One thing that I’ve suggested to people, is to put a DTMF 1 tone in their answering machine messages, or other related places. This will cause most Robocalls to believe the person has pressed 1, and will transfer to an agent. This negates a lot of reason telemarketers use robocalls in the first place. They want people to hang up on the computer, rather than wasting an agents time and hanging up on them. The people using automated methods to skip the robocall and go straight to the agent messes up with their business model.
I guess there’s more people doing that than I realized, since I’ve been seeing this update to the business model more frequently. Now, instead of just pressing 1 to get to an agent, a second recording comes on to do an additional verification. You have to press another number to move on to an agent. Or press a number to get put on their DNC list – like we trust that would ever happen.
Here’s an example from one of my Lenny servers. You can here the initial Lenny hello, followed by the ‘1’ tone, and follow up with Lenny continuing:
Lenny picks up, and you can here the start of the robocall. You can hear the ‘1’ tone, and the robocall starts it’s transfer, however it’s to an additional “press 7” robo announcement before you can transfer to a person.
The only problem with that, is it adds to the friction cost for the presumed customer. It makes it a little harder on the presumed customer to actually start the interaction with the agent. There are undoubtedly some potential lost of sales due to this. But I guess they think it less than the losses of having agents answer to people that hangup, or otherwise voice discontent, on the agent.
The good news here, it is shows that we can impact their business model, even by doing simple things to our answering machine messages. They aren’t doing this for our benefit, but solely for their benefit. The more people take direct action against them, the harder it will be for them to compensate and adjust their business model.