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Survey Shows Critical Calls From Essential Businesses Being Missed

First Orion, a leading provider of communication transparency solutions, announced a new survey showing 87 percent rarely or never answer calls from unknown numbers. The unintended consequence during the COVID-19 pandemic is that essential businesses and service providers are struggling to reach customers with critical communications.

First Orion surveyed 1,000 mobile phone users in the third week of April 2020 and found that critical calls are going unanswered, and citizens are suffering as a result.

Over 75 percent of those surveyed missed an important call during the week, and just under a third of those surveyed agree that they are missing more calls more frequently now than before the COVID-19 crisis.

After missing the important calls, 85 percent tried to return the calls, but half found it difficult. Nearly 5 percent became so frustrated that they gave up and went to the physical location, which could put them at risk of contracting COVID-19. 

People are understandably stressed about a myriad of issues during "shelter-in-place" orders across the country and are making more calls for information. To deal with increasing call volume, contact centers are now relying heavily on call-back solutions, yet calls from unknown numbers still go unanswered. 

One particular issue affecting nearly half of those surveyed (44%) is that the important missed calls are returned calls from a previous voicemail they left. When they try calling back again, over a third (35%) ended up leaving yet another voicemail, leading to a never-ending cycle of missed calls for many.

Most missed critical calls fell into three categories: health, financial and work-related.

Health: In the previous week, respondents said they missed an important call from their doctor's office (36 percent), pharmacy (15 percent) and hospital (9 percent). One respondent missed a call from work confirming a COVID-19 case within his/her place of employment.

Financial: A third (33 percent) of important missed calls were finance related, including calls from banks, insurance providers, student loans and SBA processors for relief loans.

Work-Related: Nearly a quarter (23 percent) concerned work, including work meeting notifications and calls from unemployment offices.
Other interesting stats:

- Of those who experienced a negative outcome from missing a call, 26 percent missed a delivery and 18 percent said they suffered a delay in pay
- Over 40 percent said they didn't answer the call because their phone didn't identify the caller properly
- Nearly 4 percent missed over 5 critical calls during the week
- After missing the important calls, 11 percent found it very difficult or impossible to return the call
- When returning calls, about 4 percent waited over an hour on hold

First Orion's "Inform" programmable business caller ID solution enables businesses to correctly identify themselves to their customers when calling prior to answering. This ensures critical calls are answered the first time, eliminating the phone tag cycle or important calls being missed entirely.

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