Apple Call-Silencing Feature Underscores Importance of First-Touch Channel
June 30, 2021 – Apple launched a “Silence Unknown Callers” feature in its September, 2019 launch of iOS 13, but the April 26, 2021 release of iOS 14.5 featured prompts to set it up when viewing the “recent” call list as seen in the graphic above. This development means that many consumers are not going to hear important calls from their banks or requested responses from franchise sales professionals — or even calls from a friend or family member — unless they are already in “Contacts.” Notice that “unknown” and “unwanted” are used interchangeably in the prompt and in “Settings.”
What to do about it?
Unwanted calls are such a nuisance that there is no doubt that Apple and Google will offer and improve features like these, and consumers will adopt them.
Best Practice: To ensure that your message gets through, always email and/or text before calling to initiate and schedule contact. Once the prospect puts you into “Contacts” or places an outbound call to you, your calls will ring through.
Example wording to include in your initial contact email: “The caller ID will not indicate [name of franchise], so we suggest adding our number [your number in format XXX-XXX-XXXX] to your phone contacts”.
Send an email or text to make initial contact, and suggest that the prospect rings you back.
Further, prospects are likely to want to set up a more convenient time, or acquire some more general knowledge about your franchise before calling you or taking your call. In our June 2021 survey of franchise prospects, over 49% are either unlikely or very unlikely to accept a phone call from a franchise with which they have not first exchanged an email or text. This figure is down from 57% in February 2020, but remains almost half of all prospects. Another 26.5% are “unsure”, up from 13% in February 2020.
Best Practice: For leads that do not respond to an initial email, following up with a personalized text after noon (9 am on the West Coast) is a good practice.
On a positive note, over 24% still said they are “likely or very likely to accept a phone call from a franchise before receiving an email or text with more information on the opportunity.” The challenge is that you can’t identify these prospects in advance, so it is best to reach out via text or email first.
The “mystery shopping” survey of franchise inquirers is conducted monthly on the Franchise Ventures lead generation platform.
FranchiseVentures is the leading demand– and lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include Franchise.com, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, SmallBusinessStartup.com and BusinessBroker.net, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.
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Published on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021.