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Data is crucial to modern-day businesses. It helps them make better decisions, solve problems, improve processes, evaluate performance, understand consumers, and increase sales. According to Deloitte, around half of the companies rely on data for better decision-making.
In recent years, data gathering has become much easier for businesses. Small- and mid-size enterprises now have access to self-generated data through various data gathering tools. Although customer data is now easier to gather, it is important to validate each data to reap its full benefits. This is where data validation tools come to the picture.
Importance of Customer Phone Numbers
Customer phone number is a vital piece of consumer data, particularly for marketing. With over 7.26 billion mobile phone users and 931 million fixed telephone line subscriptions worldwide, it continues to be the most reliable communication channel. Businesses use phone numbers to reach prospects and customers – and it is still very effective. The surge of mobile phones has made phone numbers even more important.
To ensure accurate and verified phone numbers, marketers and businesses are increasingly relying on phone validators. As the name suggests, phone validator tools validate phone numbers as they are collected from data gathering channels. According to developers of the phone validation tool by Byteplant, the solution mainly works in three ways: check the format and syntax of the phone number, correct any errors, and verify its existence.
The phone validator tool can provide real-time validation as well as cleaning using an existing phone list. With this tool, you are sure that all phone numbers in your contacts list are correct, validated, and up-to-date. This ensures better results in your marketing campaign and business bottom line.
Whether you are a business owner or a marketer, if you utilize phone numbers for whatever reason, utilizing phone validators is necessary. But how did this amazing tool came to be?
History of the Telephone and Phone Validators
Phone validators are a relatively new technology. Little is known about its exact history but it goes vis-à-vis with phone marketing or telemarketing. The need for brands and marketers for validated phone numbers gave rise to these useful digital solutions. Here’s a quick glimpse of its past.
Telephones became widely used in the 1900s. Around this time, businesses practiced cold calling trying to sell their products. Eventually, marketers began compiling the “lead list” derived from local phone directories. The list consisted of the affluent members of the community who were deemed good leads, regardless of their interests, status, and needs. Cold calling was done primarily by businesses.
In 1957, the booming post-war economy gave rise to the first telemarketing firm where businesses get their products marketed. The company operated two calling stations, inbound and outbound stations. It resembled the traditional telemarketing. Eventually, similar companies opened up to serve the growing needs of brands.
In the 1960s, switchboard enabled companies to bring back communications in-house. Instead of contracting third-party marketers, businesses hired receptionists who manually received and connected calls to their intended recipients. Around this time, Bell Telephone was inaugurated. This computer system replaced rotary dial with tones. It paved the way for the Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which will eventually give rise to automated service.
The early part of the 1970s saw telemarketing go mainstream. Telemarketers were calling around 100 prospects a day – and it was deemed an effective strategy. However, the crude IVR technology, steep cost, and limited computer literacy of operators caused a public aversion to telemarketing.
In 1981, telemarketing topped business expenditures and toppled direct-mail advertising as the preferred marketing campaign. Its explosion marked several trends that included increased consumer acceptance, high conversion rate, increased efficiency, and reduced costs. Soon, more companies joined the bandwagon.
The success and growth of the phone marketing sector continued through the ’90s. However, it was not fraught from nuisances. As the number of telemarketers increased, the frequency of phone calls annoyed customers. Add to that, scam artists plagued the industry, particularly in the late 1990s. The rising fraud costs necessitated government regulators to strengthen consumer protection by enacting telemarketing laws, regulations, and standards. They launched a massive DMA telephone name removal which numbered to 3.2 million by 2000 and a crackdown of fraudsters. These regulations enforced strict data gathering standards and ethics to businesses and marketers.
The explosion of the Internet in the mid-2000s enabled self-generated data for marketers. Gone are the days of gathering phone lists through directories and direct mail marketing. Businesses and marketers collected data through software solutions embedded in websites, apps, or digital ads. This has made data gathering much easier. But as marketers easily gain consumer data, telemarketers have once again become pestering. To protect consumers, new regulations were enacted such as the new EU GDPR in 2018. It improved transparency by monitoring the way personal information, including phone numbers, is used and shared. Under this sweeping regulation, all organizations that gather, store, or use consumer information cannot use or share data for other purposes.
The proliferation of cellular phones in the latter part of the 1990s has made phone numbers even more important for marketers and businesses. Mobile phones proved an effective communication channel as marketers can reach their prospects even when away from home. In 2012, smartphones replaced its ‘dumb-phone’ predecessor. Feature-laden and extremely powerful, smartphones took its place in being used more. Mobile phone penetration grew exponentially and there are more smartphone units than toothbrushes around the world. Consumers spent more time on mobile which made phone numbers even more important for businesses.
In a bid to ensure accurate information in databases, data gathering forms were equipped with auto-correct functions that corrected the entries before they were saved into the database. This proved useful in ensuring a clean phone list. The software was further improved with the introduction of its validation feature, hence phone validator tools were developed.
Phone validators proved useful for businesses as it helped them sort out and clean their phone list. This led to a better and more successful phone and mobile marketing. Real-time verification also helped ensure the authenticity of customers in the database. This further improved the conversion rate. Considering its advantages, more and more businesses and marketers are now using phone validators in their data collection.