Dennis Fromholzer’s CRM Associates recently issued a report that said the following about use of local telephone numbers vs. 800/toll-free numbers in print or online advertising:
In general, ads with local phone numbers receive more than twice as many calls as ads with just an 800 or toll-free number. The cost per call is 2.4 times higher in ads with just an 800 number than with ads with just a local number. The pattern of results that is observed in the US data is the same as has been observed in several other countries around the globe, which indicates that the results are reflective of very clear, deep, and culture-independent patterns of consumer shopping behavior.
Accordingly, Fromholzer says, 800 numbers wind up costing more than local numbers because they deliver fewer calls given what he says is a clear consumer preference for local numbers — suggestive of more personalized attention than 800 numbers, which suggest “not-local,” “call center,” “less caring,” “less personal attention,” “computerized answering service.”