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26% of People Say They Can’t Immediately Distinguish Robocalls From Real Calls, Highlighting Businesses’ Struggle to Earn Customer Trust Over the Phone

July 17, 2019

by Riley Panko

Marketing Communications Manager

Robocalls can impede phone-based communication between genuine businesses and their customers. Nearly 80% of people say they are not comfortable sharing private information in a phone call. Businesses should prioritize building an authentic, friendly connection with customers on the phone and allow them to share private information on other channels to build trust.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 17, 2019 – More than 1 in 4 people (26%) say they can’t distinguish between a robocall and a real human from the beginning of a call, according to a new survey report from Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews platform.
This finding indicates the advancements of robocallers’ technologies and tactics, which can impact legitimate businesses’ phone-based customer communication.Graph - How Comfortable are People With Sharing Private Information Over the Phone? 

Clutch surveyed 687 people who receive robocalls to learn their opinions on robocalls and how they prefer to be communicated with by businesses. Experts highlight how robocalls erode people’s trust in all phone calls, not just fraudulent ones.

“What’s unfortunately happened is that this robocall epidemic is putting the phone call into a death spiral,” said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. “You’ll pick up your call from a friend. You might pick up a call from something that’s got a caller name, but that’s it … It really negatively impacts legitimate business.”

Businesses should think creatively to ensure customers actually pick up and engage with their calls. For example, businesses can send a text ahead of calling a customer.

“[Texts] can be sent right before a call, so that your customers know your call is coming and do not ignore it,” said Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer at “Many people simply won’t answer a number they do not know due to receiving so many robocalls.”

The text can even include a security code unique to each customer, so the customer can be confident the call comes from a legitimate source.

Most People Are Uncomfortable Sharing Private Information on the Phone, Impeding Customer Communication

Clutch’s survey found that nearly 80% of people are uncomfortable sharing private information such as a credit card number or Social Security number to any phone number, not just a robocall.

One expert noted that businesses should rarely be collecting information like a credit card number over the phone.

“Any small business that is worth its weight should have a website where customers can make purchases with Paypal, Venmo, or another verified service,” said James Gireco, the content marketing manager at MightyCall.

Businesses can also move their entire communication to other channels to put nervous customers at ease.

“Allow customers to set up face to face appointments in lieu of a phone call,” Lavelle said. “This will make a lot of people feel much safer and confident in your legitimacy.”

The largest percentage of customers say they prefer to be contacted by email (40%), followed by phone calls (24%).

Clutch’s survey included 687 U.S. respondents who receive robocalls.

Read the full report:

For questions about the survey, a comment on the findings, or an introduction to the industry experts included in the report, contact Riley Panko at 

About Clutch

A B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC, Clutch connects small and medium businesses with the best-fit agencies, software, or consultants they need to tackle business challenges together and with confidence. Clutch's methodology compares business service providers and software in a specific market based on verified client reviews, services offered, work quality, and market presence.


Riley Panko
(202) 899-2779