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The Unforeseen Cost of RoboCalls: More Than Just a Nuisance

By Special Guest
Irv Shapiro, CEO of DialogTech
March 23, 2016

For many businesses, telephone calls play a pivotal role in acquiring new customers and growing revenue. People shopping for everything from a new car to a home loan to an enterprise software solution want to call businesses directly to ask questions or make an appointment before making a purchase.

Because phone calls are the lifeblood of so many businesses, the recent rise of business-targeted “robocall” spam calls has been more than just a nuisance. These spam calls come in many forms, but they all can make it harder for businesses to market and sell effectively, which ultimately robs them of revenue.

If your company is being besieged by spam calls, you can’t just “turn off your ringer at dinner” the way a person at home can. But there are anti-spam technologies that can help.

Types of Spam Robocalls Plaguing Businesses

For many businesses, these spam calls now represent a significant percentage of their inbound calls. According to a recent study by DialogTech, on average 26 percent of overall call volume is spam.

Below are four of the most common flavors of spam attacking businesses. Their goal is to have the recorded message heard by as many people as possible, regardless of if those people are at work or at home:

  • Political Spam: As we move closer to the 2016 presidential election, political season is heating up, and so is the volume of calls with recorded political messages.
  • Cruise Line Promotions: These calls attempt to entice people to sign up for a free or low-cost cruise. People are then hit with hidden fees and timeshare pitches. Many of these cruises never take place, even after you’ve paid.
  • Credit Card Phishing: Scammers send recorded messages promising significantly lower interest rates with your credit card issuers in return for a “small” fee. 

  • Traffic Pumping Long-Distance Calls: “Traffic pumping” occurs when an unethical local carrier with high access rates teams up with a call service provider with high call volumes to profit through fake long-distance calls. The two parties collude to milk payment from long-distance carriers, who must pay the local carrier for each call they hand off. But it isn’t just the long-distance company that suffers, it’s all the business inundated with fake calls.

Why Spam Calls Are More Than a Nuisance

For companies that rely on inbound calls to do business, being flooded with spam calls can have a detrimental effect on marketing, sales and the customer:

  • Marketing: Marketers now use unique phone numbers to track and analyze the inbound phone calls generated by online searches, advertising and their website. When spammers call these numbers, it pollutes the attribution data marketers depend on to understand campaign performance, impairing their ability to invest in marketing that is driving the most calls and customers.
  • Sales: Sales agents need to spend their time on the phones selling to interested callers to be most effective. Every spam call they answer is time wasted, and if every agent is answering dozens of spam calls a day, the negative effect on revenue can be substantial.
  • The Customer: No caller likes to wait on hold, and consumers will lose patience and hang up when that wait is too long. The more spam calls that jam up your call queue, the more likely a potential customer will get frustrated and give up before your sales team can assist them.

How to Combat These Destructive Spam Calls 

Just like with email and online ad spam, businesses can also use spam blocking technologies to detect and block inbound spam calls. These technologies employ a range of tactics to combat spam, including:

  • IVR Keypress Verification: If a call is suspected of being spam, it is sent to an IVR (interactive voice response) automated menu to verify there is a live human on the other end. Recorded spam that fails is blocked, while legitimate callers are prompted to press a key on their phone to proceed.
  • Caller ID Pattern Matching: Pattern matching technology allows businesses to route callers differently based on the caller ID. Companies can create a list of suspected spam caller IDs and choose how they want those calls routed. For example, they can all go to a special voicemail box.
  • Caller ID Blacklisting: If you wish to completely prevent a caller ID from calling your business, you can simply blacklist it. This will terminate the call at the source.
  • Machine-Learning Technology: Spam blocking technologies that use machine-learning technology can adapt to new forms of spam as they emerge, identifying bad calls and preventing them from reaching a business.

The spam call threat is not going away, but it doesn’t mean businesses have to suffer. By employing spam blocking technologies, companies can keep spam from ruining their marketing attribution data, wasting their sales agents’ time and costing them customers.  

About the Author: Irv Shapiro is the CEO of DialogTech, makers of the only end-to-end call attribution and conversion platform for data-driven marketers, where he is responsible for overall business strategy and corporate leadership. Irv is an experienced and successful entrepreneur and business leader, with over 3 decades of experience as CEO and founder of fast-growing technology companies. He is also one of the world’s leading authorities on phone call attribution and conversion.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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