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Number Masking: A Crucial Component for Privacy Centered CX

Ask me about my musical taste – I whip out my iPhone and scroll through my personalized Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’. My likes and interests? Simple. Let me introduce you to the exploration section on my Instagram.

It’s almost as if these platforms know me, better than…me. 

But, despite these deeply resonating user experiences, digital interactions come with inevitable vulnerabilities where personalization can cross boundaries and infringe on our privacy.

Over the past 18 months, there has been a spate of unfortunate incidents where private mobile phone numbers have been exploited. Take a recent incident in Serbia where a woman was harassed by a delivery driver who was in possession of her number after making a drop-off. In the UK, female delivery riders speak of the harassment and torment they receive whilst on the job. There’s a cohort of the workforce that undoubtedly feel an unease towards strangers having access to their personal number while they’re carrying out their job. 

But these situations aren’t limited to the gig economy. They’re seen across recruitment, retail, finance, and even dating.

Google and Euroconsumers research concluded that 69% of consumers say the amount of personal data collected online makes it difficult for them to protect their privacy.

In the digital economy, privacy needn’t be taxing

Placing privacy at the forefront of peer-to-peer interactions better protects consumers and workers. Deploying a privacy-centric approach helps mitigate exposure to unwarranted incidents including fraud, scams, abuse, and nuisance. By removing personally identifiable information, brands can facilitate a safer experience.

However, prioritizing privacy doesn’t mean compromising on the overall customer experience – it means enhancing it. And that’s where Number Masking comes in to play. A privacy-centred API that helps build trust and a frictionless UX.

What is Number Masking?

Number Masking enables two-way voice calls, without exposing one another’s genuine phone number. These calls can be initiated in-an app or from a browser with a simple click-to-call button.

This technique anonymizes communication between drivers and riders, buyers and sellers, and recruiters and candidates, whilst safeguarding their phone numbers. They’re connected through a third-party (proxy) phone number, held by Infobip, that bridges the call. Thereby, protecting the identity of customers and boosting trust for the business.

Privacy-centric techniques are becoming commonplace across society. Here are some examples:

  • Challenger/digital banks launching debit and credit cards with no visible account information present, helping protect customers from fraudulent activities
  • Protecting marketplace buyers from unwarranted visibility by not disclosing their address when hiring tradespeople, or selling goods until the job is confirmed and registered
  • Eliminating bias decision-making in HR by removing identifiable information such as name, location, and school

Shielding identifiable information is a major step toward improving brand trust, user sentiment and proactively fostering inclusion and belonging. 

How Number Masking works?

Number Masking is a key component in the privacy-centric experience. Two-way calls can be initiated from within an app or from a web browser. 

  • Step 1: A customer or agent places the call through your business application
  • Step 2: The call is then transferred over to Infobip Platform where the original phone number is anonymized
  • Step 3: The person being contacted receives a call from the masked number enabling a smooth and secure communication
  • Step 4: Once the call ends both parties can be assured of their information being secure

Number masking in action

Take Uber, the world’s largest ridesharing app. They had a unique problem in the Middle East. Questions were raised about privacy practices and with a security conference around the corner they needed to build trust with their riders and drivers. That’s where we came in. Understanding that drivers and customers felt vulnerable giving out their phone numbers to strangers – we introduced Number Masking.

With each ride on Uber, users can call their driver with one click. Once a call is established, both the rider’s and driver’s numbers are anonymized removing private details exposure.

Super ideal in instances where you want to know where your ride is, need to describe your precise location, or explain you’ll be just a few more moments (please don’t cancel on me!). Voice calls provide timely reassurance in moments of need. It’s also much safer for the driver to engage verbally whilst driving, eliminating the need to respond via touch-type messaging.

Uber deliver seamless privacy-centric experiences to their rider communities and driver networks around the world. By actively removing the fear of being tracked, number masking puts users in control over their identifiable data.

There is transparency which leads to trust and ultimately your users feel safe

Safe call environments applicable to all

Number Masking is in play across numerous industries and sectors. From eCommerce marketplaces to dating platforms to delivery and logistics providers.

Delivery Services

Ensure notification calls between courier and recipients take place with the application and secure the recipient’s  privacy. Ensuring that the delivery provider cannot access their contact information once the transaction is complete.

Ridesharing

Ridesharing and transportation companies can use number masking to monitor the conversations between drivers and riders, making sure the ride takes place through a masked number. Thereby, ensuring full supervision and privacy of both parties.

eCommerce and online marketplaces

Online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms can use number masking to guarantee the safety of their customers personal information while they make transactions. 

Dating

With a growing number of dating apps offering in-app calling, number masking allows those interested in each other to communicate without having to exchange their personal numbers. This helps keep both parties safe and avoid unwanted communications.

Healthcare

There has been in a rise in online healthcare, with patients opting for telemedicine services or getting help online or over the phone. Number masking helps doctors and patients stay in contact without compromising their security.

Masked numbers for enhanced customer trust

Today, Infobip supports numerous organizations to deliver the privacy-centric experiences consumers crave through Number Masking. 

Customers are more likely to engage and provide repeat custom to organizations that place privacy at the forefront. This relationship doesn’t need to be transactional – there doesn’t have to be a carrot at the end of the stick. 

Number Masking anonymization safeguards end-users from inevitable vulnerabilities that come with peer-to-peer engagement such as harassment, fraud, and off-platform transactions. It also protects businesses by eliminating detrimental reputation and high associated costs of privacy breaches. To take it a notch higher, companies need to be well-equipped, and a customer data platform helps ringfence privacy.

To establish a fulfilling privacy arch, integration with a CDP presents an optimum safeguarding opportunity. Our People CDP marries into existing tech stacks providing comprehensive insights into customer interactions.

Your customers love personalized experiences and are willing to share data. At the same time, they are weary on how it is used and who it’s handed out to. For businesses, this is a fine balancing act between a personalized experience and earning trust which ultimately leads to loyalty.

So, where channels, conversations and automation capabilities add to the experience, solutions such as number masking enhance trust and integrity.­

Ready for creating privacy-centered experiences?