Why Guests Don’t Answer Your Phone Call & How to Fix It

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Why Guests Don’t Answer Your Phone Call & How to Fix It

By James Garvert, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Caller Identity, Neustar - 11/12/2020

When was the last time you received a spam call from an unknown number? If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably received at least one today already.

According to data from robocall-blocking app YouMail, Americans received 30.1 billion robocalls in just the first eight months of this year. What does all this mean for hospitality businesses? Outbound calling is critical for good customer service, particularly in complex situations, and for nurturing customer relationships. But if you need to contact your guests for any reason — to confirm or change a reservation, to make a customer service callback or to provide a high-touch experience for a priority customer — there’s a good chance your call will go unanswered.

More than just a nuisance.

Most of the time, these calls are just annoying inconveniences. But the larger significance lies in how these robocalls have shaped phone behavior. Now, more than ever, consumers will not pick up the phone if the call is from a number they don’t recognize. Americans now answer less than half of all calls they receive on their mobile phones.

In addition to these behavioral changes, as the telecom industry and Congress act to try to reduce the number of unwanted robocalls consumers receive, some phone carriers and caller ID services have implemented overly aggressive spam filters that incorrectly tag valid business calls as spam or flag them as “spam risk” or “unknown,” further reducing the likelihood that even legitimate calls will be answered.

So, what can businesses do to (1) ensure that their calls are not incorrectly marked as spam and (2) increase the chances of successfully connecting with customers? Here we lay out three key steps to prevent erroneous call blocking and that will encourage customers to answer hotel phone calls.

  1. Validate your caller identity across the calling environment.

Organizations often display inconsistent, inaccurate, or even blank caller ID names due to variations in telephone number data across internal systems and processes. It’s important to ensure your guests know who’s calling—and to make sure service providers and caller ID services are accurately assessing all your numbers as legitimate business calls and not wrongfully blocking them or tagging them as “spam risk” on guest devices. To do that, you need to validate and register all your numbers across the calling ecosystem. Also, make sure your organization understands the impact of STIR/SHAKEN and integrate those standards into your network and mobile apps to sign outbound calls, verify inbound calls, and secure end-to-end calls.

  1. Know how your calls are being displayed to guests.

Beyond displaying accurate numbers, managing the way your brand is displayed on outbound calls, including ensuring brand consistency and providing additional context on mobile device displays, will increase customer confidence in who is calling.

Third-party providers can create customized brand displays using logos, images and digital business cards that deliver expanded name information and the caller’s title, department and location. For instance, you can also offer a personalized brand experience by adding a targeted message about the purpose of the call, or a URL to visit for more information after the call. This enhanced context can be included in the customer’s call history to make sure they see the information even for calls they don’t answer.

  1. Call the right number at the right time.

Do you know the best time of day to contact your guests? Or whether they prefer to receive calls on their mobile or landline numbers? Incorporating predictive phone behavior intelligence into your CRM system — in addition to making sure your customer contact information is always up to date — is an effective way to increase your answer rates. Knowing what days of the week and times to call and which numbers are most likely to be answered can significantly increase the likelihood that your guests will pick up the phone when you call.

Creating successful connections

For hospitality businesses that want to connect with guests on meaningful matters and foster strong customer relationships, the phone is an essential tool. Digital communications are certainly important, but in many situations a person-to-person phone call is the most effective type of contact. Success in enabling these connections starts with increasing response rates and improving the customer call experience.

For more information on how to gain back customer trust and get them to answer the phone, visit https://www.trustedcall.neustar/.

James Garvert is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Caller Identity business and is based in Sterling, Virginia.  He is responsible for the management and business direction of the Neustar CallerID, Listings Management, and Global Number Routing products.  James joined Neustar in December of 2015 as part of the acquisition of the Transaction Network Services (TNS) CallerID business.  Prior to joining Neustar, James was the Chief Operating Officer of the TNS Telecom Services Division.  He started his career at Startec Global Communications and spent time building out a wireless network at the wireless operator Suncom before moving to TNS. He lives in Vienna, Virginia with his wife and three children.