Bug Repellent

Don't Miss That Call!

Stay connected with toll-free call forwarding.

As soon as you leave the office, an important call comes through. In the past, the caller just left a message, and that was that. Then call-forwarding services that located you and sent the caller your way, no matter where you were, changed all that. Now another development is emerging, one that will make customers even happier: toll-free call forwarding.

Here's how it works: Subscribers to toll-free forwarding services like those offered by Harcom Corp. (http://www.harcom.com) in Irvine, California, specify up to eight alternate phone numbers where they can be reached. Important clients and other callers are no longer given your office number as your main contact point; rather, they call a toll-free number and hear a recording that indicates you're away from your desk but will be found in a moment. "Then the device dials each of your alternative numbers, such as your car phone, your home phone, your office phone, or a hotel where you're staying," says Dan Harris, president of Harcom. If you're not available at any of the numbers, the system forwards the call to voice mail.

Subscribers pay 7.5 cents per minute for Harcom's service, but only for time spent talking to the client or prospect--there's no charge for search time. Customers, meanwhile, not only save money on calls to you but are also more likely to actually reach you when they have matters that can't wait. And that takes your customer service to heights most clients won't forget.

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This article was originally published in the May 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Bug Repellent.

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