number masking

The need for increased customer privacy has been a topic of constant debate. Most online transactions need you to give a phone number. But how does the customer know their number is in safe hands? Receiving calls from people we haven't give our numbers to is something we experience every day. Sometimes, these spam calls become a lot more than just that. While spam is irritating, lack of security leads to bigger things.

So, here's the scenario: you need to talk to your customers, your third party agents, delivery personnel, drivers need to talk to your customers too. But how can they all talk without knowing each other's phone number? Cloud telephony has the solution to this problem.

What is number masking?

Number masking, as the solution has come to be called, is a way to safeguard customer privacy. Instead of connecting two people directly, you use a bridge to connect them to safeguard their identities.

E-commerce, last mile companies, and cab aggregators use number masking to connect delivery personnel/cab drivers to customers without revealing the number of either of the parties.

This is how number masking works.

Imagine the case of an e-commerce delivery company, the delivery person clicks on a "call a customer" button. They then reach an IVR which will ask them for the order number. Once they enter the order number, Exotel will fetch the customer's number from their database. And then, initiate a call.

How do companies use number masking?

Number masking is an ideal solution for businesses that share customer information with 3rd parties. Here are some instances:

Cab aggregators:

Cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber are now connecting their drivers to their customers without revealing the numbers of either party. In the driver facing app of Ola and Uber, instead of the customer's phone number, drivers see a call button. When the driver is assigned a ride, the customer's number is mapped to their phone number. This way, we divert the call via Exotel without revealing the phone number.

Not only do calls get routed without revealing the other person's phone number, but they're also recorded for tracking. This way, the aggregators know exactly what happens during these conversations.

What Ola’s COO has to say about the number masking solution:

The number masking feature brings enhanced privacy for users, reducing the risk of any untoward experience for them. While driver-partners can save on their calling costs, we will be able to closely monitor drivers behavior and conversations, resulting in a superior experience for users," Pranay Jivrajka, COO, Ola Cabs

What Uber’s manager has to say about the number masking solution:

"We care deeply about the safety of our riders and drivers. This new safety technology will help provide increased security before, during and after the ride,” says Deval Delivala, Uber India Safety Lead.


E-commerce deliveries and 3rd party logistics

For every delivery, on an average, 3 calls take place between the customer and the delivery personnel. These calls are made for various reasons such as checking the availability of the customer, verification of the delivery location and so on.

Companies like Flipkart & Peppertap use the number masking solution to prevent delivery personnel from getting numbers of the customers and vice versa.

Why does your business need it?

Businesses of all sizes treat their customers as their king. In business, there are instances where customers need to give their mobile numbers. How do you get your customers to trust you with their information? So, we spoke to a few people and did a survey. Only 31% of the people felt okay about sharing their numbers with delivery personnel.

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So there are two main reasons why businesses should care about number masking:

Increased Customer Loyalty:

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Seeing companies go that extra mile to protect their privacy leads to trust. In a survey conducted by us, 65% of people said their confidence in company increases if the company adopts number masking solutions.

Decrease in untoward instances:

Proactively taking measures to prevent the harassment of customers can help prevent untoward instances. For instance, the incident where a woman was harassed by a delivery person using her phone number could have been avoided with the implementation of a simple number masking solution.

AUTHOR: Ashima Raizada
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