Why Your Toll-Free Number Testing Needs an Upgrade


Cyara's Latest Testing Solution Ensures a Seamless CX Across All Your TFNs

Toll-free numbers are a critical component of many businesses’ customer service, sales and marketing efforts. Large enterprises may employ hundreds or even thousands of them to connect to customers in different demographic regions, route calls to separate company divisions or track the results of specific marketing campaigns or channels.

These toll-free numbers (TFNs) help companies deliver a better customer experience at scale. They also add legitimacy in the eyes of many potential customers. But they also create layers of complexity in an organization. With hundreds of TFNs in play, that’s hundreds of lines to keep up to date and track for problems.


Historically, this has simply meant one more thing that companies must manually test — more resources spent just to maintain existing systems. There IS a better way, and we’re excited to share a much more effective solution. First, though, let’s look at the problem in more detail.

The Problem with Broken Toll-Free Numbers

Malfunctioning TFNs are a significant issue for many organizations. Whether the line doesn’t work at all or it doesn’t work properly, it creates problems. Here are the three biggest.

Poor Customer Experience

First and foremost, unanswered toll-free calls are a customer service issue. 

Consider a major investment firm with regional offices throughout North America. Its website lists toll-free numbers for each of these regions, but a customer who calls the number for the Pacific Northwest gets routed to a call center serving customers in the Southeast. Now, the customer has to go through several layers of confusing call routing before they can connect with the right person. In the end, the company looks bad, and the customer is frustrated.

Or consider a health insurance carrier that runs a marketing campaign to direct customer traffic during open enrollment season for 2022. When enrollees call the provided number, though, the message that plays mentions open enrollment for 2021. The end result? A customer who is probably anxious about dealing with an already confusing product, and is now even more confused before they’ve even started the process.

Most companies would be unhappy with even one frustrated customer. Scale those frustrations up with the sheer volume of calls these toll-free numbers handle, however, and you have a major problem on your hands. Ultimately, it can lead to a drop in a company's Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and cause customers to look elsewhere.

Revenue Loss

In many organizations, sales and marketing departments assign toll-free numbers to align with specific campaigns targeting specific geographies or marketing channels. For instance, a company may want to track the performance of print and digital campaigns separately, and using different TFNs is an easy way to do it.

The challenge is that these campaigns can change frequently. That means the numbers assigned to them must be reassigned and inactivated based on campaign changes. This puts additional strain on small telecom teams that likely don’t have an accurate inventory of what TFNs are actually provisioned, active and available in a given geographical area at a given time. If the first prompt doesn’t match the messaging for the specific campaign or if the TFN is inactive when dialed, that represents lost revenue for that campaign.

Even when companies only use static toll-free numbers to route calls to various regions or departments, they still have issues with losing track of TFNs that have gone out of service. Often, there are simply too many to effectively monitor to prevent business interruptions and potential revenue loss. On top of that, the company may be paying for TFNs that it’s no longer using, further eating away at profits.

Risk of Non-Compliance Penalties

Companies in some industries face another potential cost of broken TFNs: non-compliance fees. Healthcare providers, utility companies and government entities are all heavily regulated, and part of that regulation is the requirement to provide accurate contact information for customers at all times.

Say, for instance, a customer wants to report an outage to their local electric company. They find a toll-free number for reporting outages on the website, but when they call, they find the line is no longer active. That electric company could now be on the hook for a fine because it failed to provide working contact information.

This challenge is further complicated by the fact that businesses in industries like healthcare deal with seasonal surges that require more TFNs to manage call volume, exposing them to more non-compliance risks.

The Testing Barrier

No organization wants to deal with these dents in its reputation or cuts to its profits, but solving the problem is easier said than done. The only way to avoid broken toll-free numbers is to test the numbers regularly to ensure they’re in working order, have the right messaging and route calls properly. When you have hundreds or thousands of lines, though, this creates a massive demand on your resources for testing.

Companies operating at this scale usually have manual testing programs in place. In other words, employees manually dial each number and work through prompts to make sure everything is working right.

That manual effort represents a huge cost, and it diverts valuable employee resources that could be better used elsewhere. Most companies can’t afford to invest the resources needed to do it thoroughly. Instead, they conduct periodic spot checks on key numbers — typically fewer than 10% of their active numbers in a given week. That’s simply not sufficient to catch most of the issues before they occur. Service issues become inevitable. 

The Solution: Automated Toll-Free Number Testing

To escape this conundrum, businesses need an automated solution for toll-free number testing. That didn’t exist until now. With Toll-Free Fast Check, however, we're out to change that.

Our latest solution can automatically test and transcribe every toll-free number in a company’s repertoire in as little as 48 hours (volume dependent) — compared to weeks or months of manual testing. This goes beyond simply testing that each line is active, too. Toll-Free Fast Check conducts IVR message validation, transcribing first-level prompts so you can verify messaging is accurate. Customers are then provided with a complete report that lists status, cause of failure and the transcription of each IVR message. It can do this for any volume of toll-free numbers, no matter how large a TFN inventory you manage.

What’s more, you don’t even need to have access to the full Cyara platform to take advantage of this service. Toll-Free Fast Check is a concierge-style service that does all the heavy lifting of automated testing for you, leveraging the largest, most advanced cloud platform in the industry. All you have to do is submit your list of numbers, and we’ll do the rest. Our experts will manage the testing and reporting and deliver the results directly to your inbox. 

Are you ready to execute your marketing campaigns with more agility or plan for seasonal peaks without worrying about a dip in customer service? Learn more about what Cyara Toll-Free Fast Check can do for your business.