Several factors have challenged the telecom industry in recent years. New regulations such as STIR/SHAKEN and the fallout from a global pandemic changed the way carriers and call centers do business.
Consumers have also altered their behavior when it comes to answering and blocking calls. Measures that were meant to curtail spam and scam calls have affected legitimate businesses as well. Many find that their answer rates are declining, harming their client relationships and sales/service numbers.
Much of this decline has to do with wary consumers and their reaction to flagged phone numbers. To understand the depth of the change, consider the following crucial statistics related to the state of the telecom industry today.
1. A Spike in Robocalls
Robocalls spiked to 1,911 calls per second during the pandemic.
Robocalls have been a plague on consumers for years. While calls dipped early in the pandemic, they quickly bounced back. This rise took place, in part, because many people were homebound and these companies figured out ways to exploit the crisis.
Many robocallers changed their tactics to target COVID-19 relief, government services and financial services. Although consumers were already vulnerable, they soon realized that scammers were out to take advantage of their fear.
This spike in robocalls made them warier to do business over the phone and that attitude has lingered, resulting in some alarming telecom stats.
2. Consumer Losses
59.4 million Americans lost money to scam calls in 2021 (the average loss was $502 per person).
Frightened consumers not only had to worry about their health, but they also had to worry about product shortages and loss of income due to business shutdowns. While consumers were struggling with these economic issues caused by the pandemic, robocallers worked hard to exploit them whenever possible. The surge in robocalls led more Americans to fall victim to scams.
As consumers learned about these scams, they become more careful. They simply answered their phones less. They also became more likely to flag unknown numbers or report negative customer service experiences with their call blocking apps. This technology has made it much easier for consumers to protect themselves and others from illegitimate calls.
But apps have also presented additional challenges for legitimate businesses trying to reach new consumers and existing customers alike. The bad actors in the industry have harmed everyone involved.
3. Nearly Universal Mobile Phone Use
97 percent of American adults have mobile phones in 2020.
Mobile phones have become as essential to consumers as their car keys and wallets. Almost no one leaves home without their trusty cell. As more US adults carry mobile phones, businesses have more opportunities to contact consumers, which should be a positive development.
However, this reality also means that robocallers can stalk their targets anywhere at any time. It’s no wonder that many people will not answer phone numbers that they do not recognize.
4. The Rise in Smartphone Use
85 percent of US consumers own smartphones in 2020 compared to 35 percent in 2011.
Most consumers don’t just have a mobile phone—they have smartphones. These models are more sophisticated and easier to use. As a result, consumers are more willing to contact businesses with their smartphones. This rise in smartphone use means that contact centers can employ omnichannel solutions, such as texts and chatbots, to improve their outreach to consumers.
5. Preference for Voice Communication
77 percent of customers prefer voice communication.
While many call centers utilize omnichannel solutions, consumers still prefer to communicate with a human via the phone, especially when it comes to business. This preference means that your outbound calls matter.
So, you need to continue best practices when it comes to your campaigns, such as using clean scripts, good number lists and continual employee training. Dialing plays a huge role in outreach despite having a variety of communication channels available.
6. Reliance on Voice Communication
72 percent of businesses rely on voice communication for customer outreach.
Most businesses still rely heavily on outbound dialing to reach leads and current customers. It is essential to your business success that your calls connect appropriately. Negative carrier labels can easily ruin even the best-designed sales campaigns.
When your caller ID shows as “Scam Likely” or “Potential Spam,” it is almost impossible to connect with existing customers and prospective consumers. If someone does answer one of the calls, they are likely to be hostile from the beginning.
7. Potential Spam Calls Are a Waste of Time
73 to 74 percent of consumers swipe away and do not answer calls listed as potential spam.
Your phone number reputation plays a huge role in contacting your customers and that reputation relies on avoiding negative labels. Due to call blocking apps, phone number flags and intent labels, you must know how your caller ID appears to consumers.
Phone number monitoring is critical to ensure you are not dialing consumers with a bad caller ID. These labels can ruin your business reputation, waste your agents’ time and cost your contact center more money. It’s almost impossible to succeed if you are burdened with these negative caller ID labels or phone number flags.
