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Call capture is a telephone-based technology that captures personal data from persons who call a properly provisioned number. After the call is placed, the system notifies a client of the name, phone number and address of the person calling. The system was designed as a device for real estate agents and allows one to legally bypass do not call laws.
Real estate agents for example might display their 800 call capture phone number on a signrider (small, sometimes 12 × 30 sign that sits on top of the For Sale sign in a house owner's yard), with a call to action like "Free Recorded Information—Call 24 hours". When someone drives by, notices the sign, writes the phone number down and calls on his cell phone or land line, they are greeted by the real estate agent's personal greeting, directed to dial in the 4-digit extension for the home they are interested in. Then, they listen to a 45–60 second "audio tour" of the home.
At the end of the message, the caller can either leave a voice mail, transfer directly to the agent, request an automatic fax of specs for the home, enter another extension to listen about another home, or simply hang up.
Regardless of what they do, the agent who owns that 800 call capture phone number will be notified within 30 seconds of the caller's phone number. If the caller is calling from a home-based phone, then the real estate agent will also receive a notification with the caller's phone number, name and address.
Levels of service
Levels or grades of call capture exist. If you have Caller ID, then you have the lowest grade of call capture. However, calls from unpublished numbers are blocked, or, you can't view them, on Caller ID.
The best call capture technology uses Automatically Number Identification (ANI). ANI serves a function similar to Caller ID, but utilizes a different underlying technology, and is usually impossible to block by prefixing a call with *67.
ANI was originally developed by telecommunications companies for billing purposes and is one of the core technologies behind 911 emergency services. It's also available for commercial purposes for customers who may benefit from knowing who is calling them. The Federal Communications Commission allows anyone who is paying for a phone call (800 numbers are free to the caller, not the owner of the 800 number) to know who is calling them.
A personal computer can be used for detecting Caller ID. In addition, sales leads and their contact information can be sent to an email inbox by companies. For instance, a real estate agent could print out his/her list of leads from the previous day every morning and start to call them back.
As far as alternative lead generation systems, call capture has several advantages.
- Leads are transmitted directly to the client without a middle man. This should reduce costs.
- Call capture is a potent substitute for cold calling, especially in light of the new "Do Not Call" laws. Anyone who calls a call capture 800 line falls under the "90 day business inquiry" rule of the Do Not Call laws. This means that the end user can call anyone who has called their call capture 800 number in the past 90 days.