Truecaller, the number identification and blocking application for mobile phones from Sweden, in India, has been on a partnership spree for the past couple of months. In March the company publicly stated that partnerships was the way it was surviving in the market and it also launched an all inclusive communication application that also has a payment system called Truepay.
What does Truecaller have to offer?
Apart from the plethora of services that Truecaller provides as a part of its latest portfolio, why does one use Truecaller in India? Indian mobile handset users have always complained about random calls from irrelevant companies for offers/ subscriptions and information that they do not need, a.k.a. spam calls. People started acceding to Truecaller because it could identify spam calls on the first ring and the user could just ignore or block the number.
‘No-spam’ campaign a gimmick?
Among many of its tie-ups and partnerships, Truecaller, last month partnered with local service and need fulfillment digital platform, Sulekha, for reinforcing the ‘Zero Spam Assurance’ campaign with its Truecaller priority access feature. The campaign encourages customer privacy and uncouples the user request after a service call/ need has been fulfilled.
But is Truecaller really putting its foot down against spam? If it is, then how will vendors and companies push their product to the customers? There must be some way to go around the blockade and be able to use the customer data that is purchased by brands at high costs? We think the answer is partnership with Truecaller.
Partners may have an ulterior motive
The number identification company has announced a strategic partnership with online fashion marketplace, Voonik today. The ecommerce brand has integrated with the caller ID app’s TrueSDK and Truecaller Priority services that will allow customers to use Truecaller credentials for a one time sign-up.
The integration with True caller Priority will let customers with the Truecaller app installed on their mobile phones easily identify IVR or delivery verification calls when shopping on Voonik. Any calls received by users who have placed an order on Voonik, will be clearly marked as ‘Voonik’s Order Team’ or ‘Voonik’s Delivery Team’, and will be color-coded in purple that symbolizes the color of the brand.
Online classified advertising platform, Quikr, also integrated with Truecaller Priority, which it claims will enable the company to ‘enhance’ its customer service experience and increase call pickup rates across all verticals. Quikr believes that with Truecaller Priority, consumers will be able to identify a ‘priority call’ because of the integrated branding of Quikr and assure consumers that the call is from a reliable source and not spam. The online classifieds has also integrated with Truecaller’s phone number based on-boarding solution, TrueSDK, that enables user on-boarding and verification.
On demand home-service company, Housejoy; online marketplace, Snapdeal, and mobile wallet company, MobiKwik have also inked similar partnerships with Truecaller for customer on-boarding and reduction in the rate of no-response on delivery and service calls. With Truecaller Priority service, companies enter the ‘whitelist’ realm and make sure that their calls are not marked as spam. Whereas, TrueSDK enables third party apps to easily onboard users with their Truecaller profile and their Truecaller verified phone number.
Telecommunications company Airtel has also drawn an interesting partnership with Truecaller to bring the Truecaller Called ID function to the operator’s feature phones, even those without a data connection. To top that, now android and iOS phones in India come with the Truecaller native application pre-loaded in the box.
With more partnerships comes more money
Last October a media report highlighted that the app had started monetizing via mobile advertising and had started working with brands, using features like Call Intent, Call Profile and Roadblock features. Funny thing is that when a call would come from a certain telecommunications company, the app would show that it’s a spam call, and the telecommunications’ advertisement would be right below the message. While users were still figuring out what was new and different, brands were able to collect 100 million impressions a day.
What is spam and what is not
So let’s break this down: At present, the whole no-spam campaign seems righteous. From the companies’ point of view it’s a win-win situation as they can call customers without any blockades and will not be marked as spam. This also means that calls from Voonik, Snapdeal, Quikr, MobiKwik and other brands that partner with Truecaller, may in the future start calling random customers for products and offers will not be marked as spam calls.
In a country where customer data purchase is prevalent, finding someone’s name and number through Truecaller is not going to be difficult. The same TrueSDK that seems so secure at the moment for customers to fill in their data and companies to on-board customers might become the source from where cold calling might be initiated.
Who, at the end of the day will decide the identity of spam calls, if not Truecaller?