With smartphone penetration in the US reaching 97% in 2021 (according to Pew Research), mobile devices offer a rare opportunity to reach more customers than ever before. But what customers really want is assurance they can trust calls enough to answer the phone.
Today, based on our experience, 88% of customers won’t answer thanks to robocalls, call spoofing and fraud. In fact, call fraud has become so rampant, it cost Americans nearly $87 billion in 2022. That means businesses can’t reach customers — even when critical information needs to be shared. And it’s not just businesses that feel the pinch; nearly 60% of consumers surveyed in a recent TransUnion study said they didn’t answer certain calls because they didn’t recognize the number — only to later realize they were important.
In spite of these challenges, 87% of enterprises surveyed in a Forrester Consulting study said customers prefer the phone for communications. That’s especially true when it comes to conveying sensitive or complex information; there’s no substitute for having a real person on the other end of the phone.
Phone calls are about to look a lot different very soon. In Q1 2024, branded calling will be available with Rich Call Data (RCD). The combination of RCD with call authentication will enable businesses to add their company name, telephone number, logo and reason for the call to the mobile display when calling customers — along with verification that helps reduce the chance the call has been spoofed.
Coupling the capabilities of Rich Call Data with call authentication through a network-based approach offers an exciting new opportunity to more effectively deliver positive call experiences to more customers — while also helping protect them. In addition, it sets the stage for the delivery of additional capabilities in the future, such as adding contextual call information to the call history log so consumers stay informed long after the phone call.
While landline phones have used Caller ID since the 1980s, it wasn’t until about a decade ago mobile phones began providing a similar feature — but only for users who downloaded certain third-party apps. Branded calling hadn’t come about yet.
Then, the FCC set a deadline of June 2021 for communications service providers (CSPs) to implement STIR/SHAKEN — a call authentication framework developed to enable secure signing and verification of calls to reduce robocalls and call spoofing. The ability to authenticate calls then led to the introduction of branded calling. That included added context to calls, while ALSO authenticating calls to help ensure they had not been spoofed.
While these developments were major steps in helping stem robocalls, calls spoofing and fraud, since this first generation of branded calling required apps be downloaded, it only had limited reach and was therefore no desirable to enterprises.
Today, the industry has pivoted away from third-party apps to a standards-based network approach that enables consumers to receive branded calls without taking any additional action. With mobile network support for branded calling and call authentication becoming more prevalent, that opened the door to new possibilities — like delivering a logo and call reason using RCD.
In addition to the benefits to US enterprises, a network-based approach will enable the extension of branded calling capabilities internationally using call data that adheres to a recognized standard that ensures interoperability. This way, data can be shared between partners across borders, driving trust that only authorized entities and data have access to the ecosystem.
There are a number of conditions that must be met to deliver a rich branded call. Some are technical capabilities on the part of service providers and device manufacturers, some regarding call authentication for enterprises, and consumers play a part as well. These include:
So, what can enterprises do to get ready for branded calling which is expected to be delivered in early 2024? First, it’s a good idea to define your goals. What key metrics are your organization looking to achieve? Is it improving call answer rates, getting more qualified leads, fewer truck rolls, closing more sales, improving customer satisfaction scores or promise-to-pay? Each organization will have their own priorities.
Next, it’s time to closely review your current call environment to determine next steps. Take a look at your company’s telephone numbers and consider some key items, including:
Don’t worry — if you don’t have all the answers and want help with any of these steps, our experts can are ready to jump in.
TruContact™ Branded Call Display (BCD), powered by Neustar® — now more powerful than ever with Rich Call Data (RCD) — better enables enterprises to protect consumers while helping improve engagement, enhance the customer experience and increase revenue. BCD is part of our TruContact™ Trusted Call Solutions (TCS) suite, powered by Neustar®.