Apple is Building an iPhone Feature That Could Destroy the Cold Calling Industry, and Nobody Even Noticed

Buried 5,953 words into the iOS 13 release notes is a new feature that may have a profound impact on salespeople relying on phone calls: the new iOS (coming this fall) will automatically silence any calls coming from an unknown number, and send them directly to voicemail.

Here’s the exact feature as described in the release notes:

Silence unknown callers
A new setting protects users from unknown and spam callers. When the setting is turned on, iOS uses Siri intelligence to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messages. All other calls are automatically sent to voicemail.

So What?

Well, if you’re a consumer, you might like this.

Personally, I try to keep unscheduled calls to a minimum.

This is because I’m part of a growing group of people who appreciate a short text message in place of (or preceding) a phone call.  My reasons for this are numerous, and not the topic of this post — so as a consumer, I can see the benefit to this feature.

However, as someone who relies on a small army of people calling and engaging folks over the phone — still, an incredibly useful channel — this could have a profound impact.

While it appears to me that the new “silence unknown callers” option is a toggle you can set based on your preference, I imagine many people will enable it once they know it is available.

Would you?

What About Cold Calling?

For those of us who make a living employing the phone as a key component of our marketing and sales strategy, the fact that iOS 13 will “use Siri intelligence to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messagesmeans that any number that can’t be found in one of those places will be routed to voicemail.

This means our outbound calls won’t make a noise or buzz the recipient’s phone.

Even if you’re using something like Local Presence, you’re out of luck.

While the release notes are not entirely clear on the exact mechanics, it sounds to me that our outbound calls won’t pop up on the recipient’s screen, so they won’t even know that we’re calling.

Now What?

I think it’s still too early to decide how to respond to this, but what is clear is that as marketers and salespeople, we need to adapt to a world where channel preferences continue to evolve.

Where channels change.  Quickly.

And where new channels emerge seemingly overnight.

Which means that we need new tools, technology, and training to help us reach the people that need to hear our message, across multiple channels so we are not held hostage by Larry and Sergei, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, or any other billionaire dictator.

(OK, that was mean: I have total respect for these guys and what they’ve done!)

But the point is marketers and salespeople: We need to embrace new skills, ways of thinking, and technologies to help us reach across all channels, or we risk obsolescence.

Are you ready?


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