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What Is Toll-Free Forwarding and How Does It Work?

|  7 min
In this article

Introduction to Toll-Free Forwarding

In today’s fast-paced business landscape where customers prioritize good service and experience more than ever before, every interaction counts. This is especially true for businesses with an international presence who have customers in one or many overseas markets. 

Unfortunately for businesses, however, many customers who attempt to interact via telephone can’t get through. In an in-depth report published by Balmer in the UK, it was found that 85% of customers whose call is not answered do not call back. For UK businesses, this equates to £30 billion in lost revenue every single year due to missed calls. 

The fact of the matter is, maintaining strong customer relationships is nothing short of crucial for growth and commercial success. Every call your business misses could potentially cost you a customer, especially since 61% of consumers switch to a competitor if they don’t get a response the first time. 

(Image source: balmerlimited.co.uk)

One of the best and most cost-efficient ways for businesses to deal with a high volume of calls that are potentially coming from multiple locations worldwide is with toll-free forwarding

Put simply, toll-free forwarding is a cloud-based service that enables your customers to call you, toll-free, from anywhere in the world, with their calls automatically forwarded to any other specified device anywhere around the globe, so you never miss a call again. 

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at this fantastic service. We’ll explain how toll-free forwarding works, its benefits for businesses and their customers, and the ins and outs of setting up toll-free forwarding, including best practices and pricing models. We’ll also cover what you should consider when choosing a toll-free forwarding service provider, and take a look at some toll-free forwarding technology trends. 

Let’s dive in. 

How Toll-Free Forwarding Works

Toll-free forwarding basically means giving out a special phone number that’s free for people to call you on. All calls then get sent, or forwarded, to wherever you choose, such as your mobile, office line, or call center. 

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Toll-free number: This is the special easy-to-remember number (often starting with 800, 888, etc. in the US – other countries start with different numbers) that people call for free.
  • Forwarding: Calls to the toll-free number are directed to your preferred destination, like your office or call center.

Depending on what’s right for your business model, you can set up toll-free forwarding to forward calls onto a single number or multiple numbers. 

If you go for multiple numbers, you can then utilize various other features from your toll-free forwarding service provider to ensure you never miss a call, such as having phones ring in sequence, have them all ring at once, or have them routed to a specific department or location to ensure your calls are answered 24/7. 

Benefits of Toll-Free Forwarding 

As you can imagine, there are numerous benefits to toll-free forwarding. Here are some of the most important for both customers and businesses:

  • Increased Accessibility: Customers can reach you for free, removing a potential barrier to contact. This can lead to more inquiries, sales, and improved customer satisfaction.
  • International Exposure and Connection with Customers Worldwide: Toll-free numbers can be obtained with international prefixes, allowing businesses to advertise a local presence in various countries around the world. This can boost trust and encourage overseas customers to call without incurring high international charges.
  • Professional Image: A toll-free number projects a sense of legitimacy and established presence. This is especially useful for startups or small businesses looking to improve their brand image.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Calls can be forwarded to any location, including mobile phones, landlines, or multiple destinations based on time, day, or caller input. This ensures calls reach the right person at the right time, even for businesses with high call volumes.
  • Improved Customer Service: Features like auto attendants and call routing can streamline the call process, reduce wait times, and direct customers to the most qualified representative.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: While there are fees associated with toll-free numbers, they can be a cost-effective way to manage calls compared to traditional phone lines, especially for businesses that receive calls from a wide geographic area.
  • Data and Tracking: Many toll-free forwarding services offer analytics that track call volume, origin, and other metrics. This is highly valuable data that can help businesses understand customer behavior and improve call center operations.

Setting Up Toll-Free Forwarding

Setting up toll-free forwarding is incredibly easy. In fact, the whole process takes a matter of minutes and requires just two simple steps. 

First, select your toll-free number with your chosen service provider. At IDT Express, we offer toll-free numbers in over 60 countries, giving you instant access to numerous markets at leading rates. 

Next, activate forwarding… and that’s it!

Once activated, you’re ready to start forwarding calls to your new toll-free number. 

