Frustration is the only way we can describe the feeling we have when these calls come in. We can’t be the only ones who think spam calls seem to be on the rise again… are we?
Consumers were protected a few years back with the National Do-Not-Call Registry and tougher CAN-Spam laws that, together, squashed a lot of junk calls and emails to individual consumers. But, little could be done for business owners who relied on open airways to avoid missing possible consumer inquiries. Coupled with the increase use of our cellular and mobile technology in both personal and business life, well… let’s just say… times are-a-changing. So what is a person to do?
Are you tired of getting “spammed” on your business phone?
If you’re a business owner with multiple locations or have a multi-state reach you may be frustrated at the urge to keep answering calls that appear to be out of the area; not knowing if it could be a possible client or vendor. And now, with more sophisticated auto-dialers with location detection, some of these calls even appear to be legitmately local; making it even more difficult to decipher whether or not it’s worth your time to grab that phone between other tasks. You take the leap just to find out it is a marketing auto-dialer or some other form of spam. UGH!
The most common of these junk calls being reported today from business owners across the U.S. is a caller (live or recorded) advising you they are with Google and your business is in jeopardy of being removed unless you work with them to update it and re-verify it. As someone in the digital maketing industry, this particular call is even more frustrating because we see the harm it does to the business owner long-term. In most cases the business owner has over spent for services they didn’t need, or at the least, didn’t need to spend so much on. In other cases we’ve seen a loss of control or ownership of those business assets which results in another financial punch to recover everything. And, in the rare, but otherwise real situation of data breach some owners find they’ve also unknowingly compromised even more and have lost secured logins to other assets and financial accounts.
But, there are some things you should know, and things you can do to make sure you are legitimating being taken care of online and not falling to an expensive ploy that could cost you dearly down the road.
(1) Google won’t contact you unless someone is trying to claim stake to your already verified listing or you’re working with them directly on a project; in which case you would have your Account Manager’s name and contact information. Go with your gut. If it doesn’t look right, let it go to voicemail. Did they leave a voicemail? If not, it was probably a spammer. Is it an automated voicemail? Again, probably a spammer. You can register a block of numbers in most cell technology or with business phone services like Comcast that you would like to reject or deter from calling you from.
If you continue to receive calls from similar numbers or other out of state numbers clustered together the same day; or even that week, and they are seemingly out of the ordinary for your business, you can research those numbers for further information with a Publicized “Bad Number” site like www.badnumbers.info. There may be additional feedback from others across the net about this number you can read about. And, if you’re feeling so inclined, you can take the added step to publicize with new or additional information about a known #badcaller for the world to see.
(2) Removing your number can get a bit tricky in these cases since many are not adhearing to ‘gentlemenly marketing tactics’ to begin with, and will often have a whole block of phone numbers used in their auto-dialer technology. So, even if you get on one “do not call” registry for one number, they have 10-100 other numbers to call you from. But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
If you are lucky enough to receive a human touch on the other end of the answered call, then you can firmly request they remove your phone number from their registry. If it’s an automated answering selecting either 2 or 7 on your phone’s keypad will usually add you to a ‘do not call’ registry for that number. Sometimes the message will actually prompt you with the correct choice, but other times they don’t give you the option in a message, however the technology is still there so just test it out.
(3) Optimizing and Verifying your listing on Google alone won’t take long (unless you have a claim challenge, which is a topic for another day), and therefore shouldn’t cost you anything to do it yourself if you know how and have the time, or under $100 to work with a reputable social manager who will also typically include an update and verification on Facebook along with one or two other social accounts at the same time for you, and for that same price.
Even though spam calls seem to be on the rise these days, business owners still have the power to control their time and resources. And, at the end of the day, as annoying as they seem to be (like a buzzing mosquito in your ear you just can’t find and squash), it can be a minor blip that shouldn’t distract you from the bigger picture right now; strengthening your brand with existing customers and expanding to new ones.
Want to learn more?
Then call Back2Basics #SmallBusinessMarketingSolutions for #SocialMediaSolutions and other #BrandManagement and #ContentStrategies for your small business.