April 24, 2019

Inside Sales: The Aftermath of the Call Screen Feature on Google’s Pixel 3

iPhone who? This year, it's all about Google's Pixel 3 — the fastest-growing smartphone brand in the U.S. Sure, Apple still ships more phones than any other company worldwide. Remember the Google Nexus? Nope, few people do. Google though, finally found a way to break into the lucrative American smartphone market.

Inside Sales Troubles

What's So Good About Pixel 3?

It could be the mammoth full-HD 5.5-inch screen, the 2.15 GHz Octa-core processor, the 4 GB of RAM, or it just could be its revolutionary call screening innovation, which comes as standard. Face it, this is the feature that everyone's talking about, and it's frightening business owners across the country.

Why are Business Owners Scared of Google's Pixel?

Google's Pixel 3 comes with Call Screen, a brand-new feature that allows users to screen calls before they answer them. The Pixel 2 includes this feature as well. An iPhone XR can’t offer you that.

"You can see who’s calling and why before you answer a call with the help of your Google Assistant," boasts Google. "Call Screen doesn’t use Wi-Fi or your mobile data."

On paper, Call Screen is a great idea. It lets people identify calls from unknown numbers before they pick up the phone, which reduces fraud and prevents robocalls. What about genuine business owners (people like you) who want to connect with prospective customers? Call Screen could dramatically impact your sales and stop you from engaging with consumers.

If you run a call center, though, this could be one of the worst things to happen to your business this year. Plus, things will probably get worse once other telecommunication companies implement similar technologies.

How Does It All Work?

When a consumer receives an incoming call, Call Screen functions as follows:

  1. If a customer doesn't recognize your number, they can tap Screen Call on their Pixel 3.
  2. Google Assistant will ask you to identify yourself and provide a reason for your call.
  3. The customer will see a real-time transcript of your response on their screen.
  4. They can then decide to answer your call, reject your call, or ask you for more information.

It's all a bit of a hassle. When did things get so hard for outbound call centers?

It's Not Just Google You Need to Know About

There's more bad news. Google aren't the only ones who are tightening up on unrecognized numbers. T-Mobile is adding "spam-fighting call verification" to five new phones, according to The Verge.

This new verification system utilizes the STIR-SHAKEN authentication method, which confirms calls are coming from a real phone. (We talked more about this in a recent post).

"Spoofing a number via Caller ID doesn’t fool everyone, and it isn’t the only tool in fraudsters’ arsenals," says Fast Company. "A solution to this spoofing has started early rollout with broad industry support. T-Mobile is leading the pack with an in-network early deployment."

The problem is, genuine companies like yours get caught up in this new tech. More marketers are discovering that they can't get through to consumers because these verification systems identify their calls as spam. As a result, businesses can't target consumers, upsell products, or move customers through their sales pipelines.

Why is This All Happening?

Companies like Google and T-Mobile are using new verification technology for two reasons:

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FFC) is clamping down on nuisance robocalls.
  • Customers just don't like answering calls from unknown numbers.

This all puts businesses like yours in a difficult predicament. You need to contact customers by phone to survive, but the government and companies like Google are preventing you from doing that.

What gives?

There has to be a middle ground. Sure, nobody likes receiving robocalls. They are a real nuisance, and there were around 30.5 billion of them in 2017 alone. New tech like Call Screen and STIR-SHAKEN makes it hard for genuine companies who want to engage with customers. This is a real problem. If you don't come up with a solution, you could jeopardize the future success of your business.

What Can You Do About It?

It's time to take action. If you want to continue to make sales calls, follow these tips:

  • Check the reputation of your caller ID. A service like Caller ID Reputation lets you check spam and robocall apps and find out whether people have flagged your numbers.
  • Manage numbers in your database more effectively. Find out whether customers and companies have marked your numbers as spam.

Monitor your phone numbers closer than ever before. Ask your sales team to report numbers that connect to Google's new Call Screen feature, for example.

New tech that prevents fraud and robocalls is a welcome sign. But, as a marketer, you need to take the necessary steps so you don't get caught up in these new verification systems. Devise a strategy that strengthens your caller ID reputation so you don't lose out on sales.

Remember, this isn't a fad. The surge in sales for products like Google's Pixel 3 (with its Call Screen feature) proves that customers are going to greater lengths to kill robocalls, and your business could be an unexpected casualty.

See how Caller ID Reputation® can support your business!

Caller ID Reputation Benefits