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Best Practices for Phone Contact Data

Phones are alive and well in the 21st century as marketing and customer contact channels. For starters, nowadays there is one in everyone’s pocket or purse. Second, they have no equal for creating a personal connection with customers or prospects. Most importantly, they work: phone response rates have been shown to exceed all other channels, while SMS text-based marketing is well documented as having the highest open rates of any marketing strategy.

However, this channel should also come with a BIG warning label. Why? Because it carries more risk than any other marketing channel. Unwanted phone contact can turn off prospects and ruin customer relationships, and word of mouth about misguided phone marketing can hurt your brand image and undermine your marketing objectives.

Worse, unsolicited marketing contacts with wrong or changed numbers can subject your business to extremely stiff financial penalties under laws such as the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act or the European Union’s recent GDPR regulation. In this article, we will look at some best practices for making your phone data work for you and not against you.

Some key best practices

Here are four of the most important ways you can ensure that your phone data is accurate, genuine, and up to date – and that your marketing and customer contact efforts are as profitable as possible:

Validate inbound phone data. Putting every incoming phone number through an automated validation process – at every touch point where data enters your system, including data entry, user forms, and marketing outreach – is critical. It helps guard against mistyped data, invalid numbers, and outright fraud designed to add bogus leads or customers to your database.

Re-validate phone data at time of use. Time stands still for no one, and especially for contact data. Over the course of even a year or less, a surprising percentage of your contact numbers will change, as leads and prospects move, switch jobs, change phone carriers, or even pass on.

This also becomes an important regulatory and compliance issue, as contacting new owners of old numbers subjects you to potentially large penalties for unsolicited phone or text marketing. This, in turn, leads us to another best practice tied in with compliance issues:

Verify line type and ownership. This step is critical for maintaining compliance with data privacy laws, as well as ensuring accuracy. Ensuring that the person who opted in to your marketing or contact is, in fact, the person who owns the phone line helps keep you and your business safe from legal consequences.

De-duplicate your phone lists. This last issue is particularly important if you have lead and contact data coming in from multiple sources. People may choose to hear from you, but no one wants to be contacted twice or more as part of the same campaign.

How we can help

For the first three of these best practices, there is a simple out-of-the-box solution that can automate your phone data quality: Service Objects’ DOTS GeoPhone Plus. It provides a subscriber’s name, validated in real time to verify it for valid consent, and also determines a phone number’s line type (wireless, landline, VOIP) and porting date to help ensure compliance with regulations such as the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Like all Service Objects products, GeoPhone Plus can be integrated with most popular business automation platforms via API interfaces, and comes with expert implementation assistance, 24/7/365 technical support and guaranteed 99.999% uptime. For more information or a free demonstration, contact our friendly product experts here.

 

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