22 April 2022
Validating phone numbers has become commonplace in all major companies and online services that offer some digital services.
In the past, we were more accustomed to email validation, phone number validation is a relatively new phenomenon. However, it has many advantages.
Validating phone numbers is not only important from a security perspective, but also from a customer experience perspective. Most people want to engage with businesses that respect their privacy and want to protect their identity.
However, there is another side of the coin as well. By having access to the phone numbers of all users, businesses can also resort to spamming and being too aggressive with their promotional messages.
What is a valid phone number?
There are many ways of looking at what a valid phone number means. It can mean a number that is presently in use by someone, or a number that is approved by the telecom authorities of some country.
Here again, there is a problem with formats. Different countries offer phone numbers in different formats. If your customer base is spread across the world, formats become a problem.
Data points for validating phone number
You need a number of data points to validate phone numbers. While you may not need all of them, you need at least a few to effectively validate a phone number.
Valid – The first data point shows the validity of a phone number. It tells whether a phone number exists or not. It also includes numbers that may have been used in the past but are no longer active. Once you know whether a phone number is valid or not, you can move to the next steps.
Format – The format of a phone number reveals a lot about the number. It tells whether a number is domestic or international. You can also gauge the origin of the phone number from the format.
Line type – Telephone lines can be satellite, toll-free, VoIP, landline, or mobile. The line type data point enables you to understand what type of line the number is from.
Region – The region data point refers to the region within the country from which a number originates.
Carrier – Carrier means the person under whose name the number is issued. Do note that this data point only returns the name of the original carrier, and might not be relevant in the present.
Why phone number validation is so important today
News of data breaches is nothing new. The most recent major breach happened on Facebook where more than 50 million people had their data compromised.
In this context, ensuring user security is paramount for all companies.
As a consequence of repeated instances of data breaches, companies and governments are trying to tighten security measures.
Phone number validation is one of the many things that they are doing to keep users safe.
Phone number validation has a rather roundabout effect on improving security.
By validating the phone numbers of all users, you are making sure that you are not letting in any number from a prohibited region or area.
Secondly, it also builds confidence in users that their data is in safe hands. If you go the extra step to improve security, the long-term performance of your company will improve.
Apart from security issues, there are various advantages for companies that validate phone numbers.
First, they eliminate all the spam phone numbers that people use to avoid promotional messages. By doing this, they can tailor the marketing campaign more accurately. With SMS marketing being on the rise once more, validating phone numbers has become all the more important.
With so many benefits, there are no reasons for businesses to skip phone number validation. On the contrary, they should adopt the practice at the earliest. The longer you hold back, the more you miss out on.
Mandatory phone number validation
Phone number validation is not a choice for every business or company. Depending on the nature of the service a business offers, phone number validation can be optional or mandatory.
For example, if you sell digital resources from your own website, phone number validation may not be a necessity for you. You would not be bound by the laws to validate phone numbers, and neither would it pose any significant hindrance to your operations.
On the other hand, not every business can afford the luxury of keeping phone number validation optional. Let’s take the example of financial companies or payment gateways. These businesses are bound by the laws to validate phone numbers. KYC (know your customer) rules across jurisdictions make it compulsory for financial institutions to verify a user’s phone number. It is usually done through OTP validation.
While there are enough legal reasons for such companies to validate phone numbers, there are reasons beyond legal requirements to validate phone numbers. For example, it is a safety concern and financial companies or agencies can be at risk if they are not conducting thorough background checks. Without phone number validation, you cannot even begin a background check.
Marketing benefits of phone number validation
From a marketing perspective, there are many incentives to validate phone numbers. One of the best things they get is a database of user information. From this database, you can do market research to make your marketing campaign more efficient.
On the other hand, content marketing can become a great avenue to engage the audience, and validating every user’s phone number means you know exactly where your content is going. Depending on that, you can do region-specific content marketing and a lot more.
Another benefit of having validated mobile numbers is in building personal relationships with customers.
For example, insurance companies often want to establish long-term relationships with clients that go beyond transactions. It is not just a business strategy, but also how people feel comfortable while dealing with things like insurance.
From a customer satisfaction perspective, giving the phone number willingly also entails that you do have some degree of interest in the business of what they offer.
If businesses also make the most of it by delivering personalized suggestions and content, the decision-making process becomes much simpler for the customers. In the end, it is an advantage for both the buyer and the seller.
As it must be clear by now, there is no single way of looking at phone number validation. There are a range of reasons and motivations, and not every company will have the need for all of them. Nonetheless, it remains very important for businesses to validate the phone numbers of their customers. The advantages outweigh the work that goes into setting up the process.
How to validate phone numbers
There are many approaches to validating phone numbers. No matter which approach you choose, the fundamentals remain the same.
Not every business can hire a full-time web developer for whom creating an application or API to validate phone numbers will not be a big deal. However, hiring a full-time employee comes with a lot of costs and associated issues. For these reasons, many people are switching to freelance developers.
Working with a freelance developer can be very rewarding if you know how to manage them well. The cost would be much less than hiring an in-house developer, and the results will be great if you find the correct freelance developer.
Alternatively, you can also outsource your work to a web development agency. By doing so, you are taking the best elements of accountability and flexibility that in-house employees and freelancers offer.
With the availability of APIs like the Abstract’s Phone Number Validation and Verification API, it is easier than ever to validate phone numbers.
With so many advantages, there is no reason to ignore phone number validation any longer.
Once you implement the practice, the benefits will be self-explanatory. Every aspect of your business or company will improve in different ways with phone number validation.