Do I need a phone number for my Saas application


I am building a SaaS app, it's a pure search and download data type of app so I am not expecting much customer interaction other than site usage and I am wrestling with the question of weather I need a 1-800 number or can I just have my customers contact me through email? I will have an easy to use contacts page, FAQ page and a separate Help Guide Section and I was thinking this might be enough, not to mention I could eliminate another monthly expense by not having to pay for a 800 number.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Tim- VA

Customer Support Saas Web App

asked Mar 20 '12 at 00:09
670 points

3 Answers


A lot depends on the type of customer (business or consumer) and cost of the service.

As a general rule the more ways you can engage your customers or prospective customers the better but the actual cost of the number is minimal compared to the cost of the time answering the calls that will come in.

If you can't afford to field the phone calls then it's almost always better to not publish a number... some customers may be put off by needing to use email instead of phone but not as many as will be put off by not having their phone call answered.

answered Mar 20 '12 at 01:02
191 points
  • That's a good point about the actual time used by the answering of calls which will eat into the day and cause more of an expense. – Tim 12 years ago


With our startup we've found it invaluable. We put it on the top right of every page. It's used way less then our email or chat support, but the people that use it love us for it. In our case it's a differentiator from our competition.

Another upside... when you get a customer on the phone you can take advantage of that opportunity by getting their feedback on any number of things that go beyond their support issue that you've hopefully solved quickly.

answered Mar 23 '12 at 15:16
Joshua Ledgard
31 points


There are at least two conditions where you may be required to have a phone number:

(1) If you're doing a service where customers can upload content (which probably means any service), you will likely want to go through the steps to get the DMCA safe-harbor in case somebody uploads content that infringes somebody else's copyright. One of the requirements of the safe harbor is that you have to have a "DMCA Agent" to get DMCA complaints, and the agent's address and phone number have to be on the website. (See 17 USC 512(c)(2)).

(2) If you expect contact with children, you may need to copy with the rules under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which, among other things, require a phone number to be posted as part of the service's privacy policy.

answered Mar 20 '12 at 23:52
Chris Fulmer
2,849 points
  • Neither of these conditions apply to my service, thanks for the info. – Tim 12 years ago

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