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Saturday, March 5, 2011

An IVR Based Service To Verify Any Service via ZIP DIAL


Zipdial – a service which leverages the missed call mechanism – has introduced an innovative approach to work around the SMS restrictions brought about by the complex TRAI regulations. We have covered Zipdial in the past for surveys and also at our flagship event UnPluggd for running contests.
Verification of phone numbers has been usually done by ecommerce sites sending a verification SMS with a PIN to the user. The user then enters the PIN received in the ecommerce site thereby indicating his ownership of the number. This is fraught with its own challenges – e.g. late delivery of SMS (we have tried with the most common SMS gateways and all of them have had some issues with late delivery). Verification of users has become an issue with TRAI mandating that even these have to adhere to rules same as promotion SMS. Therefore the gateways have to block sending these SMS to people on DND list – almost striking a death blow to mobile phone verification.
Well almost. The new service by Zipdial generates a random number to call for an user once the user has submitted his mobile number on the registration form on the ecomm site. The user can call within a specified (customizable) time and his call is disconnected after a ring. The Zipdial system then recognizes the number called, and sends the appropriate message / indication / service call response to the ecomm site.
Myntra, Flipkart have already started utilizing this service for mobile number verification. This solution has several benefits including:
  • Zero cost and simple for end users
  • Immediate verification without any SMS delivery latency issues
  • Cost savings for the web business (no cost of sending SMS)
They also mention Tutorvista – where this service is used for lead generation (same flow as above – but someone would call you after you verify your phone. Although the efficacy for this flow is somewhat circumspect – why wouldnt the user just call a toll free number and talk to a person for his requirement? The SMS flow was different because the user could be lazy and just have the PIN entered. The business would be spending money to call and get requirements from customer anyways – why should they spend it with Zipdial?
However that doesn’t take away the major advantages this powerful system brings to the table. I am sure they would be tweaking the system to polish it for other vendors e.g.
a) giving specific numbers for ecommerce sites (which ecomm sites can advertise)
b) figure out time – elastic verification methods (call any time)
c) Support for other countries including US (I am sure they have this)
d) API based support vs a web page plugin (integrate with mobile apps – and enable calling directly from the phone)
e) Two factor authentication – Some businesses might still require a PIN, could they customise CRBT to say a PIN e.g. even if its a missed call the PIN could be the a ringtone.
Do try out the new service at http://zipdial.com/zipdial/verify and let us know your feedback!

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