Charles Morgan, a wearer of many hats, serves as chairman and CEO of First Orion. Since its founding in 2008, Morgan has guided First Orion, and the company offers the industry’s most comprehensive scam, fraud, and spoof protection solutions serving hundreds of millions of consumers each and every day. First Orion’s unique approach connects businesses to customers while providing trust in mobile phone communication across industries. In our chat, we discussed challenges businesses face when connecting with customers by phone and highlighted how Branded Communication technology is changing the landscape.
Gary Drenik: What challenges are businesses facing when trying to reach their customers by phone?
Charles Morgan: Businesses face the challenge of re-building trust in the phone call and establishing person-to-person connections through voice touchpoints. The lack of trust can be attributed to consumers experiencing record-setting levels of scam and spam calls and, as a result, it’s become vital for businesses to leverage branded communication technology that not only allows them to identify themselves, but also provide context when calling. Businesses know they have a problem getting customers to answer their calls – but they don’t realize there is new Branded Communication technology out there that can help them increase customer connections.
In 2021, U.S. consumers received around 110 billion scam calls, resulting in 88 million scam victims and an estimated $44.2 billion in scam losses. Findings from First Orion’s Brand Impact Report also revealed 93% of respondents received a scam call to their mobile phone, and 90% said they don’t feel comfortable answering the phone when they don’t recognize the number.
A global call avoidance behavior continues to be reinforced in the minds of customers, so when an unknown number appears on a screen, it’s not getting answered. While ignoring calls helps consumers avoid scams, 78% of people reported missing an important call due to not answering an unknown number.
Because people are so wary of answering unidentified calls, businesses not leveraging branded communication have a harder time engaging with customers by phone – even though data has shown that a phone call is a preferred method of contact.
Drenik: How has the customer service landscape changed as scam and spam calls have become more common?
The rise in scam and spam calls has made the ability to brand and provide context for a call necessary as businesses look to increase efficiency. Companies not utilizing branded communication in their outreach experience weakened customer loyalty. Operationally, it negatively impacts the bottom line when first answer rates are low because that leads to more calls, time and money spent on reaching the same customers.
When a customer does not answer a phone call or misses an important message due to hesitancy to pick up an unrecognized number, it can negatively affect brand reputation. Organizations using unidentified numbers are also at risk of numbers being spoofed by bad actors.
Companies need to get the right people on the phone at the right time, and they can’t afford to play phone tag. Branded communication provides efficiency and improves workforce productivity through increased answer and engagement rates for calls made by sales, customer support and other departments.
Drenik: How can businesses use branded communication to build stronger relationships with consumers and streamline operations?
Morgan: Branding communication builds stronger relationships and streamlines operations by providing consumers a personalized experience that increases a business’s efficiency through improved engagement rates. Personalization, whether it’s through a branded call or targeted outreach, is an approach companies across different industries practice. However, customer relationship management (CRM) software is only one part of the equation, and most people would agree that effective use of CRM is all about talking to the right people at the right time with the right message. Combining branded communication technology with CRM software creates the ultimate 360-degree view of the customer and alleviates the inefficiency calling from unidentified numbers causes.
For example, a Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey found 67% of U.S. adults aged 18 or older place importance on same-day delivery for online orders. In a scenario where a company’s brand perception is dependent on fulfilling same-day deliveries, the ability to drop off a package on the first attempt is critical. However, unanswered calls affect the ability to provide timely deliveries. Missed deliveries not only negatively impact customer satisfaction but also the business’s financial interest due to the cost associated with rescheduling deliveries.
Lifting first call conversion rates by over 76%, First Orion’s ENGAGE solution allows businesses to brand calls with a logo, company name, department, or reason for calling. Adding to the capabilities of ENGAGE, our INFORM technology displays a custom 32-character message that appears on the call recipient’s mobile device at the time of the call and in the call log afterward, increasing the likelihood the customer calls back. These content-rich and branded solutions were developed to help brands increase engagement and deliver superior customer experiences.
Reaching all customers is also a large factor in building strong customer relationships. It requires phone service providers to embrace, commit to, and support branded communications technologies. We believe businesses should have a unified platform to reach all customers, regardless of which service provider they use – which is why we’re paving the way with delivering the ability for two-thirds of mobile handsets and landlines to receive Branded Communications through First Orion by the end of Q1 2022.
Branded communications will become an integral part of a company’s CRM infrastructure of the future and will change the way people experience phone communication – bringing trust and transparency back to the phone.
Drenik: How does branded communication give businesses a competitive edge when reaching out to potential customers by phone?
Morgan: According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey, approximately 75.6% of people ranked the level of importance a three or higher on a one to five scale when asked about the ability to speak with a toll-free live customer service person while shopping online. Another study revealed that 59% of consumers said they consider a phone call the most personal form of interaction outside of visiting a physical store. Consumers want to be communicated with by phone, but they want to know who is calling.
A staggering 77% of individuals would view a brand as “more premium” if it clearly identified itself when calling, and over seven in 10 people would consider taking their business to a company that brands phone calls over one that does not. In addition to building trust and improving the customer experience, brands that utilize branded communication streamline operations and increase call answer and conversion rates.
Drenik: How does branded communication facilitate a higher quality experience for customers?
Morgan: We already know customers want to hear from brands they interact with or follow. However, it’s the business’s responsibility to go beyond the use of CRM software and make those communications more effective to maintain and enhance quality customer experiences.
The ability to brand communication with a logo, reason for contact and the organization’s name keeps the business front of mind with every communication and elevates customer trust by assuring the brand’s legitimacy. At a time when spoofed numbers and spam calls are turning people away from their phones, nine out of 10 people feel comfortable answering branded calls.
Approximately one-third of consumers aged 18 or older in a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey said they were somewhat likely or very likely to give out personal information, such as a phone number, at the register when a store associate asks.
Businesses that are not utilizing branded communication technology are missing key branding touchpoints during the customer journey and opportunities to streamline operations.
Drenik: Thanks, Charles, for taking the time to dive deep into how branded communications and data can be used to build customer relationships, streamline business operations, and provide useful insights on the current customer landscape.