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February 4th, 2022

Managing Retail Brands through the Voice Channel with Branded Call Display (BCD)

While the pandemic forced a pivot to online shopping, home delivery and curbside pickup, another virus plagued the retail sector. Spammers, spoofers, and fraudsters have obliterated trust in the phone channel, making it even harder to deliver customer service and satisfaction. 

David Krasinski, Senior Director, Identity and Trust, Retail, for Neustar, a TransUnion company, is helping big brands break through. He works with some of the nation’s largest consumer-facing brands that depend on the voice channel as a vital way to communicate with customers. For our Meet the Expert Series, we asked Dave for his insights on how smart solutions like Branded Call Display (BCD) help reassure customers about who's really calling, so they answer the phone.

Here's what he said: 

Why is the phone channel relevant for retailers?

You can email someone. You can text someone. There are varying degrees of success across those channels. The phone remains a vital way for people to connect, and businesses to communicate with their customers. However, people don't trust who's on the other end of the phone, so they're not answering.

This lack of trust affects everything from basic customer service to last-mile delivery services. We work with brands to help build trust back into the voice channel so they can communicate with their customers more effectively. 

"What we do at Neustar is help brands who are reaching out to consumers build trust back in the channel so that they know they can pick up, they know they can trust who’s on the other end of the phone, and they know who’s calling. It’s a main communication channel for their customers."

David Krasinski, Senior Director, Identity and Trust, Retail

What's the cost to retailers if customers don't answer the phone? 

For retailers, the voice channel is the most important way they communicate with customers. If the person on the other end doesn’t pick up the phone, they can’t relay that communication and orders sit. Trucks can’t roll when no one’s home. Couches don’t get delivered. Customers get angry. There’s a lot of downstream impact.  

There’s a cost for the retailer to hold onto that couch. Then there's the cost of a negative customer experience for a missed or delayed delivery. Customer service is obviously critical to these retailers, especially in today’s e-commerce environment where they lack that face-to-face interaction with their customers. 

When they do have the opportunity to interact with their customers, again, often on the phone, they have to ensure the interaction is valuable. And it's not valuable unless someone picks up.

How does Neustar help retailers build back trust in the voice channel?

There are two critical ways we help retailers build trust back. First, we work with carriers on behalf of retailers  to ensure they're not getting those spam or telemarketer tags on their phone numbers. That's step one. 

Step two is caller ID. Neustar is the largest provider, really the only provider, of caller ID services in the U.S. We work with over 850 telecommunications companies and carriers. Our pedigree is caller ID. Now, with Branded Call Display, we're taking that caller ID experience that everyone has known for ages on landline phone numbers and bringing that to the wireless channel.

Tell us about the authentication component and how it helps facilitate trusted calls. 

Authentication is the token that's delivered on a phone call that adds that extra layer of trust. You want your outbound calls to be trusted and authenticated before you push your brand out. STIR/SHAKEN authentication not only verifies it’s your brand that’s calling, it’s a huge deterrent to spoofing and manipulation by bad actors in the marketplace. 

Branding is the name, photo, and or logo, and more, on the mobile display. For branded calling, authentication is very important. The branding would be ineffective if it didn't have a check mark that lets consumers know, "Hey, this is the brand that you're expecting to be on the other end of the phone. And it's authenticated." We know that it's not someone pretending to be that brand.

That's the importance of authentication. It's the ability to not only deliver your brand over the voice channel, but to do it in a secure fashion where that consumer trusts it’s you.

So what is Branded Call Display and how does it help retailers and consumers?

With the smartphone, everyone's carrying around a super powerful device in their pocket. There’s a lot more real estate for dynamic content. So Branded Call Display, part of our Trusted Call Solutions suite, is taking that caller ID experience and delivering more than just a name. It’s things like logos or reasons for calling or pictures—dynamic content that's going to get delivered at the moment the phone rings. 

Neustar helps brands reaching out to consumers build trust back in the channel so that they know they can pick up, they know they can trust who’s on the other end of the phone, and they know who’s calling. Branded Call Display and Caller Name Optimization (CNO) allow a retailer to manage their brand on the voice channel.

How does Neustar facilitate these solutions through the call ecosystem?

We're very involved with the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication initiative, which fundamentally enables enterprises to take control of the authentication of their phone calls. Neustar has long worked with U.S. carriers to help figure out how to make it work, how to deploy the tokens, how to exchange calls across networks. Now we’re at the forefront of delivering enterprise-level STIR/SHAKEN capability to all of the consumer-facing brands with which we work.

What are typical outcomes for retailers deploying these solutions?

There are a lot of positives that emerge. One national retailer told us about the millions they were spending to brand online, in the mail and in the stores. But they weren't able to do it with one of the most critical channels—the phone—until Neustar enabled them to deploy their brand on every call.  

A large electronics retailer was having big issues with fraudsters spoofing their widely known national 800 number to scam people. Working with Neustar, the retailer was able to shut down 99.9% of that fraud. That’s huge for a big brand like that.
Many retailers with branded credit cards must call customers for account services on those cards or in some cases, collections. We help by branding these calls and removing spam tags on those outbound calls.

One customer not only increased their pickup rates by 30%, they increased their collections by millions of dollars just by enabling those calls to be branded and not spam tagged. For a large electronics retailer, Neustar’s impact was twofold. From the consumer perspective, we stopped fraudulent activity from occurring and reduced the complaints to the FCC about activity they weren't even conducting. For the retailer, these efforts protected their brand from being sullied in the marketplace, and protected customers from being defrauded.

What are the most important benefits of Neustar’s Trusted Call Solutions for retailers?

  1. Brand protection. Retailers don’t want their calls to be labeled as spam or fraud. The largest retailers in the country—who are spending a lot of money on those brands—are negatively impacted when their calls say fraud or scam or spam, often erroneously. That’s very important around brand protection. 
     
  2. Customer satisfaction. The voice channel is a main communication channel with their customers. What we do at Neustar is help retailers build trust back into the channel, by reaching out to consumers with BCD and CNO services so they know they can trust who's calling.

It’s more important than ever that retailers overcome trust issues and reach consumers by phone. Every interaction with their customers matters, especially as more brick-and-mortar stores close. Neustar is enabling those retailers to bring the phone channel back to life so that they can maximize every interaction.

Watch the video: Managing Retail Brands through the Voice Channel, learn more about how Branded Call Display and Caller Name Optimization (CNO) help improve answer rates and protect your brand. 

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