No one answering your business calls? Blame abundance of robocalls

Consumers are getting good at spotting robocalls and ignoring them. But people are now so suspicious when their phones ring, that they are mistaking actual legitimate calls for ones they don’t want.

“I think there is a lot of hesitation for any kind of call now that is in some way promotional or trying to sell something, even if the call is something that could be useful to the customer,” said Riley Panko, at D.C.-based business research firm Clutch.

Robocalls are now killing off the phone as a legitimate means of communication.

“By phone, companies should not be doing these promotions or sales anymore unfortunately, just because robocalls have put such a negative attitude toward them,” Panko said.

Alex Quilici, CEO at YouMail, which makes a free robocall-blocking app, agrees.

“What’s unfortunately happened is that this robocall epidemic is putting the phone call into a death spiral,” Quilici said. “You’ll pick up a call from something that’s got a caller name, but that’s it. It really negatively impacts legitimate business.”

Consumers are less and less likely to conduct business transactions over the phone, even with legitimate parties.

A Clutch survey of 687 U.S. adults found 80% are uncomfortable sharing private information with a caller from any phone number.

And legitimate businesses should no longer be trying to collect information like a credit card number over the phone.

“Any small business that is worth its weight should have a website where customers can make purchases with PayPal, Venmo or another verified service,” said James Gireco, marketing manager at virtual phone system company MightyCall.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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