Last year I appeared on a short segment on the NBC national news and the Today Show about how robocalls have disrupted the traditional role of my business telephone. In the NBC interview I said “I like to talk to customers, strangers, clients, but it actually made me hesitant to even want to pick up the phone.”
At that time the reporter said 40% of all calls nationally are robocalls. The new estimate is 50% of calls for 2019. The problem worse for me. At least 75% – clearly more than 3 out of 4 – of my incoming telephone calls of more than 10 per day are robocalls or some other unwanted telephone solicitation. I suspect my robocalls and solicitation call numbers are worse because several small business and nonprofit organizations route their calls through me. For example, calls for the closed Money Island Marina, the new crab cooperative, Baysave, OnlineNavigator and others are forwarded to my cell phone. Coverage in the Washington Post today indicates that telephone companies are working on a new solution to robocalls. I’m looking forward to that! In the meanwhile I need another approach.
Recently I changed my phone setting using the “do not disturb” option so that only recognized numbers from people already in my contact list ring through. The rest automatically go to voice mail. That seems to solve the problem but also eliminates the possibility of using the telephone for the traditional use for business outreach. It effectively makes my incoming phone a ‘private use only’ tool.
In response to this ongoing problem, I take additional steps to alert clients and business contacts to be aware of this restriction on use of the telephone. Last week my marketing adviser convinced to to remove my phone number from this web site. That feels odd after I’ve advertised my telephone availability to the business public for more than 30 years. At one point in the early 2000s I advertised that I’ve answered thousands of consumer finance calls through a service called “Online Adviser” from callers in every state in the nation.
The workaround to this restriction is simply to schedule a telephone call in advance. My web site tonynovak.com and email signature now contain a link for this purpose. I look forward to holding more scheduled calls on this new system.