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February 4th, 2022

Ensuring a Foundation of Trust for Home Services with Branded Call Display (BCD)

Trust can be elusive these days, especially when it comes to answering the phone. With rampant fraud from illegitimate robocalls and call spoofing, it’s getting harder and harder to get voice calls through. Factor in the need for access to someone’s home and it’s clearly an uphill battle in the Home Services and Utilities sector.

To overcome these unique and costly challenges, for our Meet the Expert Series, we turned to Michael Hawk, Neustar Senior Director of Identity and Trust Solutions, to learn about tips and solutions to help clients in the utilities, communications and home services sectors restore trust with customers so they answer the phone. 

Here’s what he had to say about the issues and answers.  

Why is the phone channel still relevant in your verticals?

For these sectors, it’s all about managing business better, especially around inbound and outbound contact efficiency, which is the sweet spot of Neustar’s Trusted Call Solutions suite. For the verticals that I manage—utilities, communications and home services—because somebody is coming to your home, there's a lot of interaction throughout the customer journey. 

Robocalls and spam calls have made people reluctant to pick up their phone if they don't know who's calling. It creates a lot of inefficiencies in a customer’s journey with a utility or service provider, as they try to schedule appointments, deliver services, and resolve issues. If customers don’t answer calls, it just creates more frustration and more delays. It also creates more cost for the service provider.

"Consumers still prefer to use the phone channel for many interactions. You need to have trust in that phone call and communication. It lays the foundation for a broader relationship based on trust."

Michael Hawk, Senior Director of Identity and Trust Solutions

Tell us about Neustar’s solutions to improve contact rates.

There are many ways Neustar, a TransUnion company, helps improve outbound contact efficiency. Two of the most effective are Caller Name Optimization (CNO) and Branded Call Display (BCD). CNO stops spam tagging from occurring on mobile phones, and corrects caller ID for phones that are caller ID enabled, which is basically all landlines. 

The second solution, BCD, allows enterprises to push branded, dynamic content to mobile devices as well as call authentication, often shown through a certified check mark to show that the call is not spoofed. Those are extremely important. They’re table stakes when we talk about restoring trust in the phone channel.

How do legitimate numbers become mis-tagged as spam?

There are different algorithms for different providers and carriers that will designate a phone number as spam or as fraudulent, often erroneously. So even though intention is good, you’re still not getting legitimate calls through. While there are any number of reasons a call can be marked as spam, Neustar helps make sure that legitimate calls are authenticated and categorized in the right way so they can get through.

At Neustar, call authentication is integral to our Branded Call Display offering. Trust in phone calls has deteriorated because spam, call spoofing, and fraud have become prolific. We worked with U.S. carriers and Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to implement the STIR/SHAKEN framework to mitigate illegitimate calls. Now we’re helping utilities and home services ensure their calls are correctly tagged, fully identified, and branded to help improve their call answer rates.

How does Neustar simplify this complicated process? 

The advantage of Neustar solutions around authentication, which is getting that little certified check mark, is our "Build Once and Distribute to Many" approach. That's the beauty of it. Our API integrates with your call center technology; it's a very straightforward integration that allows you to distribute across multiple carriers and device types. That's the big advantage—we're going to simplify it for you.

It’s also simple for the consumer. They don’t have to do anything to enable this capability. When consumers are educated to answer calls when they see branding and the certified check mark, then we’re really going to be able to combat fraud.

What are some real-world examples of how these solutions work?

Utilities, for example, spend a lot of money notifying customers that there’s a scam. If they go one step further and deploy branded calls that are also authenticated, customers can trust their calls. One, it puts a dent in the fraudsters’ ability to commit fraud. Two, it creates good will with the consumers. They’ll know the utility is protecting them. It builds trust. 

Here’s another example where Branded Call Display works extremely well and that's in the trend towards customer callbacks right now. A lot of call centers are overwhelmed with volume and the wait time can be exorbitant. They may say you’ll get a call back in two to three hours from now. When that call back comes and it pops up with clear identification and even a reason tied to the earlier inquiry, imagine the answer rate. And we see that. One provider got a 50% lift in answer rates with Branded Call Display.

Neustar can solve other problems around low answer rates or low pickup rates. Take service outage, for example. If the Internet's down or the power's out, a utility or Communications Service Provider (CSP) wants to communicate with their customers that they're aware of that problem and that there's an expected resolution time. One, it's just good customer service. Two, it prevents a lot of inbound calls because that consumer now knows you're aware of the problem. They don't need to call you. They don't need to tie up your customer service reps. They don't need to bombard you with inbound calls because you've already resolved the problem proactively. It's a much better customer experience. But the consumer has to know and trust who’s calling to get the message.

What is key for utilities and CSPs to improve their contact rates?

For the enterprises, Neustar improves outbound contact efficiency by ensuring that:

1.    Calls are not spam tagged or mislabeled
2.    The consumer knows who's calling them and potentially why
3.    Calls are not being spoofed
4.    Consumers can see a check mark confirming the call has been authenticated 

These four things are most important to restore trust in phone calls and increase answer rates. Whatever the business reason for that phone call, if you improve that contact rate, the end business metric will be impacted in a positive way.

Watch the video: Ensuring a Foundation of Trust for Home Services, and learn how Branded Call Display (BCD) and Caller Name Optimization (CNO) help you improve answer rates, increase revenues, restore trust, and protect your brand. 

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