The first and foremost reason why local phone numbers can come in handy is because local brick and mortar establishments still enjoy more trust from a certain segment of customers than their international counterparts. If your business offers a ‘local’ touch, then a local phone number will work to enhance it. Customers still won’t be able to walk two blocks to visit your head office, but the telephone number will make you seem more accessible.
Besides, many people take pride in their countries and hometowns – this kind of sentiment will make them choose you over another company that has no local contacts.
Talking about being personal, a study conducted by CRM Associates a couple of years ago proved that ads with local phone numbers received 60% more calls than the ones with toll-free numbers. To most readers toll-free translated to ‘waiting’, ‘call centers’, ‘answering machines’ and ‘not local’. Hardly the right sentiment for a company that puts large emphasis on personal customer service and being ‘closer to people’, don’t you think? As the number of international companies has grown in recent years, customers have gotten used to seeing toll-free numbers. This is not necessarily a positive, as the stigma or negative feeling that have always accompanied answering services has more than likely grown even stronger.
Even further, having a local phone number may improve your ratings in search results, as Google will be able to associate you with a certain location and thus show you on the SERP for a certain geographic-related query.
The bottom line is, choosing the right telephony option depends on the needs of your business. Large companies willing to limit their customers’ expenses and enhance their images as big international brands should no doubt go for toll-free. Local numbers, however, will be more suitable for companies that want to seem closer to their clientele and add a ‘local touch’ to their image.