8. Customer Service Is Vital
73 percent of consumers say that excellent customer service makes them feel loyal to brands.
Customer service is still key to your success. Through excellent service, you build brand loyalty that allows you to better compete with other businesses.
You need your customers to like you. Consumers enjoy forming and maintaining trusting relationships with businesses, even those they deal with mainly over the phone. You can build brand loyalty through ethical dialing practices and proper training for your agents.
9. Poor Call Etiquette Hurts
42 percent of customers switch brands because of rude, unhelpful interactions.
Rudeness kills consumer relationships. In addition to your good phone number reputation and caller ID display, call etiquette is critical to customer retention. Just one “bad” call can cause clients to take their business elsewhere.
Make sure your agents are properly trained in customer service interactions and product or service knowledge. Emphasize both empathy and competence. And remember, abiding by compliance and ethical dialing practices is as important as the level of service your agents provide.
10. The Need for First Call Resolution
62 percent of customers find that they must contact companies more than once before they can resolve a single issue.
Your customers hate having to contact you more than once to resolve a problem. The need for multiple contacts harms customer loyalty, which is critical to your company’s financial health. After all, it is cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones, so focus on keeping your clients happy and well-served. Contact centers must ensure that customers can reach their agents promptly and vice versa.
Taking the following steps can help ensure customers get an appropriate answer on the first call:
- Cross-training agents.
- Skill-based routing.
- Properly configured IVRs.
- Call monitoring/coaching software.
Proper agent training in conjunction with the right software can help give your customers the answers they need on the first call, which certainly improves their loyalty to your brand.
11. Hold Times Must Be Short
25 percent of customers will hang up if hold times are too long.
Customers have things to do and resent being left on hold for too long. Queue management is imperative to reducing call times and keeping your customer on the line.
If your customers can’t reach your customer service or sales representatives, they will lose faith in your brand. That loss of faith results in canceled services and defections to competitors. Use the following strategies to reduce wait time.
- Omnichannel Solutions: Taking inquiries from chat, social media and email can reduce call queue times.
- Virtual Queues/Call Back: Call back options can allow a customer to remain in a queue but hang up their phone.
- IVRs: These devices can help answer generic questions and route customers to skilled agents.
- Workforce Management: Ensure enough agents are available and that you have scalable staff and software solutions.
Giving your customers more options to contact agents helps prevent lengthy hold times, improves retention and inspires loyalty.
12. Low Answer Rates
US consumers only answer 18 percent of calls from companies or businesses.
Businesses are finding it harder and harder to reach consumers. Many avoid unknown calls, partly due to the robocall epidemic. This low answer rate is magnified if your caller ID shows a warning label or intent label.
You will improve your answer rates if you register your numbers’ CNAM and use enhanced caller ID services. If a consumer sees and recognizes your business name on the caller ID, they are much more likely to answer the phone.
13. Voicemail Avoidance
14 percent of Americans ignore voicemails.
Surprisingly, some consumers simply do not check voicemails. If they do notice a voicemail, they may delete it without listening to it. While it is still good for businesses to leave a voicemail, direct contact is better.
Raising your answer rate may mean changing the times you are dialing some consumers. The best times to reach consumers are between 11 a.m. to noon and between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Try matching your call times to your demographics more carefully if you are having difficulties connecting.
Maintaining Your Phone Number Reputation
After analyzing the telecom stats above, you should see that phone number reputation is imperative in modern dialing campaigns and helps determine the current state of telecom businesses. Using ethical dialing practices and dialing with clean numbers is key for outbound dialing campaigns. Today’s consumer is careful about the calls they answer.
Monitoring your phone number reputation, managing your your numbers properly and mitigating flags with proper dialing procedures can help safeguard your reputation.
Learn more about how Caller ID Reputation can help your business succeed, or start using the software to monitor your number reputations by contacting our office in Newport Beach, CA. You can send us a message online or call 888.619.9586 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
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