The term “robocall” has almost become synonymous with “scam”. It’s bad enough getting a prerecorded call from an entity you’re unfamiliar with – but even worse when you think the call originated from a brand you trust, and it didn’t. Consumer confidence is at an all time low when answering unknown numbers.

This has led to a majority of reputable business calls going unanswered. In an effort to help consumers, Congress mandated all phone carriers must meet new regulations, such as the STIR/SHAKEN protocol, by June of 2021. An inadvertent result of this new legislation, however, is that your business’ calls might get wrongly blocked or marked as “spam caller” – which makes it even harder to connect your legitimate phone calls to consumers.

In fact, robocalls have been the biggest consumer complaint in recent years. While the FCC and phone carriers are cracking down on call spoofing, the main tool of scammers, consumers are still wary of answering unknown calls. Scams continue to evolve to target vulnerable consumers and circumvent efforts to thwart them.

Robocalls are Eroding Consumer Confidence

While scammers attempt to contact consumers through any channel available, phone calls are the most predominant method. This is especially true among older consumers. While text messages are the most preferred method of communication among almost all Americans, phone calls are reported to be the most annoying by about 80% of consumers.

The correlation between the decline in calls as a preferred method of contact is not solely attributed to scammers, but they do play a factor in it. New technology, such as apps, video calls, and group texts, have also attributed to the game-changing communication patterns.

As a result of rising phone scams, consumers are also less likely to disclose personal or financial information over the phone.

Robocall-Wary Consumers Leading to Blocked and Dropped Calls

Unanswered calls make it harder for businesses to reach consumers. While this may not affect the consumer in most cases, businesses are feeling the brunt of these changing trends.

However, in some cases, consumers are blocking unknown numbers using call blocking apps provided by their carrier or a third party. This data is monitored by telephone carriers and can lead to flag ratings for phone numbers. These flag ratings can range from:

  • Scam Likely
  • Spam Risk
  • Telemarketer
  • Nuisance Call

If a business is erroneously classified in one of these categories, they will have a much harder time reaching new customers. Some of these calls may be automatically dropped by carriers as well. In some cases, legitimate businesses, hospitals, and other organizations are unable to reach their existing customers leading to confusion and customer dissatisfaction.

Scammers Employ New Technology

As consumers become more wary, scammers are enhancing their tactics to stay up to date. Call spoofing is the first tech toolkit in a scammer’s arsenal. This allows them to mimic, fake, or steal caller IDs to appear more legitimate to an unsuspecting consumer.

Recently, voice automation has become a tool to scam consumers. In a recent survey, 26% of people are unable to differentiate a robocall from a human voice. This further leads to wariness and reduces consumer confidence when conducting business over the phone.

How Consumer Trends Affect Businesses

Telemarketing has been a thriving industry for decades but changing trends force businesses to keep up. While telemarketing isn’t likely to disappear, other outreach methods are becoming more popular.

The trends of 2019 show a rise in chat, SMS, social media, and video contact among consumers and businesses, especially if the consumer is initiating the contact. While calls still make up the majority of communication, on average phone calls have declined from 64% in 2017 to 47% in 2019 for customer contacts.

How Businesses Can Adapt

While phone calls will likely remain a strong method of communication, businesses should pay extra attention on how to conduct calls properly. There are steps a business can take to alleviate customer concerns.

Register Your CNAM

CNAM is your caller ID. You can register your business’ phone numbers with major carriers that allows them to tie your business information to your numbers. Enhanced Caller ID is beginning to roll out on some carriers as well that can help legitimize your outbound calls.

Monitor Your Numbers

Monitoring your phone numbers is another helpful method to manage your outbound dialing reputation.

Scammers are creating serious issues for businesses with call spoofing. These spoofed calls to consumers can negatively impact a brand’s reputation, destroying the greatest of loyalty and obliterating trust. Monitoring your brand’s usage across caller ID ecosystems can protect your brand’s reputation and your customers, as well as mitigate your liability risk.

In addition to monitoring your company phone numbers, you can also:

  • Designate which numbers are inbound, which are outbound, and which are bi-directional
  • Register your inbound numbers as Do Not Originate
  • Monitor caller ID name registrations for names that are similar to your business

Keep Your Website Updated

If a customer is wary of a call, they might want to verify the information from your website. Making sure your website is up to date with your most current contact information and a valid SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate can instill confidence in a wary customer.

Use Chat Services / Email Contacts

Using chat services and allowing customers to contact you via email also helps expand your outreach tactics. You may reach a wary customer initially on the phone, but allowing them other means to contact your business can inspire confidence.

Give Customers a Reason to Answer

The more consumers trust incoming calls, the likelier they are to answer. Consider a consumer’s caller ID display a place to:

  • Add a logo or other recognizable image
  • Expand on your name identification, title, department, or location
  • Add a reason for the call with a targeted message specifically for that customer
  • Partner with carriers to display your call as Verified or Authenticated

While business continue to feel the effects of robocalls on consumers, there are ways to overcome these issues. Staying on top of customer trends helps expand outreach methods. Monitoring your business’ reputation and outbound numbers also allows your business to mitigate issues over the phone. Ultimately using proper dialing ethics, customer compassion, and remaining vigilant about your reputation are the best ways to adapt to consumer wariness and inspire consumer confidence.