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December 18th, 2019

Connecting With the Consumer: 2020 Predictions

Last year, Americans were on the receiving end of 26.3 billion robocalls, representing an increase of 46% over 2017.[i] The prevalence and annoyance of such calls – not to mention those that are potentially fraudulent or spoofed – has resulted in a population wary of answering calls from unknown numbers.

For legitimate businesses, rebuilding trust in the voice channel is taking on greater urgency. As new technologies and regulations start taking effect in the space, Neustar has four predictions for organizations as they seek to connect with consumers in 2020:


  1. Companies relying on outbound dialing will continue to struggle with mislabeled or blocked calls.

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act will disrupt legitimate calling activities performed by B2C companies. While leading carriers are beginning to deploy STIR/SHAKEN, smaller operators have not shared their timelines. STIR/SHAKEN signatures will also be incorporated into robocall analytics. The lack of ubiquitous deployment of STIR/SHAKEN and non-standardized robocall analytics algorithms means call treatment will vary depending on which phone companies service the called party. Companies that make outbound dials at volume will look to restore trust by incorporating branded display “calling cards” that indicate who is calling and why.

  1. Call Blocking will become more prevalent and important calls may be missed.

The FCC now allows carriers to block robocalls by default, without customer opt-in. AT&T and Verizon plan to roll out this service to most subscribers in 2020, and other phone companies are likely to follow to stay competitive. Carriers, mobile apps and mobile phones will unveil different robocall protection services, impacting call effectiveness; expect contact rates to get worse before they get better as everyone experiences, learns and reacts to new solutions.

  1. Data privacy regulations will expand at the federal, state and local level.

An unintended consequence of regulations – such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act – will test the efficacy of authentication processes built around what is known about a consumer. These well-intended privacy-protection measures may exacerbate issues that lead to the ever-growing account takeover fraud problem. Without very strong identity fraud measures in place, fraudsters can impersonate consumers and access information that has been shared about them.

  1. Debt collectors will find renewed success in the phone channel by increasing touchpoints.

The new regulations adopted to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in 2019 will require major process and behavior changes from first- and third-party collectors. The added limitations on calls combined with the ability to use new means of communications (i.e. text, voicemail, email) could limit the use of the phone channel, but we predict the opposite. The ability to expand the use of voice mail and text messages will enable phone calls to continue reigning as the supreme method for collection – and require fewer calls at that.

[i] Source: Brian Fung, “Report: Americans got 26.3 billion robocalls last year, up 46 percent from 2017,” The Washington Post, January 29, 2019 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/01/29/report-americans-got-billion-robocalls-last-year-up-percent/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fcb4cadaae0a).

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