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Is This Robocall Good or Bad? Varolii Offers Seven Clues

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Is This Robocall Good or Bad? Varolii Offers Seven Clues

November 03, 2008
By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Gotten any of those obnoxious robocalls from political candidates’ campaigns this year? Or any unsolicited automated calls, pre-recorded communications? You do what any normal person does – hang up.
“But what if the messages contained important information, such as a flight cancellation notification or a call alerting consumers to suspicious activity on their credit card account,” say officials from Seattle-based Varolii Corporation.

Fortune 500 companies are using automated calls more and more as a means to reach more of their customers and employees with actually important need-to-know information. In other words, get used to robocalls.
Varolii, a vendor of personalized automated communications nationwide, offers the following tips to help tell the difference between a robocall and a need-to-know call.
First, an automated call with vital information will always be relationship-based – you’ll recognize the caller as someone you already do business with, such as their bank, pharmacy, or employer.
It’ll be courteous, Varolii officials say, in that the calling organization will identify itself right away, using a natural-sounding voice in a conversational tone. It will be personalized in that it will ask for you by name, and even pronounce it correctly. This journalist's sister, named Devyn (pronounced Devin), hung up on a caller asking for “Mrs. Divine Farley?”
The information will be relevant, specific and applicable only to the individual receiving the call, and valuable in that it’ll be something you need to know, such as a fraud alert, flight delay, or prescription pick-up reminder.
It’ll be a private call, in that you’ll be asked to authenticate yourself before receiving confidential information. And Varolii officials say a legitimate call will be interactive – “there is an opportunity to have a ‘conversation’ by answering questions and confirming selections,” such as a new flight to be booked or confirming a credit card purchase.
“It’s all too easy to mistakenly dismiss an automated call as a nuisance,” said Jeffrey Read, executive vice president of field operations at Varolii.
This May, TMCnet’s Eve Sullivan reported that Varolii introduced Predictive Analytics, “an offering created to help organizations better understand, analyze and strategically target more effective contact with their customers.”

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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Michael Dinan
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