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August 9th, 2022

How to Improve Answer Rates with Phone Behavior Intelligence (PBI)

Despite the recent proliferation of self-service options and the increased popularity of digital touchpoints with consumers, outbound calling remains an essential customer service capability. But, contact centers face many challenges in getting calls answered by customers wary of robocalls and fraud. In addition, in many cases, they must adhere to strict regulations on who and when they can call.  

As part of our Meet the Expert series, we interviewed Vice President, Product Management Contact Centers, Tom Nowaczyk, who talks about best practices in the use of identity data to reach the right customers at the right time, while maintaining compliance. Here’s what he had to say.

What are the leading challenges facing contact centers today?

I think there are three primary challenges we see in the contact center today:

  • First is whether calls are going to get through and get answered. Answer rates continue to decline. They've been declining for a long time now. 
  • The second piece is staffing. It's difficult finding folks to actually make the calls out. 
  • Then the third piece is regulations. Regulations are making it harder to make outbound calls and are also really limiting the number of calls that can be made. 

All of these issues are forcing call centers to adapt and get creative in solving those discrete problems. The other part is they're trying to become more efficient, so those problems become less important.

When we think about contact centers, we really think about, who you are trying to contact and then what's the best way to contact that consumer. You have all these precious resources and it's hard to get consumers on the phone. So, you want to make sure you're contacting the right person in a regulatory compliant manner. Once you get over that hurdle of saying, I know who I want to contact, the next question becomes, what's the best way?

Lastly, once you choose that best way to contact the consumer, when do you want to execute that and how do you want to build campaigns and go around that? This holistic strategy can help you become much more efficient and it starts to reduce those issues. If that includes regulatory aspects, you can call less frequently if you're more efficient.

Then if a consumer's not answering, with solutions like Neustar's Phone Behavior Intelligence (PBI) that help keep contact information up-to-date, you’ll find that if you're dialing the right consumers, they're going to answer the phone more. 

“Identity data, it doesn't age like wine, it doesn't get better. What sets Neustar apart is that we are really good at it knowing how to curate identity. We know when a phone number is not associated with a particular person anymore. We know when they moved from an address. That makes us stand out.”

Tom Nowaczyk, Vice President, Product Management, Contact Centers

So, you've talked about some of the issues contact centers face, and some solutions. Can you give some examples of solutions and benefits customers are experiencing?

If a client implements industry best practices around using identity data, and the attributes that influence that identity to better understand what's the best way to contact this consumer, we find that they can improve their contact rates by up to 20%. 

And with Neustar Phone Behavior Intelligence (PBI), which scores the quality of each number according to the likelihood of it being answered, collections agencies can improve right-party contact (RPC) rates by an average of 25 percent, and optimize operations in compliance with the CFPB’s seven-in-seven rule. 

And when you talk about customers and outcomes, is that for particular vertical? Is it a across verticals? 

When you look at outbound dialing across multiple industries, I think it's helpful to take two very different examples, lead generation vs. collections. Think of buying a new car, you put your name on a lead form. But with collections, you’re being contacted with a reminder to pay a debt. Believe it or not, these industries are more alike than different. You know, both these industries have consumer contact information and they need to contact a consumer. They both have very high average monetary values.

But while they are similar, where we're going to see some differences. In lead generation, there are fewer industry regulations when compared to debt collections. Collectors are also going to probably going to dial consumers more often, normally once every day for seven days. So, even though the phone behavior insights are very much the same across both use cases, how you implement it varies based on the nuances of each industry. 

What differentiates your solutions from your competitors, and how do they help these different types of industries

We get asked this quite a bit. There are a lot of other competing firms and it really comes down to just a few things. It's the scale of our identity data, we have a lot of it. Two, it's that we can curate it. We know anybody can have a lot of identity data, not many organizations can tell you when that data's no longer associated with a consumer. We're really good at that. The last thing is that we can amplify that identity data with signals around usage and other attributes that are critical to help you understand how to use that identity. 

By leveraging our unique relationship with telecom providers, powering over 90 percent of caller ID in the U.S., Neustar, a TransUnion company, provides predictive phone behavior insights not found anywhere else. Watch the videos of Tom talking about Phone Behavior Intelligence (PBI) here and here, and learn more about PBI here.
 

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