This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Call masking, also known as number masking, is a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) feature used by businesses to hide the contact information of all individuals involved in a call. Deploying a call masking solution protects both parties’ privacy, identity, and personal information, whether through voice call or text message. Keep reading to learn more about call masking’s meaning and how it improves your business communication.
How Call Masking Works
Call masking works by providing the caller and the recipient a temporary number, called masked phone numbers or proxy phone numbers. It does this using the following process:
- When an agent or customer initiates a call, the call is placed to a cloud-based application programming interface (API) proxy service.
- In this stage, the original phone number is replaced by automatically generating a proxy number.
- The call is routed from the API-based platform. From there, the call gets forwarded to the receiver.
- The recipient receives a call from a masked phone number. The call will now take place without revealing any contact information.
- Once the call ends, the proxy number returns to the pool for reassignment.
Providers offering a call masking feature assign a temporary number for a specific period. Once the time is over, the numbers are recycled and reassigned to other parties within the platform. The same feature also applies to short messaging services (SMS).
Business Benefits of Call Masking
There are plenty of ways that small to mid-sized businesses benefit from call masking when making outbound calls. Here are some of the benefits of masking your phone number:
Increases Call Responsiveness
Customers who deeply care about their privacy typically abandon incoming calls with a suspicious caller ID or unfamiliar prefixes. Call masking allows you to create a local caller ID with a recognizable area code. The customer or prospect sees an incoming call with a local number, which puts them more at ease, and increases the likelihood they will answer.
Protects the User’s Privacy
As cases of data breaches increase over the years, businesses should take critical steps to protect their private information as well as their customers. Call masking enables both parties to freely interact without exposing sensitive contact information. It also offers the flexibility to make calls from different devices without leaving traces of your contact information.
Establishes Customer Loyalty to Improve Sales & Revenue
Customers are more comfortable transacting with a business if their number is safe and secure. Call masking is an effective retention strategy, as it helps companies build trust and confidence with customers. This is important for increasing brand loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases.
Saves Communication Costs
Call masking eliminates the need to set up multiple contact centers or purchase local numbers for all your business locations. Masking your phone number makes it easy to expand geographically at a lower cost and meet the communication requirements of your enterprise branches.
Centralizes Business Communication
Masking your phone number improves your overall business communications. It ensures all calls are carried out on one platform and routes auto-response voice messages within the preferred time frames.
Analyzes Agent-customer Conversations
Call masking enables you to track calls and messages, making it easier to record, track, and analyze conversations between agents and customers. It also allows contact centers to evaluate the quality of interactions, gain customer insights, and identify areas for improvement in agent performance.
Types of Businesses That Utilize Call Masking
Call masking is a technique commonly used in short-term transactions between customers and vendors. Despite the simplicity of this feature, it has deeper implications for service-oriented businesses. Here are the different use cases of call masking across various industries:
Businesses With a Global Presence
Global teams use call masking when making calls to customers in different countries. Instead of setting up multiple contact centers, call masking will give you a local caller ID your business owns for a specific country. With a local phone number, customers are more likely to answer your calls.
With a call masking feature in place, all communications between the agents and clients are monitored and recorded. This allows call centers to evaluate both incoming and outgoing calls and extract insights to enhance the customer experience. It also helps monitor agent performance and call center metrics, such as call abandonment rate and cost per contact.
Call masking centralizes all communications between customers and vendors in one application. Masking phone numbers secures the recipient’s privacy to prevent service providers from accessing their contact information after a completed transaction. Also, it reduces the chances of wrong delivery updates and helps businesses monitor the delivery status.
Transportation & Ride-sharing
Transportation companies and ride-sharing services use call masking to monitor conversations between drivers and riders. All interactions regarding the ride take place through the masked number, ensuring full supervision and privacy of both parties.
Collecting payments owed by individuals and businesses isn’t easy, especially if they recognize your number on the caller ID. If debtors keep dodging your phone calls, using a masked number increases your chances of reaching them.
While healthcare professionals always need to be available to patients, they have to be cautious in revealing their contact information. Call masking helps physicians and patients stay in contact without compromising their security.
Ecommerce platforms use call masking to guarantee their users that their personal information is safe when making online transactions. Call masking equips both vendors and customers with a temporary phone number during the entire transaction period. It also allows ecommerce platforms to verify all service-related updates and monitor service status.
Providers With Call Masking Features
Most business phone solutions offer a wide range of features to improve customer interactions. However, not all of them include call masking on its list of call center tools. To find which providers offer call masking functionality, we listed the top three platforms with call masking features.
Nextiva is a cloud phone service that allows you to adjust your phone number for outbound calls. There are two ways to mask outgoing calls with Nextiva’s Voice Portal. The first one is for individual users, which changes their primary number to any number assigned to their location. The second one is called location-wide call masking, which adjusts your location outgoing number and location caller ID fields. This feature affects users with no assigned phone number.
CloudTalk is a feature-packed platform that offers advanced call center phone system features, such as intelligent call routing, call flow designer, and automated call distribution (ACD). It also comes with a call masking feature that ensures your business phone number stays hidden. CloudTalk enables agents to use the desired CloudTalk number or a virtual caller ID that matches a specific country code.
Freshdesk Contact Center is a cloud-based business phone system known for its advanced call routing tools and affordably priced plans starting at $18 per user, per month. Its powerful call center capabilities include call masking, enabling your business to make calls using a disguised personal number. This feature lets your business establish a local presence and a more personalized helpline number.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is call masking legal?
Yes. Call masking is a fully legitimate customer service technique businesses and phone systems use to place outbound calls or messages. According to the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, call masking is considered illegal if it is done with the intent to defraud or deceive.
Who uses call masking?
Any business can use call masking to protect their contact information when exchanging calls or messages. This is common for companies with global or remote teams wanting to display a familiar business number instead of an unknown one. Call masking is also useful for service-oriented businesses involved in short-term transactions between vendors and customers, such as ride-sharing apps, delivery services, and online marketplaces.
What is the difference between a masked number & a virtual number?
A virtual phone is any permanent number used to establish a local presence or reduce costs on making long-distance calls. Meanwhile, masked numbers are short-lived numbers in disguise to protect the contact information of both parties engaging in a conversation.
A virtual phone number is an effective solution to establish a professional presence without tying yourself to a specific device or location. To learn more about it, read our article about what a virtual phone number means and how it works for your business communication needs.
Call masking is a useful VoIP feature for businesses wanting to keep their contact information private when transacting with customers, prospects, or third-party vendors. Whether you need to save communication costs, streamline contact center operations, or improve sales performance, call masking offers an all-in-one solution to make these things happen.