I want you to imagine your perfect Sunday morning. Maybe this includes waking up and making a big brunch or getting in a quick nine holes before football starts. Perhaps you go to church or maybe you just sleep in. What’s the Lionel Richie lyric? I’m easy like Sunday morning. Yes, you can feel the vibes as you read this.
BUT THEN… your phone rings. You ignore it. It starts beeping as texts flood in. Not now, you’re putting for birdie. What could be so important on a Sunday at 10 am?
Ah yes. Your overserved passenger from last night (we failed to mention your work as a rideshare driver) has just awoken from their slumber and realized he or she left a valuable item in your car. Phone, wallet, keys, purse, coat…something that held no importance at 2 am but now they absolutely cannot live without. In fact, it is now your divine destiny to return this item expediently to its owner who conveniently lives 45 minutes across town. So much for that lazy Sunday.
This is the case for Number Masking.
Why PII must be protected
There are more subtle reasons as well of course. Phone numbers are important pieces of personally identifiable information (PII). Most of us have one phone number and many of us keep it for a lifetime. A person that orders a ride home should not be required to reveal their phone number to a driver, and as mentioned in the previous example, the reverse is certainly applicable. With more and more on-demand services and gig economy roles switching to mobile (transport, delivery, e-commerce, vacation rentals) it makes sense to keep these phone numbers private for both parties.
Additionally, Number Masking can cut back on harassment in the case that either a driver or a rider in rideshare for example, becomes an unwanted suitor. Curiously, it can also be used to mitigate fraud. In the past, we’ve seen examples of rideshare drivers trying to cut out the middleman (their employer) by negotiating fares directly with a rider for a cash transaction. The driver would cancel the ride, take the rider to the destination, and pocket the money. With number masking, this is no longer feasible.
How are companies leveraging number masking in the real world?
We caught up with Mitto Product Lead, Sanjin Vlahovic, recently to ask about why number masking is a more important product now than ever.
Q: Sanjin, what’s an innovative use case for Number Masking that you’ve recently found interesting?
SV: One story I caught earlier in the pandemic involved Nike. With stay-at-home orders, Nike was forced to close lots of their brick-and-mortar stores, but they wanted to keep as many employees as possible working from home. Many of their associates that would typically help you pick out shoes or work the cash register were reassigned to become remote customer service reps to assist people ordering from Nike.com. Now, providing all of these employees with new work phones would have been cost-prohibitive, but by simply using Number Masking, these employees logged in with their current hardware and were able to use virtual numbers or masked numbers to protect their PII. In doing so, Nike was able to prevent some layoffs.
Q: Great example of Number Masking supporting digital transformation in retail. What other industries could benefit from number masking?
SV: The obvious are those that fall into on-demand services – so rideshare, delivery apps, even vacation rental platforms. There is also a really valuable use case for online marketplaces where number masking not only protects the privacy of both the buyers and sellers but also safeguards the platform from the risks (revenue loss, liability) of transactions taking place offline. Essentially, any business that wants to protect the privacy of their employees and their customers could do well to look into Number Masking.
Q: In a nutshell, what differentiates Mitto’s offering from others in the market?
SV: Basically with Mitto one number gives you a multichannel experience. Lots of companies offer number masking for voice, but Mitto supports number masking for SMS as well — on the same number. You could call the number or simply text. We have seen a recent preference shift from voice calls to SMS. With Mitto, you are guaranteed to have that seamless customer experience.
Furthermore, Mitto allows customers to use the same masked phone number for multiple sessions at the same time. We call these concurrent sessions. Leveraging this feature saves customers money and streamlines the entire process.
Contact Mitto today to learn how we can be your one stop shop for Number Masking, and more.