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    (This post was last updated on September 2021.)

    Missed call marketing campaigns were born out of a unique problem that Indians faced: affordable handsets but pocket pinching talk rates.

    Missed calls started as a way for people to communicate with each other. A few years ago, “giving a missed call” was acceptable to convey pre-agreed things — I’ve reached home, you can pick me up now, I’m going to sleep, it’s time to wake up etc. At its peak, the sophistication of missed calls beats the morse code, hands down. Two rings for yes, one ring for no, three rings for whatever else you’d like it to be (as long as the other person knows the code).

    As simple as it is, missed calls are also beneficial for all parties involved — the caller and the receiver. Especially if you’re a business, it can bring significant value. Some of the key benefits of missed call marketing are as follows.

    Feel free to jump directly to any of the following sections:


    6 Benefits of missed call marketing

    Missed call marketing is a great way to build, grow and engage your customer base regularly. Moreover, they are a cheaper and hassle-free alternative to traditional calling or even IVRs. Here are some ways in which they can help your business.

    #1 Generating leads at the top of your funnel

    Lead generation is one of the top priorities for marketers. Missed call marketing is a great tool for inbound lead generation, primarily because it costs nothing for the customer. For instance, you can post online ads or billboards inviting prospects to give you a missed call if they’re interested. You can then call them back or send SMS campaigns to convert them into customers.

    #2 Qualifying leads for one-to-one conversations

    Instead of calling every number in your database with your offers, you can build a list of interested prospects with missed call campaigns. This way, you can only call prospects who are interested and ready to buy from you.

    #3 Improving customer retention

    Customers don’t want to pay to call you. They want to get the support they need without much effort. Missed calls can enable this. It offers a free and convenient way to reach you anytime. It also allows you to prioritise your customers and provide a stellar customer experience.

    #4 Improving operational efficiency

    Missed calls are entirely automated — you don’t need agents manning missed call numbers. You can also send automated SMSes in response to missed calls, only requiring agents to step in at the last stage.

    #5 Optimising customer service

    You can address a large number of customer needs with missed calls. For example, they can give you a missed call to know their account balance or application status, and you can provide them with the update on SMS without ever having to speak to an agent.

    #6 Democratising access

    Not everyone has a smartphone or internet connection. Many customers/prospects still prefer phone calls for their communication. Missed calls allow users with feature phones to get the information they need without spending a penny.


    How does missed call marketing work?

    It’s simple. 

    • Businesses publish specific virtual numbers for people to give a missed call on. For example, to check status, vote for something, express interest etc. 
    • Customer/prospect gives a missed call to that number
    • This number is saved to the business’ database
    • Businesses respond with an SMS alert or a callback to take the conversation forward


    How much does missed call marketing cost?

    It costs nothing to the customer/prospect because the call does not connect. It is also cheaper for the enterprise when compared to other telephony services like IVR or outbound calling.

    To know what Exotel’s missed call services cost, speak to a consultant today


    How businesses use missed call marketing

    From an acceptable method for people to communicate with each other, missed calls have become a way for brands to get people to interact with them. It’s an ingenious way for brands to know exactly what is happening with their target market. This applies to various industries, a few of which we discuss below.

    1. Banking

    Since they’re dealing with money, banks and financial institutions need to offer customers/prospects a simple way to reach them. Missed calls are perfect for that. Some of the most common use cases for missed calls in banking are:

    • Checking their account balance
    • Requesting statements/letters
    • Generating OTP for authentication
    • Seeking emergency help about their bank account/credit card

    Banks can also enable prospects to give missed calls to receive information about new products, updates, credit limit increase, international services etc.

    2. E-commerce

    The most significant advantage of e-commerce is scale. However, customer service at that scale can be challenging and expensive. Missed calls can help address these concerns. Some of the most effective missed call campaigns we’ve seen from e-commerce customers are:

    • Pre-ordering of products, where customers can just give a missed call to register for an upcoming product launch
    • Verifying order or delivery status
    • Requesting callback
    • Giving feedback on services
    • Subscribing for SMS or email alerts

    Agrostar, a mobile-commerce platform for farmers, allows them to procure raw material by giving a simple missed call. 

    For a farmer, the most accessible mode of communication is a phone call. Most of them have feature phones with no access to the internet. So, Agrostar capitalised on what was available to them – a missed call.

    Farmers who want to procure raw materials give Agrostar a missed call. Agrostar’s executives call the farmer back to understand what raw material they need and then arrange for its door delivery. More than 7,00,000 farmers across Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan have already benefited from their services since 2012.

    3. Gaming apps

    Since the pandemic, more and more people have taken to playing games online. Online gaming companies engage customers in numerous ways with missed call marketing:

    • Requesting link to download apps
    • Asking for information
    • Authenticating login or purchase using OTP
    • Subscribing to alerts and newsletters
    • Registering as beta players for new games

    4. Government

    Governments use missed call campaigns to engage citizens and improve participation in civic activities. Some of the most successful missed call campaigns recently have been:

    • Signing up for government schemes
    • Requesting information on schemes and entitlements
    • Register support for new programs

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    5. TV & Entertainment

    As one of the earliest industries to use missed call marketing, TV and entertainment have found unique use cases:

    • Voting for your favourite contesting in reality shows
    • Participating in polls
    • Schedule reminders for upcoming shows
    • Register application to compete in reality shows

    6. Healthcare

    In the post-COVID world, imparting information and fighting misinformation has become critical. Missed call services can help with that. Some of the everyday use cases are:

    • Booking appointments
    • Requesting information
    • Giving feedback
    • Checking vaccination slot availability

    7. NGOs

    NGOs need to build grassroots participation to spread awareness about social causes. Missed calls can be an important way to achieve that. They can use missed calls to encourage prospects to:

    • Register for new programs
    • Vote for or against policies or programs
    • Request information
    • Register for reminders
    • Give feedback used Exotel to set up a missed call marketing campaign to mobilise the citizens of Bengaluru. 

    Out of the 1,40,000 people who showed their support, 90% were registered through a missed call. 

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    Pratham Books used the ‘Missed Call do, Kahani suno’ campaign to tell kids a story

    Pratham Books is a not for profit organisation that aims to put a book in every child’s hand. They wanted to give children who didn’t have access to books a taste of listening to a story. They used Exotel’s missed call services to achieve that.



    It’s fascinating to see the different applications of missed calls across industries. I hope you were able to discover ways that you could implement in your business. I feel the best part about missed calls is the simplicity of the technology and affordability. It’s not limited to any type of company or size. Both small and large companies can effectively use missed call marketing. 

    Looking to give it a try? Learn how Exotel can help you get started.




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