Improving Customer Data Validation with New Phone Data Features

Many of our Customer Data Validation services are interconnected and benefit from updates to individual data components. In this blog, we will discuss recent phone data enhancements that will help you learn more and make better decisions with your contact data.

We will primarily focus here on DOTS Geophone Plus and DOTS Lead Validation International, although several other services benefit from the same updates. In particular, composite services such as Lead Validation International will make use of new data sets and features in the phone services to enhance their ability to solve more complex problems.

Phone Data Updates in DOTS Geophone Plus

The core new feature for Geophone Plus is the IsActive flag. This indicates a phone number that is seeing active traffic across the phone networks. This is valuable to anyone making phone calls, because an active line is more likely to be picked up, which in turn allows quicker contact validation and less wasted time following up with someone. Likewise, IsInactive indicates a number that is less likely to be picked up, so that intelligent decisions can be made on how to deal with this particular contact point.

IsPrepayNumber indicates that the number belongs to a prepaid phone plan. While these numbers can be legitimate, they are often associated with an increased risk of fraud. A person with a prepaid phone plan is less likely to answer the phone, and these phones also have a long history of being used for more anonymous dealings.

IsPager indicates that the number belongs to a pager. Despite a huge decline in pager use since the 1990’s, there are still over 2 million page numbers in use today. These are primarily used by physicians and emergency workers, but have also been employed in other high-risk professions as well. Regardless, it would be unusual for a pager number to be useful for direct contact purposes.

IsPayphone indicates a pay phone. Pay phones are rarely found in the US today due to the ubiquity of cellular phone services, however some cities such as Portland and Philadelphia are attempting to bring them back to help impoverished regions have better ways to be connected – in these cases, as free phones that allow users to make free calls anywhere in the US. For most purposes, however, a pay phone number as part of a contact data record would have very little chance of being useful for contact purposes.

Understanding Active Versus Inactive Numbers

A number can be connected but be either active or inactive, and the difference between these is subtle but important. Being connected purely describes whether the number/line has a user attached to it. A connected number with the name John Smith attached to it theoretically means that you should be able to call that number and get ahold of John Smith.

Active means there is known traffic on that line, and this number is making or receiving calls. An active line with the name John Smith attached to it means there is a stronger indication that calling that number will result in John Smith actually picking up. On the flip side, a disconnected number can be inactive, but an inactive number is not necessarily disconnected.

Inactive means that there is no traffic seen on that number. This could be because there is no one assigned to that number, the number has been disconnected, or this line is owned by someone and simply never used. In these cases, you can call this number, but it does not pick up. So, a phone line that is technically connected can also be inactive.

These are important distinctions, because ultimately what we are looking for in a service like Lead Validation International is whether we have a lead that we can contact. A final note here is that the absence of all of these types is not a good or bad thing – it simply means that in this case we did not have that particular data for it. In those cases, we should be considering other factors to help determine if the number is good or not.

Impacts on Lead Validation

Lead Validation International does not currently use some of these new features. IsPager and IsPayphone are not currently used, but may be in the future. Pay phones in particular are extremely rare, although as mentioned above, some cities are considering bringing back free pay phones that could become sources of fraud. IsPrepayPhone is used and given a small to moderate penalty, because of their potential risk as a source of fraud.

When dealing with leads, one of the most important things is whether a contact point can be used to reach someone, followed obviously by whether you are reaching the right person. Lead Validation International has taken several steps recently to help point out the best leads for both email and phone contact points. In a recent update we added flags and additional bonus scoring for emails that are known to be good AND match the intended person, and now we do the same for phone numbers.

The IsActive flag now indicates that a number is more likely to be contactable, and seeing a match with email or phone data indicates that it is a more reachable phone tied to the intended recipient. This gives Lead Validation International more ways to help companies find the best leads and contact their customers and prospects.

IsInactive, on the flip side, indicates a lead that is likely to be harder to contact. As stated before, these phones are not necessarily disconnected, but may not be useful for contact purposes. We do not penalize as harshly for an inactive number versus a disconnected one, but they should be viewed as lower value contact points.

These new features are now available for testing in both Geophone Plus and Lead Validation International. Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about how these services might help your business.