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Today, for most types of personal and professional contact information, there are two options: listed and not listed. Many other communications points are “unlisted” in sense that they are not easily available in a directory such as email or websites. These other communications methods are more likely to be considered permissions-based devices. Those communication methods that require subscriber to provide their specific contact information to those they wish to reach them.
Privacy is what your customer says it is Legal and regulatory definitions ultimately matter less than what your customer believes or expects. On most US wireless subscriber contracts today, text appears that states that upon signing contract subscriber grants their express permission for their number to be utilized for directory purposes. This does not mean that adding mobile numbers to DA/DQ database will be easy, or even go unchallenged. In fact very few consumers are aware of fact that their mobile numbers could, technically, be listed today. Consumers perceive their mobile numbers to be private independent of their current legal status consumers believe them to be private. Any across-the-board move to change this would likely meet with not only customer opposition but possible regulatory intervention.
This discussion extends beyond introduction of wireless numbers in US DA/DQ database. It will ultimately expand to include range of possible ways in which one can be contacted. A viable model must be found and implemented that both provides for connectivity, but that also gives consumers control over who may contact them, when, where and how. This is especially true in US market, given combination of over zealous telemarketing efforts and a general disregard for personal privacy (in contrast to Scandinavian countries where more than 90% of all phone numbers, including mobile phones, are listed). There is a huge upside (revenues from WDA are estimated at $3.4 Billion annually) and a huge downside (inability to launch WDA, erosion in fixed line database, inability to launch future services, increased regulation) if market fails to achieve precise mix of communications and control.
A New Model for Privacy AND Communication Providing greater consumer privacy and better connectivity at same time are not mutually exclusive ends. This issue extends beyond wireless numbers to include a range of personal contact points. If directory providers are not providing it, regulators have a demonstrated zeal for stepping in and regulating privacy – which can ultimately be to detriment of all parties. Without a change, call volumes will decline, and we argue, out ability to communicate with one and other will be increasingly limited.
The Formula Carriers and DA/DQ providers who can integrate following five points, into their service and effectively communicating them to consumers will ultimately be successful at providing better services to their customers. 1. Consumers want control 2. Consumers will not tolerate abuse 3. Information must become individual-centric rather than location centric 4. Timing: Now is time to act 5. Education: Consumers Need to Know
For a full text of this article visit http:www.pierzgroup.com
Ms. Pierz is one of the best known industry analysts in the directory assistance/enquiry space. Kathleen holds a Master's degree in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from The University of Colorado.