise unavailable.

Three’s a Crowd

Overdial toll free numbers have been around long enough that the vast majority of callers understand. They know that even though you’re advertising a vanity phone number with an extra digit or two, they still only dial the normal number of digits. Still, it’s important not to go overboard with overdial.

While you want to get a great toll free number, if you stretch your vanity spelling too far past the end of the actual number, you run the risk of having callers dial into your auto attendant and jump forward to extensions as they keep dialing your overdial digits. As a general rule, a one-digit overdial is usually safe, a two-digit overdial is a slight risk, and a three-digit overdial is too much.

Searching for Overdials

Finding and ordering vanity overdial numbers is easy. You can use the same vanity search tool we provide to search for regular vanity toll free numbers. When you’re doing your search, however, clip your vanity spelling one or two letters short and move the remaining phrase to the end.

For example, if you’re a realtor looking to find a vanity number ending in “HOME” or “HOMES”, you simply won’t find any available on the national database of toll free numbers. But with a little overdial finesse, you can change your search from, “8**-***-HOME” to “8**-***-*HOM” and get a lot of results. At the time of this writing, numbers like “888-414-1HOM” are available, which can easily be advertised as “888-41-41-HOME” or “888-41-41-HOMES”. Now that’s a great vanity number for anyone breaking into the real estate industry.

So what are you waiting for? Start searching!

Using Call Forwarding Numbers to Mask Private Numbers

While we often emphasize the power and importance of a virtual phone system for your business, many entrepreneurs instead use a call forwarding number simply to mask their private number.

By setting up your toll free number to skip your auto attendant greeting and immediately forward calls to your cell phone, you’re effectively adding another line to your mobile service. This line you can exclusively advertise to your business contacts, and gain several immediate benefits to both your work and home life…

1. Look More Professional

While there is a more personal element to advertising your cell phone number on things like business cards, doing so immediately betrays that you’re a small business or one-man-shop. If this isn’t the appeal you’re going for, using a toll free number to mask your cell phone number helps you appear more established and gives your business contacts greater confidence.

2. Screen Business Calls with Call Announcements

Call forwarding through your FreedomVoice toll free number includes the option to create a call announcement – a brief pre-recorded message you create that lets you know the incoming call is a business call when you answer. This way, when you answer your cell phone, you’ll know immediately whether it’s a business call or not and can greet the caller appropriately. You can also have the caller prompted to speak their name and have this played back to you before you decide whether you want to take the call or redirect it to voicemail instead.

3. Stop Calls Outside “Business Hours”

Even the busiest of entrepreneurs needs to disconnect every once in a while and keep their home life separate from their work life. With a toll free number and immediate call forwarding, you can simply temporarily disable your call forwarding number and have all of your business calls instead go to your voicemail. Your personal contacts still call your cell phone number directly, so you’re only shutting off your business line.

If you really can’t stand to be out of contact in case of a critical call, you can still enable text messaging call alerts and even transcribe voicemails, so you can quickly scan any voicemail messages callers are leaving and return any calls you absolutely have to.

Get Your Call Forwarding Number Today!

Hand-pick your own toll free number. That’s a small price to pay for your privacy and some peace of mind. You can also upgrade to an 800 number or vanity number for a low one-time cost. Remember – immediate call forwarding is just one way to use your toll free number. As your business grows and you find you need features like an auto-attendant, they’ll be available to you at no extra charge.