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Why The Phone Call Needs a New Look With branded phone calls, your customers will be sure to answer the call they want to receive, cementing your position as a brand in touch with its customers' need.

By Temim Adwan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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This article has been built in collaboration with Young Arab Leaders, a not-for-profit organization founded by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, to develop the next generation of leaders in the Arab world through entrepreneurship, education, and employment.

Did you know that 87% of people won't answer phone calls from numbers they don't recognize?

The number is high, but not surprising- consumers are inundated daily with unwanted calls from telemarketers, spammers, and fraudsters, destroying their trust in the phone as a channel of communication. Unknown numbers go unanswered, and the businesses that rely on calling to reach their customers are paying the price- literally. A missed connection usually leads to an inefficient and costly cycle of phone and email tag to resolve customer issues.

In the meantime, customers are unsatisfied because that call was actually the one they wanted or needed- and they ignored it. In fact, during the COVID-19 crisis, 75% of people said they missed an urgent call. And a recent research study found that missed calls about a late food delivery was a real customer support issue for on-demand delivery apps.

There are so many reasons that people actually want and need to speak with a human at a business- sometimes, it just takes a phone call.

A string of numbers displayed on the customer's device is the exact opposite of a brand- it's unrecognizable, void of value, and mistrusted. So much so that some devices even have a feature to automatically silence calls from unrecognized phone numbers- including, potentially, yours.

If ever there was an opportunity for innovation staring you in the face, this is it.

It's time the old-fashioned phone call got a makeover

What if your customers could see who was calling and why, instead of receiving a meaningless string of numbers when their device rang?

It's a simple but powerful proposition that's made possible through an innovation called the branded phone call. It's now feasible for your business to make outbound phone calls that display the company name, logo, and even the purpose for the call.

The benefits of branding your businesses' phone calls are considerable. The obvious ROI is an uptick in first-call answered metrics, which we've seen can be substantial (more on this later).

The net benefits of increasing first-call answer rates fall into three core categories:

  • Reduced resolution times: your service agents get to speak with more customers and are better equipped to resolve their issues at speed- a process that is much more efficient and satisfying than placing endless calls that go unanswered, and having to resort to other, potentially costlier channels to ensure resolution.
  • Every call counts. Every first-call answered customer interaction is an opportunity to not only resolve the customer's immediate need, but also to learn more about their preferences and deepen the engagement.
  • Enhanced brand recognition and reputation: Customer satisfaction and loyalty will only increase when they know that you're calling for a valid reason, rather than to sell something they don't want or need. You'll be viewed as the opposite of a telemarketer!

Many different businesses stand to benefit from this novel innovation, which is quick and simple to deploy. For example, take Keno, UAE's on-demand car washing app that sends service directly to a customer's location. Using the app, customers book appointments for Keno drivers, or "Ninjas," to come wash their cars.

Related: How UAE Businesses Can Protect The Ecosystem While Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic

Similar to ride hailing applications, customers are assigned a driver that is local or nearby.

The phone call is a critical component of Keno's operations, because Ninjas call customers to announce their arrival, ask for directions, and request access to their vehicle.

But here's the problem: 42% of Ninja's calls -calls from the person providing the service the customer had just ordered- were going unanswered.

The challenge Keno was facing was many of its customers prefer to wait until the driver arrives to unlock their vehicle. But when drivers called to let them know they were there, the customer wouldn't pick up because he or she didn't recognize the number. Both drivers and customers were frustrated: the game of phone tag hindered operations, wasted time and money, and reduced the Ninja's earning potential as the extra time spent trying to reach customers added up throughout the day. Keno knew it had to address the unanswered call problem that was impacting operations and revenue.

After four months of deploying an enhanced calling solution -branded phone calls- that we at First Orion built for them, Keno's answer rate improved to 92%.

Now when a Ninja calls the customer, the Keno name appears on the customer's mobile phone screen; since they know it's Keno calling rather than an anonymous phone number, they answer. Higher answer rates mean Ninjas gain faster access to customers' vehicles, spend less time waiting, and fulfill more washes with the same operational capacity. Employee satisfaction is up, as drivers now have the ability to earn more commission by completing more jobs during the same operating hours. In addition, customers who answer Keno's call can prepare their vehicle ahead of arrival and observe service from the comfort of indoors.

Keno also regularly uses enhanced calling to deliver branded, outbound customer service calls addressing feedback and complaints. Such calls are measured by call handling time, whereby longer duration produces the best customer result. Before, longer conversations only accounted for 54% of the connections, but with the new system, this rose to 87%, proving that when customers know Keno is calling, they're more likely to have meaningful calls that lead to a resolution.

Sometimes what seems like the most obvious solution -branding a phone number- is the best one. When all other forms of digital communication dominate daily lives, there are still times when it just takes a phone call- to engage service, to solve a problem, or to exceed expectations. And with branded phone calls, your customers will be sure to answer the call they want to receive, cementing your position as a brand in touch with its customers' needs, and the innovative technology needed to meet them.

Related: Six Steps To A New Roadmap For Your Business To Recover From The COVID-19 Crisis

Temim Adwan

Member, Young Arab Leaders and Managing Director – MENA, First Orion

Temim Adwan, an active member of Young Arab Leaders, is the Managing Director of First Orion in the MENA region located in United Arab Emirates. First Orion is a leader in network enterprise solutions, call identification, and call management software, focusing on data-driven call transparency across the calling experience.The company helps its partners increase consumer satisfaction, reduce risk associated with fraud and compliance, and yield more profitable calling solutions.

Temim has operated in an executive role for more than 10 years, brokering deals in several sectors like energy, scrap metal trading, and refined products, and has been involved in multiple merger and acquisition activities. His representation of companies in the Middle East and Africa has played a direct role in achieving success for their operations. Temim holds a BA in business administration from London Metropolitan University and an MBA From Ecole Superieure de Gestion in Paris.

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