411 information services can become quite costly to businesses. There are now several free 411 services that work just as well as the traditional AT&T or carrier services. Of these services, Bing (800-BING-411) has a ranking at the very top of the list for quality and ease of use. If you happen to use the service from a mobile telephone, you have the option to receive company information and maps also. **** Special Note: as of June 1, 2012, Bing is discontinuing this service ***
For businesses to save money, the requirement to use an alternate 411 service must be enforced. People are creatures of habit and these habits, in this case dialing 411 for telephone number look ups, can cost your business as much as $1 each time it is used. It is our recommendation that this service be blocked at the telephone system PBX.
There are a couple of ways that a PBX or telephone key system can be programmed to block the more expensive 411 service.
1: Toll restrict the 411 number so that your PBX requires an extension to have a specific authority to dial it. Be sure your users know what free services to use and require them to dial it instead.
2: Choose your favorite free service and then program your PBX to dial their toll free number any time 411 or 555-1212 is dialed. This allows your users not to have to be trained to dial an alternate number.
By enforcing a policy of using free 411 services only, many companies can save hundreds of dollars a month. There may be a cost for your telephone system vendor to reprogram your PBX or Key System but the savings will far out weigh it over a year.
Ralph Willett is a Voice Communications Specialist. Additional resources can be found at www.MitelForums.com.
(Update: Jun-19-14) Also, you can find web based free 411 here.
Another Free 411 option to note is 1-800-free-411. This is an advertiser supported service.
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