It’s no exaggeration to say robocalls are a scourge.
Those calmly voiced recordings offering health insurance or promises of government funds are at best a waste of your time or—at worst—your money. Noticing how eerily similar many robocalls are, we took a look at transcriptions of the spam calls we’ve blocked through our Firewall app. Here’s what we learned about robocallers:
1. They mind their manners
Intrusive, annoying, and disruptive are three words that likely come to mind when you think of robocalls. The substance of those calls, though, might paint a deceptively different picture. “Please,” “thank” and “thanks” came in at #4, #7, and #39 on our list, respectively.
The politeness that many robocall messages exhibit might even be the most infuriating thing about them. Reconciling the disconnect between the kind tone of the message with the rude nature of making your phone ring off the hook can be too much. It’s almost like it would be better if robocallers talked as rudely as they act—if you’re going to be a jerk, you might as well own it, right?
2. They’re only “human”
One of robocallers’ techniques is speaking in the first person as a way of masking the fact that you’re listening to a recording. Your brain thinks, “there’s an actual person on the other end, so hanging up would be rude.” Never mind for the moment that the “person” on the other end talks without interruption, signaling “they” are a recording.
Their use of words like “I” (#2), “I’m” (#14), “us” (#16) and “I’ll” (#85) are tricks to, even if only momentarily, keep you on the line. From there, they’re one step closer to recognizing you as the human, a perfect addition to a lucrative call list.
3. They prefer casual Fridays
As you might expect, “hello” makes the list, at #22, but it’s no match for the more informal “hi” (#15) and “hey” (#34). It’s another sign that robocalls are not to be taken lightly.
Just like any other large-scale marketing campaign, many robocalls have been thoroughly tested and refined. Every bit of language is intentional, so even the casual nature of their greetings are meant to evoke a certain response. In this case, it’s most likely an attempt to keep you from hanging up—and getting baited.
4. They’re good. No, they’re great!
In perhaps the most appropriate finding on the list, “great” came in at #35, one slot ahead of “good” (#36). Does this give us profound insight into the inner machinations of the evil robocall empire? Probably not, but maybe it’s proof that the universe has a sense of humor. And in a weird way, there’s some comfort to be found in knowing that sunny ebullience beats neutral approval, even if it’s only eking out a win.
5. They know what they want
Up at #1 is “call,” with “press” not far behind at #3. Put simply, those are the two actions they want you to take. If they got your voicemail, they want you to call. If they got you, they want you to press a button to connect to a human. And given that “call” outranks “press,” we can only guess that robocallers know they’re more likely to hit voicemail than a human. You do have a third option, though—read on.
6. They’re still aggravating
Put it all together, and you’re left with… an annoyance that’s turned our phones against us. But there’s help. Firewall puts robocallers in their place—filtered out of your life. Read about Firewall here, or give it a try by installing the Firewall app.