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Intrusive robo-dialing: Good news, the end is near

(BPT) – Remember the days when you’d be in the middle of dinner and a telemarketer’s call would rudely interrupt your meal? Maybe this still happens to you, but gradually, this approach is headed out the door. These days, due to increased regulation, privacy and people just not answering their phones, the market research industry is in need of a new approach.

Have you ever dialed a wrong number and instead reached a recording asking you to take a survey? It was most likely a number being used by a market research company. You may have heard some of the recent news surrounding a new trend in marketing and research. As discussed in a recent CNBC article, this new method allows survey companies to use misdialed calls to phone numbers that are not currently in use by any other business. For example, if you were attempting to dial a number on the back of a credit or gift card and hit a wrong key, you could end up calling one of these numbers and ultimately be asked to take a survey.

Scott Richards, CEO of Reconnect Research, coined and trademarked the term MIDI to represent four types of calls: misdial, incomplete, disconnect and inbound. “As a subsidiary of Dial800 — a company that has connected consumers with companies for the last 25 years — we utilize hundreds of thousands of toll-free numbers,” Richards says. “Any of these types of calls help market research companies gather valuable information from people who are already on the phone.”

Companies like Reconnect Research aren’t just trying to find another way to deliver you a sales pitch — they’re gathering information that could potentially serve a greater good. “The success of this is much bigger,” says Richards. “For example, if an infectious disease breaks out, within hours we can find out if people are sick.” It also puts an end to the dreaded “robocall” that interrupts your day. Soon, these outbound calls will be extinct altogether. On June 18, 2015, the FCC adopted a proposal that will eventually lead to the demise of those unwanted calls. So if you dial a wrong number and reach a survey instead, you always have the option of hanging up. You’re the one in control and it doesn’t become a disturbance in your day. Initial case studies reveal parallel in data quality to high-end quality research – firms, as well as large participation rates. People seem to be open when given the choice to have their voice heard.

You can look at this situation as a triple win. Market researchers, callers and telecom carriers alike all benefit from MIDI (Misdials, Incompletes, Disconnects, Inbound) calls. Market researchers can quickly, accurately and cost effectively conduct phone surveys, callers can have their voices heard, and in some cases, the research firms may offer rewards to participants and telecom carriers can make — rather than lose — those millions of MIDI calls. These calls actually cost carriers millions of dollars, so the invention of being able to utilize them for the market research industry becomes a natural fit.

The next time you find yourself accidentally dialing a wrong number, pay attention to what happens on the other end of the line. You could be playing a crucial role in the end of invasive and inconvenient robo-calls. For more information, visit reconnectresearch.com.

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