Number Masking: What, Where and How

Number masking benefits and use cases

Privacy can no longer be taken for granted. From a call to a pizza delivery company to tip-off helplines, citizens are growing more wary about their personal information with every passing day, regardless of the intent of those on the receiving end. They want security, and they want it now. Businesses, too, must understand a customer’s desire for solitude from marketing communications—leaving them frazzled with call after call isn’t a great idea. If companies want to amp up profits without disgruntling callers and the threat of disclosing trade secrets, number masking is the one-stop cloud solution.

Number masking is a service offered by most cloud telephony providers. Clients can subscribe to it singularly, or buy it as part of a larger bundle. The latter, if diverse in its scope, helps strengthen the level of confidentiality offered by a company.

In a nutshell, number masking employs unique virtual phone numbers, instead of your actual registered phone number, for discreet communications between a business and a consumer. Separate virtual phone numbers are allotted to both the company agent making the call and the customer on the receiving end. When a customer initiates a voice call using a business’ application, they are assigned a temporary virtual number by the business’ server. The call request is then patched to the agent on duty.

This process is automated, meaning once your cloud telephony dashboard is set up, no human intervention is required to ensure the masking happens.  Let’s take a look how number masking  plays a significant role for different scenarios :

For communications on a short-term basis:

Other than trusted friends, family, colleagues and service personnel, consumers now prefer keeping phone numbers close to their chests. For tasks that involve conversations for limited periods, like getting a delivery or talking to vendors, drivers, technicians or any other service personnel, people don’t want to reveal their personal information, lest a stranger harangue them.

This is especially true for younger populations migrating alone to large cities for study and work. Once transactions and similar deals are done and dusted, number masking ensures things can stay strictly professional without (even accidental) safety risks like going off business platforms and into the personal.

To prevent misuse of your data:

When you punch in your card details, the asterisks masking them help prevent fraud. Similarly, number masking ensures that your personal contact information—if it falls into the wrong hands—can not be exploited under your name. As technology advances, so does plenty of non-ethical hacking and strategic networks of fraud. The fewer places your phone number is visible, the fewer avenues there are for scammers, phishers and malware attackers to log into personal accounts that are connected to it.

This is also a boon when you are buying or selling products on platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Etsy, and Redbubble, as well as smaller independent brands. If your number is required during a transaction, and if it is masked, you can complete the entire process safely on the requisite platform without having to switch to another medium. If your business page is using web advertising tools, it also helps the company monetise this time the customer spent on their platform.

As a powerful combination with call recordings:

Mitigating user problems gets easier when you have more information to review and work with. Cloud telephony providers offer a double-layered cocktail of customer satisfaction by not just masking numbers, but also recording the calls they are used on. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a well-balanced give and take to ease a customer’s mind—a corporation can’t ascertain their identity, but can still listen to, understand and resolve any discrepancies and buyer disputes.

Unless a caller reveals their private details during the call, it can be said with some certainty that the problem-solving process remains largely objective. In case there are any grey areas, companies can pore over them in greater detail by noting aspects like call duration, timings, and abandonment.

To give customers the comfort of a local conversation:

Landline numbers, using a company headquarter’s location codes, help create an authentic feel to number masking. The idea that someone from a similar area, and possibly background, is available to address queries gives customers a sense of trust and relief.

Granting the right to privacy isn’t just a highlight enjoyed by select companies. Any industry can incorporate it via number masking for seamless customer experience. Here are a few examples of the niches that employ number masking via cloud telephony services. In case your business fits into any of these sectors, know that it is most well-suited for this feature:

  • Shared transport—via mobile apps, for safe contact between the driver and the passenger (e.g. Uber Technologies, Ola Cabs, Grab, Shuttl, Lyft)
  • Dating applications—where a person’s identity cannot be positively confirmed until in-person interactions. A hidden number keeps your personal information secure against potential incidents of catfishing (e.g. Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, OkCupid, Happn, The League)
  • Food and other delivery companies—where address confirmation and any other queries are often clarified over call. Since location details are inevitably given to a delivery partner, number masking helps in stopping the sharing of additional personal detail (e.g. Swiggy, Zomato, FoodPanda, Postmates, Dunzo)
  • Accommodation rental—for staycations, homestays, bed and breakfasts and similar bookings. Often the intricacies of pricing and room configurations are discussed peer-to-peer without a recognised, reputable brand acting as the middleman. In such cases, number masking may be the best path forward, especially if you cancel your booking at the last minute. (e.g. Airbnb, HomeAway, Vrbo, Booking.com, Flipkey, VacayHero, Nestaway)
  • Medicine—it goes without saying that your medical history is only for you to know. Restrictions in sharing sensitive biological data need to be in place. With the rise in phone-based medical consultations and clinical enquiries, confidentiality between a patient and a doctor must be strictly followed. To withhold the amount of private information being relayed, number masking helps potential patients call or SMS their healthcare providers without any additional anxieties.

Number masking is a modern approach that doesn’t need much persuasion. Its positive traits are easily understood and available for the layman to understand in the public domain, and its success stories are a dime a dozen. When a business steps up to shoulder some responsibility for a customer’s privacy, it’s no surprise that their ratings go up. To have a fast-growing model that adapts to current consumer and B2B demands while staying ahead of competitors, number masking is an easy cloud telephony service that can be added to your management arsenal.

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