Automated Call Screeners Have Arrived. This Should Be Good News.

If you’re a Google Pixel owner who keeps your software up to date, then the last few weeks you’ve started to be greeted with a new option to go along with "answer" and "decline" when you receive a call:

That’s right. The power is in your hands now. You can actually have your calls screened kinda like you’re a V.I.P. Here’s a little video of some Googlers showing how it works:

When you select “Screen Call” what’s actually happening is that a Google computer answers  your phone and presents the caller with an automated message asking them who they are and what they’re calling about. Their answers are then automatically transcribed to you in real-time thus allowing you to decide whether or not you want to speak to that person.

At the end of the transcription, you can then answer the call, send it to voicemail, or block/report that number as SPAM. (More on that last one coming soon…)

What does this mean for sales professionals? Well that all depends.

If you are a “black-hat” salesperson who buys lists or exclusively cold calls, developments like these are almost exclusively bad things. While obviously Nigerian Princes and Cruise Lotteries are screwed, it can be more legitimate businesses as well.

We’ve written before about how few people actually answer phone calls that they don’t know the number. If you don’t have a license to be calling that person i.e. they actually don’t know who you are, then this only makes it less and less likely that you’ll get people answering.

However, I will contend that “white-hat” salespeople are going to end up being super ecstatic with new innovations like automated call screening. When leads are expecting your call, then getting screened is such a better option than getting declined. You’ll then have the ability to remind them who you are and I believe get the leads to answer at a significantly higher rate.

A few things that you should keep an eye on as we get to see more than simply the tip of this iceberg:

1) How big? How fast? Right now, Pixel is the only device that’s enabling this at a large scale like this. When it hits the other Android devices and ultimately iPhone is when you’ll start to see the large-scale implications of this new feature.

2) Which bucket does “screen call” steal from? As I’ve started to use the feature, I find that I’m using it almost exclusively for calls that I otherwise would not have answered. So I have a similar number of acceptances and fewer declines. If this trend holds true, that’s good for salespeople. If more acceptances are getting turned into screens, that’s a less than ideal situation.

3) What comes next? As the government continues to drag its feet on SPAM callers, it’s going to be the technology companies who work on the answer to the problem. My hunch is that we’re only beginning the process of end-user empowerment.

Have you gotten screened yet? If not, remember this day as the era is coming to an end.

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