Robocalls, an annoying part of the background of modern life, are doing a legitimate disservice to businesses trying to reach customers via the phone. Data from business-to-business research, ratings and review firm Clutch shows that robocalls can impede phone-based communication between genuine businesses and their customers, as nearly 80 percent of people say they are not comfortable sharing private information in a phone call, and 26 percent say they can’t distinguish between a robocall and a real human from the beginning of a call.

Clutch surveyed 687 people who receive robocalls to learn their opinions on robocalls and how they prefer to be communicated with by businesses, and several experts at companies serving businesses’ communications needs have shared their impressions of how robocalls erode people’s trust in all phone calls, not just fraudulent ones.

“What’s unfortunately happened is that this robocall epidemic is putting the phone call into a death spiral,” says Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. “You’ll pick up your call from a friend. You might pick up a call from something that’s got a caller name, but that’s it … It really negatively impacts legitimate business.”

One work-around Clutch highlights is for businesses to send a text ahead of calling a customer. The text can even include a security code unique to each customer, so the customer can be confident the call comes from a legitimate source.

“[Texts] can be sent right before a call, so that your customers know your call is coming and do not ignore it,” says Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer at “Many people simply won’t answer a number they do not know due to receiving so many robocalls.”

Uncertainty over robocalls have left more than two-thirds of people are uncomfortable sharing private information such as a credit card number or Social Security number from any caller, not just a robocall. However, businesses should rarely be collecting information like a credit card number over the phone. James Gireco, the content marketing manager at MightyCall, says, “Any small business that is worth its weight should have a website where customers can make purchases with Paypal, Venmo or another verified service.”

Businesses can also move their entire communication to other channels to put nervous customers at ease. The largest percentage of customers say they prefer to be contacted by email (40 percent), followed by phone calls (24 percent). Lavelle adds, “Allow customers to set up face-to-face appointments in lieu of a phone call. This will make a lot of people feel much safer and confident in your legitimacy.”