Scam Calls Abound: Consumers Want Transparency from Legitimate Brands Trying to Reach Them
By: David Morgan, Senior Vice President of Sales at First Orion
Nearly every mobile phone user in the U.S., regardless of age, has received a scam or fraudulent phone call, and in 2021 scam calls reached record highs, with the volume more than doubling compared to the previous year. The rise in scam calls cost over 59 million Americans nearly in 2021 alone, and those losses are expected to reach $40 billion globally in 2022, according to a study by Juniper Research. Bombarded with scam and spam calls, consumers are wary of unidentified callers and often do not answer unidentified calls as a result.
A recent Brand Impact Report found three out of five people believe that almost always, unidentified calls to mobile phones are scam or fraudulent callers, with two-thirds of people ignoring or blocking an unknown call. Consequently, important phone calls made using unidentified numbers are going unanswered. Whether job-related, a customer service callback, delivery notification, personal finance, etc., 78% of people say they miss at least one important call per month because the caller was unidentified.
While mobile phone users in the U.S. do not trust unidentified callers because of the pervasive problem of scam and fraudulent calls, the phone call is not dead. Three-fourths of consumers want to talk on the phone when they have a complicated question or expect a long conversation. Forward-looking companies that emphasize call transparency and place value on customer experience with some form of caller verification and identification are taking the first step in allowing people to trust their phones again while boosting brand perception.
Brand Perception and Customer Experiences
In today’s climate, the high rate of scam/spam calls consumers receive leads to missed, blocked, or ignored calls, potentially affecting how a brand is perceived. Three in five people note if they miss a call – particularly when it relates to an order or customer service – it could create a negative perception of a brand. As a marketer, there’s an inherent responsibility to protect and grow brand reputation.
Phone calls are the most personal form of interaction outside of visiting a physical store and play a crucial role in the overall customer experience journey. Conversations create connections and grow brand loyalty in ways website chatbots or marketing texts cannot. If a brand representative calls from an unknown number, the impact may not be positive given, 85% of consumers consider brands illegitimate if an unidentified number is used. Companies that identify themselves when calling may have a brand perception advantage as 71% of consumers are very or extremely interested in having a “verified” visual indicator on phone calls from legitimate parties, proving the caller is who they say they are.
Not necessarily what a company produces, brand perception is greatly based on what consumers believe the company’s products or services represent. Indicated from the aforementioned First Orion report, an identified phone call has the power to boost brand perception with 77% of individuals surveyed saying they would view a brand as “more premium” if it clearly identified itself when calling. In addition to an elevated view, brands that clearly themselves enhance the customer experience, leading to 84% of consumers feeling more valued by the brand.
Companies that utilize branded communication may not only build their customer loyalty but also gain new business because of it. Over seven in 10 people would consider taking their business to a company that brands phone calls instead of one that does not.
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Power of Branding Communications
Branded communication provides transparency and rebuilds consumer trust in the phone call while simultaneously returning it to marketing stacks. For marketers, phone numbers are a primary identifier of an individual customer. Brands that know the phone numbers of current and prospective customers can connect with them in ways that mobile ads, social media posts, and messaging apps do not enable.
When a business can effectively reach customers by phone, it can lead to a better customer experience, higher call answer and conversion rates, and increased revenue. According to Fluent, 90% of customer conversations take place via phone, and calls drive 10 times more purchases than clicks. In addition, branded communication has the power to create unique customer experiences and build relationships, evidenced by 90% of consumers reporting they would feel comfortable answering a branded call versus 90% feeling uncomfortable answering unidentified calls.
STIR/SHAKEN and Call Transparency
The FCC implemented STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited)/SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standards to establish a framework for carriers to help identify, track and mitigate the illegal spoofing of robocalls. While these standards do not prevent illegal or unwanted calls, as STIR/SHAKEN cannot determine the intent of calls, consumers will see a verification indicator such as the words “number verified” or “verified call” or a green checkmark indicating the phone call’s origin is authenticated, and the number matches the caller ID appearing on their mobile phone. Taking a proactive approach and going beyond the standards, brands and marketers can utilize branded communication solutions that allow businesses to display their name, logo and reason for calling prominently on the call recipient’s mobile device. with
Consumers are more likely to engage with phone calls from businesses that identify themselves when calling. The transparency of branded communication conveys customer appreciation and has the potential to impact brand perception and ultimately brand loyalty significantly. Branded communication solutions are changing how consumers see their phones and the businesses trying to reach them. In an era of scam and fraudulent calls, mobile phone users want some form of caller identification from brands to make informed decisions on whether they wish to engage with calls.
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