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Toll-Free Messaging + A2P DLC: The 2022 Dream Team


Toll-free numbers are great. You can call anyone from anywhere and talk as long as you want, without incurring long-distance charges. But there’s a lot more to toll-free numbers (TFNs) than just “free” phone calls. In this post, we’ll look at where toll-free started, what it’s capable of now, and where it’s headed.  Plus, we’ll give you a few tips for making the most of toll-free messaging.

Let’s dive in.

Where Did “Toll-Free” Come From?

Use of the 1-800 number started in 1967, the same year Disney released The Jungle Book. The goal? To replace live operators on collect calls.

Not surprisingly, the concept became wildly popular with businesses almost overnight. Hotel operators and car rental companies rushed to adopt toll-free numbers (TFNs) for sales and appointment booking. And once the FCC mandated TFN portability — giving businesses the freedom to move from one carrier to the next whenever they wanted — demand for toll-free calling when through the roof. A similar movement is happening with carriers mandating the use of A2P 10DLC, which you can read more about here.

Of course, the rest is history.

How Do Toll-Free Numbers Work in 2022?

Toll-free numbers (TFNs) are a useful tool for businesses and incredibly convenient for customers.

Not only can they spell out your company name (a vanity number), giving your marketing efforts more traction and making it easier for customers to remember, but they can also be text-enabled. For example, you can text 1-800-SAMSUNG to resolve a warranty issue on the Samsung TV you bought for Super Bowl LV, if it goes dead on you. You don’t need to wait on hold or talk to a customer service representative on the phone anymore.

In a world with more conveniences and less time (as elegantly put by George Carlin), we anticipate that more businesses will decide to go this route to facilitate more conversations with retail customers.

But there are more benefits to text-enabled TFNs than just convenience. By enabling your TFN with A2P texting, you can streamline support ticket resolution and improve customer relationship management. And if you add “Text or Call” next to your TFN on your marketing materials, you’ll give your customers more options for connecting with your sales team too.

Beyond this set of advantages, A2P 10DLC numbers allow you to show off your local presence, which can be a great way to establish relationships with communities.

Does My Toll-Free Number Offer Text Messaging?

The concept of toll-free messaging is fairly new. In fact, as of publication, Verizon is the only carrier offering A2P toll-free texting. But toll-free is increasingly becoming the preferred method of communicating with customers for support, success, or sales.

Should I Consider Enabling Toll-Free Messaging?

There are lots of reasons why businesses should adopt toll-free messaging. Here are just a few fun statistics to think about (from Somos, Inc., a TFN registry):

  • 69% of consumers would like the ability to text a business
  • 39% wished more businesses would text them
  • 75% of consumers are frustrated when they can’t reply to business texts

Based on the statistics above, if your business has a TFN, you should explore the opportunity of text-enabling it and tying it to your contact center. The name of the game is to make customer care conversational, engaging, and, most importantly, timely.

The good news is Telgorithm can help you enable toll-free messaging. Click here to schedule a meeting with us.

What’s Next? High Throughput Toll-Free Messaging

In the world of messaging, TFNs are sleeping giants. A messaging-enabled TFN is capable of sending 12,000 texts per minute or 200 messages per second. Yes, you read that correctly.

But to achieve these ginormous throughputs, your messaging provider must be able to support it (hint: Telgorithm does). Next, your provider must be able to guide you through the registration process, so you can get your TFN pre-approved with the Direct Connect Aggregator (Zipwhip in this case). The pre-approval process can take anywhere from 2-5 business days. In extreme cases, Zipwhip may escalate your registration to the mobile carrier. If that becomes necessary, Telgorithm will help you navigate that complexity.

Note: Each TFN has to go through its own pre-approval process. If you need to assign multiple TFNs to a single use case, Telgorithm can guide you through the nuances of that registration process as well.

In case you’re wondering, Telgorithm’s default throughput on a TFN is 600 messages per minute or 10 messages per second. Many messaging providers default to 3 messages per second.

How Does the A2P 10DLC Ecosystem Affect Toll-Free Messaging?

As of the date of this article, TFNs aren’t affected by changes related to A2P messaging. However, Verizon has already launched an A2P product for toll-free messaging. When Verizon rolled out their A2P 10DLC product, AT&T and T-Mobile followed with their own version of A2P 10DLC. Assuming the past repeats itself, Verizon’s move to A2P for TFN will eventually prompt AT&T and T-Mobile to deploy something similar.

Interested in exploring local presence with 10DLC? Schedule a meeting with us.

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