The Growing Scam Epidemic: Unmasking the Real Culprit Behind Customer Discontent

In today’s digital age, scamming has become a prevalent issue, leaving innocent customers vulnerable to deception and financial loss. While scam call centres impersonate reputable organisations, the real crime lies not just in the scams themselves but in the lack of effective digital solutions offered by many companies

Consider the exorbitant costs associated with traditional call centres. To cut expenses, some organisations resort to concealing their phone numbers, making it difficult for customers to reach them. Sadly, this not only leads to an appalling customer experience but also fosters the proliferation of scam call centres. These fraudulent operations cost unsuspecting customers millions of dollars each year. It’s high time for a change, and the onus falls on these organisations to rectify the situation.

To understand why customers seek phone numbers, let’s take the example of an airline. Attempting to make nuanced changes to flight reservations online can be an exercise in futility for many airlines. This problem extends beyond airlines, as numerous companies struggle to provide adequate digital solutions, leaving customers unable to address their needs independently. Some common reasons for this predicament include excessive customization of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solutions, making it challenging to meet customers’ digital demands, or attempts to cut costs by offshoring development or reducing development efforts.

Excessive customization of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solutions, makes it difficult to meet customers' digital demands

Unable to find satisfactory solutions online, customers resort to contacting the company directly. However, in recent years, companies have deliberately made it harder to find their phone numbers to save costs.

Take the example of a Telco that receives on average 5,000 calls per day, costing approximately $10 US per call (the standard cost per call charged by call centres). This translates to a staggering annual expense of over $18 million for the Telco, eating into their profits. Understandably, companies seek ways to avoid this financial burden.

$10/call is a huge expense many companies are looking to avoid

Regrettably, the practice of hiding phone numbers or making them elusive has resulted in undesirable consequences. While some websites have emerged that specialise in helping customers find contact information, they aren’t always reliable. Scammers posing as service providers often exploit this situation, leading to substantial financial losses and shattered customer trust. It’s easy for scammers to pose at the call centre for reputable companies oftening paying for a Google ad to appear at the top of search results. For instance, a customer may change their flight details through one of these call centres, only to arrive at the airport and discover they are still booked on the original flight or may have paid a hefty sum for a non-existent upgrade. The damage to the airline or service provider’s reputation is immeasurable.

However, there is a way to avert these issues. Investing in robust digital solutions is the key. Companies that procrastinate modernising their legacy systems will eventually face repercussions. Avoiding the problem or delaying essential updates is an unsustainable strategy. Whether it’s legacy systems with no end-to-end tests or reluctance to touch the mainframe due to a lack of COBOL developers, there are viable alternatives. By investing in modernising critical business processes and improving customer experiences, companies can implement new services alongside old systems, mitigating the risk of scams targeting their customers. Running a new service alongside your old system might seem expensive but it’s negligible when you think of the $18m spent on call centres and moreover it will help to reduce the threat of scams against your customers.

If the over-customization of Commercial Off-The-Shelf software hinders a business, it may be time to explore custom software solutions. The reputational damage caused by hiding phone numbers serves as a compelling justification to invest in digital solutions that cater to customer needs effectively.

In conclusion, as scams continue to rise, the blame should not solely rest on fraudulent actors but also on organisations’ failure to provide adequate digital solutions. Embracing technological advancement, addressing legacy systems, and prioritising customer experience with a focus on ROI are crucial steps toward protecting customers and redefining the landscape of trust and security in the digital age. It’s time for companies to shift their focus from evading expenses to investing in a safer, more reliable digital future.

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