A few weeks ago on the Drivers of Toll-Free Innovation panel at the 2017 Toll-Free User Summit, Somos President & CEO Gina Perini welcomed several leaders in the industry to discuss what they saw as the biggest areas for growth for Toll-Free Numbers. Chosen for their innovation and insight into the industry, the panel touched on several hot topics for the Toll-Free industry, including advanced uses and analytics in marketing and customer care, and an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which proposes the auctioning of high-value Toll-Free Numbers that was approved just minutes before the panel began.
Watch the full session below:
Models of Innovation
Toll-Free Numbers deliver a unique value: They provide the convenience of personalized access to the expertise and support of a company's brand, wherever the customer is located, and whether they want to call, or text. The number signifies that the brand is here for you, to help you. As a driver of growth and innovation, Toll-Free Numbers are multimodal in that they are able to be used across multiple applications. Through online and offline channels and via voice or messaging, Toll-Free Numbers are able to capture critical customer conversations and provide valuable analytics about when marketing campaigns are truly making impressions on customers.
- Twilio’s customers treat Toll-Free Numbers as one of many channels, which specializes in delivering the literal “voice of the customer,” a key component in many major brands as they consider customer service and product improvements.
- ATL Communications thinks of numbering as DNA — each one is perfectly unique, making them very valuable to businesses in their tracking capabilities.
- Google’s Voice and Messaging team uses Toll-Free Numbers as an asset to facilitate click-to-call and click-to-text advertisements, reducing friction for the end user by providing one number to call or text.
- CSF Corporation has enhanced their existing SaaS platform to provide integrated end-to-end provisioning, managing, and text enabling of Toll-Free Number’s with innovative multimodal applications.
- Invoca is using unique Toll-Free Numbers for each individual user that is targeted by their mobile and online ads. They see strength in consultative sales — high-ticket purchases and complex product sales that are best conducted over the phone.
- Salesforce is enabling businesses through Toll-Free Numbers to connect and deliver personalized messaging to its customers through its marketing, sales, service, commerce and many other applications.
Through these and many other innovations, Toll-Free Numbers bring unique abilities to generate responses, track campaign success, and elicit deep customer insights.
Auctioning Toll-Free Numbers
As the panel discussed, on Sept. 26, the FCC voted 4 to 1 to approve of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could allow the FCC to auction certain Toll-Free Numbers, including the 17,000 833 NPA numbers that were set aside during the code opening process, and eliminate some prohibitions on brokering, warehousing, and hoarding.
These proposed rule changes would also create a secondary market for Toll-Free Numbers, which could change how Toll-Free Numbers are acquired and provisioned as an asset, and how Toll-Free Numbers business models operate.
For some panelists, being able to buy, sell, and broker numbers would be an exciting proposition. What still needs to be determined is the exact value of what a business would gain in an auction, how numbers would be transacted, and if there is a license or some other holding involved.
Toll-Free Numbers are treated as a limited resource — and this ruling could generate new types of businesses based on how this auction system will work. The rule-making process has begun for these issues — if you would like to make your voice heard, please click here to file comments or reply to comments. Comments and replies may be filed electronically on the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) portion of the FCC website. To file comments or reply to comments, please click here. On the Submit a Filing page, in the corresponding field for “Proceedings” please enter “17-192" and click on “Toll-Free Assignment Modernization” and the repeat the process and fill in “95-155" and click on “Toll-Free Service Access Codes.” Then complete the rest of the required information and additional optional information you wish to add, attach your comments and then select the “Continue to review screen” button. On the Review and Confirmation page, click on the “Submit” button.
Somos would like to thank the panelists, and the audience members, for their thoughtful contributions to our discussion. Stay tuned for the full recording of this engaging session!