Local Presence technology is a telephony system that allows callers to emulate or adopt the local area code of the customer they are trying to contact. Because the number appears to be local to the target lead, this removes one barrier of hesitation in answering the call. Telemarketers can benefit from this due to being able to appear as a local business and get the customer’s confidence right away.
To do this, businesses purchase a large rotating list of local numbers from specific cities or states which they can program their outgoing calls to use when calling those locations. The re-routing is done automatically upon dialing the number.
The Upsides and Downsides of Going Local
In a 2014 online survey, the website Software Advice discovered from a survey of 2,310 respondents residing in the US that local numbers are nearly four times more likely to be answered. In comparison, out-of-state and toll-free numbers are 80% more unlikely to be answered.
For telemarketers, the increase in likelihood is a very attractive statistic: it means four times the possibility of converting prospective leads to actual buyers. Sales scripts can be presented to more people and—if interesting enough—can overcome any other hesitations.
However, going local is not without its problems and complications. The same Software Advice survey reveals that 44% of those who answer will end the call prematurely once they discover it used local presence, with 41% saying that they’d be less likely to do business with the caller.
The nature of a call using local presence is also disputable. According to the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, all calls—including VoIP—are not allowed to modify their caller ID information with the intention to cause harm or commit fraud. Because local presence changes the actual number appearing in the customer’s caller ID, it violates the basic premise of the law. However, because local presence still adheres to FCC standards like the agents introducing themselves and their companies, its inclusion in this law can be contested on grounds of being harmless.