Phone Billboards: Reclaiming the Phone Channel from Scammers |

Phone Billboards: Reclaiming the Phone Channel from Scammers |

Illegal robocalls and fraudulent calls plague consumers, increasing call avoidance behaviors and pitting businesses against scammers in the phone channel. However, brand communication technology helps companies reclaim the phone call to successfully improve customer experience and protect brand reputation, says Thomas O’Banion, head of demand generation at First. Orion.

Companies in all sectors face competition. Businesses today also compete with fraudsters and scammers to get consumers to answer their calls. It’s fierce competition, given that the massive year-over-year growth in scam calls is increasing consumer distrust of the phone call.

Brand communication technology, especially brand calling, is essentially a billboard on a mobile device. It allows companies to label outgoing calls with their name, logo and the reason for the call. This branded solution becomes a critical business enabler in an environment where scammers, spammers, and other nuisance callers harm the phone experience.

Brand communication technology injects trust back into the phone call, helping businesses connect with the right person at the right time to improve customer experience and brand reputation.

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The impact of scams on the customer experience

A 2022 Mid-Year Phone Scam Report which surveyed over 2,100 mobile subscribers, revealed the pervasiveness and impact of phone scams on the consumer experience. The report states that US mobile subscribers received more than 100 billion fraudulent calls in the first six months of 2022, predicting more than 80 million successful scam attempts resulting in cumulative financial losses of up to $40 billion.

The survey also revealed that 53% of respondents received more scam calls in 2022 than in 2021. While the problem of illegal robocalls and scam calls continues to plague consumers, the almost universal response is l call avoidance. When an unknown number appears on a call screen, that call is likely not answered.

Business calls that go unanswered are lost opportunities to build relationships, close sales and build customer loyalty. Playing phone tag in attempts to reach customers results in more calls, time and money, which negatively impacts bottom line results.

Contrary to popular belief, caller ID (also known as CNAM) does not appear for everyone. In reality, less than 10% of mobile subscribers have opted for caller ID. This leaves the majority of consumers receiving calls from businesses that appear as 11-digit numbers they don’t recognize.

Fight against consumer mistrust

The lack of context for incoming calls, coupled with the massive increase in fraudulent and spam calls, has conditioned consumers not to answer calls from unknown numbers. This combination has created mistrust in consumers’ relationship with phone calls, rendering the phone channel ineffective for legitimate businesses trying to connect with customers.

Operators rely on CNAM to correctly identify calls reaching mobile subscribers. However, given the number of different CNAM providers that carriers use, there is no guarantee that a company’s name will appear the same across all providers. If the name pulled from a database is unidentified or incorrect, there is a greater chance that consumers will perceive the phone call as spam and leave it unanswered.

Even though the threat of spam and fraudulent calls continues to condition consumers to ignore calls from numbers they don’t recognize, voice remains a preferred communication channel. While this call avoidance helps consumers avoid scams, the downside is the possibility of missing an important call. A recent survey revealed that 78% of people said they missed an important call because they didn’t answer a call from an unknown number.

Content and brand rich solutions have been developed to help businesses increase engagement, deliver a superior customer experience and protect brand reputation. When consumers know it’s possible to answer the call they receive without fear of being scammed or phished, trust in the brand increases and the experience is enhanced.

This improved experience can improve a company’s bottom line. According Deloitte, customers who value positive experiences are likely to spend 140% more than customers who report negative experiences. Additionally, delivering positive customer experiences can reduce the cost of customer service by up to 33%.

And it can be the difference between ending your year on a high or not meeting your goals.

It can negatively affect brand reputation when a customer doesn’t answer a phone call or misses an important message because of an unrecognized number. A 2021 Brand Impact Report found that 85% of respondents believe that an unknown number makes a company appear illegitimate. The survey also found that brand communication technology could increase engagement, with 72% of respondents saying they would feel comfortable answering their phones again if brands identified themselves correctly.

Solving the problem of unknown numbers and controlling the appearance of calls delivers an exceptional customer experience at every stage of the customer journey, from awareness and consideration to purchase and loyalty.

The technology not only marks the phone communication upstream, but also marks businesses after the call has ended. Branded communication tags a company’s number with the company’s name and the reason for the call in Android and iPhone call history. With the brand appearing in the call log, customers have a reason to call back because they know who’s on the call.

Leverage the billboard effect of brand calls

The “billboard” effect of branded calls increases customer engagement as the call comes in and even after the call.

Beyond increasing engagement rates, which are a key competitive differentiator for businesses today, technology also provides analytics to refine and improve calling programs and strategies.

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Using branded communications technology, businesses can access metrics such as total calls handled, response rate, decline rate, and engagement rate. Businesses can gain actionable insights by drilling down into the data, analyzing metrics such as calls per person, success rate, and heatmaps that reveal the states where calls are performing best.

Today, in the United States alone, approximately 97% of adults own a mobile phone, which represents approximately 300 million handsets. At the other end of these handsets are consumers who want to know who is calling and why. They want the phone channel to be the domain of trusted experiences and not the domain of scammers offering extended vehicle warranties or offering to fix a problem with their insurance in exchange for personal information or a fee.

Brand communication technology is the “billboard” companies need to build their brand reputation and take back the phone channel from scammers by injecting context and trust into the phone call. The return on investment lies in better customer experiences, increased loyalty and improved brand reputation.

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