What can phone validation tools do for you? If you do any telephone or SMS-based marketing or customer contact, they can do plenty, including:
- Open up more valid telephone leads
- Protect your customer reputation and brand image
- Keep you out of trouble with regulatory compliance
- Protect you from fraud
In this article, we’re going to explore how automated API-based tools can do this and more, along with some best practices for using them properly.
Getting more leads
For starters, it is hard to do telephone marketing without a phone number. That’s where our DOTS Phone Append product comes in. It is a real-time API that cross-references US and Canadian name and address records to append missing business and consumer phone numbers.
You give Phone Append the name and address of a contact, and it will match this data against proprietary databases of over 800 million US and Canadian phone numbers. In addition to returning a number, it will let you know if it is a business or residential number, whether it is a landline, wireless or VoIP number, and validated address data. It’s a quick and easy way to add more marketing power to your contact data assets.
Protecting your reputation
Unwanted marketing contacts, particularly by phone or text message, make your company look clueless at best – and when it happens regularly, it can hurt your brand reputation. And one of the most common causes of these lapses is when phone numbers change hands.
The cure for this? Good business practices, combined with a little automation. In the former case, it is essential to re-verify your phone contact before every campaign to make sure that your contacts are still, well, your contacts.
And a great tool for verifying this is our DOTS GeoPhone Plus product, a reverse lookup tool that verifies a number’s contact information, tells you whether it is a landline, wireless or VoIP number, and more importantly in this case, lets you know if the number was ported to another owner and on what date. Armed with this data, you can market with the confidence that good data hygiene provides.
Staying out of trouble
Of course, there is a lot more at stake than your reputation when you make unwanted telephone or SMS contacts. In the United States, the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from invasive telephone marketing practices, with particularly stiff penalties for contacting wireless numbers that did not want to be contacted – up to $1500 per call. In fact, several well-known corporations have faced multi-million dollar judgments as a result of being careless about TCPA compliance. And even stricter potential legislation is now in the pipeline.
The same GeoPhone Plus capabilities give you the confidence to know that your phone contacts are the same ones that originally opted in to hear from you, and additionally flag wireless numbers for special attention.
More important, the porting information this service returns help you stay within TCPA’s 14-day “safe harbor” for inadvertent calls to numbers with new owners. Combined with a strong opt-in process, this kind of verification is inexpensive insurance against a problem that is often just a consumer complaint away.
Protecting yourself from fraud
Finally, not every telephone contact is a good one to have on your lists. Fraudulent orders or marketing contacts often use “burner” numbers such as portable VoIP and prepaid phone numbers. GeoPhone Plus flags these numbers so you can review or take action about these contacts ahead of time.
Best practices for telephone data hygiene
Tools such as Phone Append and GeoPhone Plus fit well within a broader approach to contact data hygiene, including address validation, lead validation, optional demographics, and more. This process starts with good data intake and opt-in procedures, to ensure the right contacts get on your list in the first place. Then, as mentioned previously, re-verifying data at the time of use helps protect you from changes and compliance issues.
Our tools are based around API interfaces that let you build validation capabilities directly within most of the popular call center software, CRMs and marketing automation platforms. And we make it easy to test-drive them ahead of time, with on-line documentation and live demos right on our website, and a free sample key that lets you test your implementation on us. Combined with our friendly and knowledgeable technical team, we can make phone validation capabilities easy – and profitable – for your business.