If you’re running a small business or nonprofit and are trying to cut costs, let the toll-free number go (or get a new number and limit its use…keep it off the Web!). And unless you have to send or receive tons of faxes, get rid of the dedicated line for that too.
Money spent on every incoming call on your toll-free line (or on funds for a dedicated fax line) could be redirected to activities that add better value to your organization. Are you still hanging on to these thinking you’ll get more business by making it more convenient to call you? Do you think this is helping you appear bigger than you are?
Here is why you should consider using that money for something else (such as a top-notch Web presence).
Phone companies offer unlimited long distance. For $20 a month, I get unlimited long distance from AT&T. I don’t think twice about making a call and staying on the line until I’ve finished my business. I believe the people who need to call me probably have this same convenience.
Cell phones make it economical (free) to call long distance. I don’t give out my cell phone number and always have minutes to roll over to the next month. If I need to make a call away from my office, it’s no problem, no cost. Consequently, if I can call you for no cost, I don’t mind calling a regular number.
Google could work better than a vanity number. Getting a phone number that spells your company name, etc., is a cute way for people to hopefully remember you. But the perfect vanity number is hard to come by. And do people remember them? I don’t. I just Google anything I’m trying to find.
Here is why I got rid of my dedicated fax line years ago.
Combo copier/fax/printer/scanner with a splitter handles outgoing faxes. Before my printer broke, on the rare occasion that I had to fax something, my all-in-one machine worked great. Because DSL uses a different signal from the analog phone, I didn’t have to unplug or switch any lines. (I’ve been without a printer in my office for almost a year. In a later post, I’ll share with you how I run my business without one. When it broke, I realized that I hardly printed anything anyway. So I thought I’d try doing without one and it’s working.)
Free version of eFax handles incoming faxes. Since I rarely receive a fax, I use a free service from efax.com. I don’t publicize the fax number, and only give it out as needed. As long as I don’t receive more than 20 pages a month, the service is free (http://home.efax.com/s/r/efaxprint).
Regular postal mail will get it there. If they can’t email it, and it’s too many pages to fax, I remind people that it’s OK to use regular mail. We often forget about the option of mailing something. It still works.
So if you still have an 800 number or dedicated fax line, I’d like to hear why? Is it because you’ve always had one and never thought about it? Are your reasons for having it more important than improving your business infrastructure by developing more streamlined processes, enrolling in training and learning how to finish everything six times faster, hiring an expert to work with you so you can delegate, or developing a stronger Web presence so business comes to you? Let me know.
- Peggy Duncan