Despite being deeply embedded in collections and strategies for many years, it wasn’t until I heard Rebekah Johnson, CEO of Numeracle, at last November’s insideARM Innovation Council meeting that I started to realize what a major impact call blocking and labeling will have on our industry. Fast forward six months. I’m not an alarmist, but I’m more concerned than ever.

Here’s the quick rundown:

  • Scam calls are skyrocketing (fake IRS, Jessica from Card Services, Windows warranty support...and on and on).
  • Regulators are recognizing the harm and are pushing telecom companies to proactively filter the scammers/robocalls from legitimate business calls.
  • Telecom companies are hiring software (or "analytics") firms to analyze phone calls and systemically differentiate the "good" from the "bad" -- or as some put it, the "wanted" from the "unwanted."
  • Consumers are downloading apps on their phones to help them filter incoming phone calls.
  • Eventually, “suspected” spam calls with be blocked and/or labeled on the users behalf (think spam email folder).

Why does this matter to you?

  • If you contact customers via the telephone, you will be impacted (the impact may have already started).
  • If your calls are inappropriately flagged as spam calls, they may be blocked by carriers or by mobile phone apps.
  • If your calls aren’t blocked, but are mislabeled (the analytics companies will decide how legitimate calls are labeled) on the caller ID, you may not get through to your customers.
  • If you take no action, there’s a high probability you will see a sharp decline in RPC rates and your customers will be in the dark.

What’s being done?

  • Industry groups are coming together to advocate for legitimate callers - get a seat at the table.

    Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC) and its Innovation Council are embedded in this advocacy activity. Stephanie Eidelman, CEO of the iA Institute and Executive Director of the CRC, will be on a panel tomorrow at the Robocall Scoring and Analytics Workshop hosted by USTelecom (the carrier association), regarding how to design a feedback loop that inform callers about how their calls are being scored and labeled. Andy Balthaser, VP of Compliance for Alorica, also on the CRC Steering Committee (as well as the board of PACE), is on a panel that will discuss stakeholder industry practices.  

  • Technology Solutions are being developed by companies like Numeracle and Neustar that you’ll want to evaluate soon.  

Given the criticality of this issue to our industry, we’ve asked Rebekah Johnson, CEO of Numerical, to share the latest insights and impacts at our First Party Summit, June 4-6th in Dallas, TX.  We’ll see you there.

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