(Image source: idtexpress.com)

Choosing the Right Toll-Free Forwarding Service Provider

With a variety of toll-free forwarding providers available, selecting the right partner is crucial for your business needs. Here are some key factors to consider.

Features and Functionality

Assess the features offered by different providers. Look for options that align with your business requirements, such as auto attendants, call routing, voicemail transcription, and call analytics.

Reliability and Uptime

Ensure the provider has a strong track record of uptime and minimal downtime to guarantee your toll-free number is always accessible to customers.

Customer Support

Opt for a provider with responsive and knowledgeable customer support to address any issues or inquiries promptly and efficiently.


Consider your future growth plans. Choose a provider that can scale its services to accommodate an increase in call volume as your business expands.

Number Availability

Research the availability of the toll-free numbers you desire. Providers may offer vanity numbers (easy-to-remember sequences) for an additional fee.

Cost Considerations and Pricing Models

Of course, one further consideration you need to take into account when vetting providers is the cost of toll-free forwarding. 

At the very least, you’ll need to compare pricing plans and consider factors like monthly fees, per-minute call rates, and any additional charges for features. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a provider that offers a transparent and cost-effective solution.

There are several different pricing models you may come across. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to find. 


A good option for businesses with low call volumes or unpredictable call patterns. With pay-as-you-go, you simply pay for calls per minute used with no monthly fees. However, as you might expect, per-minute rates are usually higher compared to other plans. 

Minutes-included plans

For businesses with a more consistent call volume, this type of plan comes with a set number of minutes included in the monthly fee. Minutes-included plans offer a better per-minute rate than pay-as-you-go, though be aware that you will be charged extra on a per-minute basis if you exceed your allotted monthly minutes. 

High-Volume Packages

These plans are for businesses with consistently high call volumes and will generally come at a discounted per-minute rate. High-volume plans will also often come with additional benefits like dedicated account managers and priority support. 

International Call Rates

No matter which plan is right for you, if you expect to handle international calls, be sure to check the rates for calls originating from specific countries, as these can be different from domestic call rates. 

Best Practices for Utilizing Toll-Free Forwarding

Toll-free forwarding is undoubtedly a great solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you’re ready start your journey, here are some toll-free forwarding best practices to follow. 

  • Choose a memorable number as this always makes it easy for customers to get hold of you and recommend your services to other people.
  • Promote your toll-free number clearly on your website, emails, business cards and all other marketing materials.
  • Utilize auto attendants effectively by recording a clear and professional greeting to callers with clear instructions for how to reach the department they need. 
  • Track and analyze call data to better understand call volumes, peak times, and caller locations so you can optimize your call routing and customer service strategies accordingly. 
  • Test your toll-free forwarding system periodically to ensure calls are being routed correctly and voicemails are being captured.

Future Trends in Toll-Free Forwarding Technology

Toll-free forwarding is constantly evolving. As we head into the future, there is potential for this technology to become even more efficient. 

For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can be introduced in a number of ways. Smart call routing is one. This is where AI analyzes caller data (location, previous interactions, etc.) and automatically routes the caller to the most suitable agent, reducing wait times and improving call resolution. 

AI-powered virtual assistants which can answer basic customer questions, handle appointment scheduling, or direct callers to appropriate resources is another possibility. 

In addition, AI-powered advanced analytics such as sentiment analysis and speech recognition could be used to gauge customer satisfaction during calls, allowing businesses to address potential issues more efficiently. 

Finally, enhanced authentication systems could be implemented to prevent spam calls and improve data security. 

Get Ahead with Toll-Free Forwarding with IDT Express

Toll-free forwarding offers a powerful and versatile solution for businesses to enhance customer accessibility, improve call management, and gain valuable insights. And with the future bringing exciting advancements in AI and data analytics, toll-free forwarding is poised to become an even more strategic asset.

(Image source: idtexpress.com)

If you’re looking for a reliable and feature-rich toll-free forwarding provider, look no further than IDT Express. We offer a range of customizable plans, competitive pricing, and robust features to empower your business communication strategy. 

To learn more, explore our toll-free forwarding solutions or book a demo with one of our experts today.

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