In: Telemarketing News

A lot of businesses use outbound dialing because it’s an effective way to reach new leads. Unfortunately, consumers have become wary of calls that come from unknown numbers, so many of them do not answer. They have justifiable reasons to feel suspicious of unknown numbers: robocallers, spammers and even unethical telemarketers have eroded consumers’ confidence over the years. They would rather ignore a call than take a risk.

Unfortunately, legitimate businesses experience lower answer rates when they dial from unknown or flagged numbers. It becomes harder and harder to reach leads. Understanding the trends, however, reveals several opportunities that could improve your answer rates and potentially lead to higher revenues.

Unknown Calls Vs. Flagged Calls Statistics

Answer rates are a KPI metric that measures the number of unique calls that were answered and divides it by the number of calls placed. For example, if an employee placed 100 calls and 30 of them were answered, you would have a 30 percent answer rate (30/100 = 0.3 = 30 percent).

Most of the time, answer rates are collected as a whole for the contact center instead of focusing on the answer rates of specific phone numbers. However, you can find meaningful insights by analyzing your answer rates by individual phone numbers. You might even learn that some numbers have features (such as “unknown call” labels or flags) that decrease the likeliness that consumers will answer calls.

Flagged Caller Trends

Flagged calls make it incredibly difficult to contact leads. Estimates show that 73-74% of consumers do not answer calls coming from flagged numbers and numbers labeled as potential spam. Even when they do answer flagged calls, 4-6% hang up abruptly.

Furthermore, 7-8% of consumers take steps to either flag or block these calls. Call-blocking apps make it easy for them to take these actions, especially when the person feels motivated by frustration or anger.

As you can probably see, dialing consumers from flagged numbers often leads to more reports. As the number collects more flags, it comes closer to getting outright blocked by smartphone apps. Once that happens, it can damage your business reputation severely.

Unknown Caller Trends

Calls from unknown numbers fare a little better than calls from flagged numbers. Still, consumers know that scammers change their numbers often, so they feel wary about answering any calls from unknown numbers.

On average, 8-11% of unknown calls get answered. You might hope that your lead will hear the message you leave. That might not happen, though, since 14% of Americans don’t check their voicemails.

The lesson here is that dialing from an unknown number makes it very difficult to reach your prospects. Leaving voicemails can help, but you cannot count on leads to check their messages. As a result, your business needs to make more calls to reach its goals. As you make more calls, your unknown numbers will pick up flags. It’s a downward spiral that usually ends in an unknown number getting flagged or blocked.

How to Avoid Being an “Unknown Caller”

Luckily, you don’t have to accept this dire situation. You can recognize the importance of your numbers and take steps to ensure caller IDs display accurate information that encourages your leads to answer. Ideally, your answer rates will increase and you will maintain your business’s positive reputation.

Register Numbers for CNAM

CNAM registration shows that your business owns specific phone numbers. Most carriers aggregate CNAM registration data, so your business name should appear on smartphone screens when you call leads. The next time you acquire new numbers, take this step immediately to avoid flags and unwanted labels.

Use Enhanced Caller ID Services

Enhanced caller ID varies across provider services, but they can give you several benefits that increase answer rates and improve branding. Most enhanced caller IDs can display your:

  • Business name
  • Business logo
  • Department the call originates from

Don’t ignore the feature that shows leads which department your calls come from. Knowing whether a call is about customer services, sales, collections, etc. can influence whether people decide to answer.

Own Your Old Numbers

If your business manages large outbound dialing campaigns, you probably buy blocks of numbers to use during each campaign. A lot of companies drop those numbers when their campaigns end. It kind of makes sense because you get to start with a new group of numbers. Unfortunately, recycled numbers can come with flags that hurt your outreach efforts.

Instead of releasing numbers, hold on to them and let them “cool off” for 60 to 90 days. That’s usually enough time for the flags to fall off. Then, you can check their reputations and start using them, again.

It’s better to retain ownership of your numbers so you know that they don’t have flags. Plus, they’re still registered with your business. When you constantly buy recycled numbers, you don’t get that certainty and you have to put more effort into registering new numbers.

Avoid Getting Your Calls Flagged

Since most call-blocking apps rely on user feedback, numbers owned by legitimate businesses can develop negative reputations. Flags will make it much harder for you to reach consumers.

The good news is that you can take proactive steps to help your outbound numbers avoid getting flagged.

Abide by Compliance Regulations

Complying with FCC and industry regulations will make it much easier for your numbers to retain positive reputations that help you reach consumers. The regulations vary by industry, so you will need to know your specific industry’s rules. At the very least, you need to follow FCC regulations by:

  • Keeping all calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., local time.
  • Training agents to identify themselves at the beginning of every conversation.
  • Avoiding numbers on the Do Not Call List.

Use Ethical Dialing Practices To Avoid Flagged Calls

Following ethical dialing practices can dramatically decrease the chance of numbers getting flagged. As you know, consumers can be spiteful. A percentage of them will report your number as spam or a scam just because they don’t like how a sales rep handled an issue. When your number gets reported enough, your business’s reputation suffers.

You can read our list of ethical dialing practices here. Some of the most important parts to know include:

  • Training agents to use empathy.
  • Scrubbing your dialing list to remove numbers on the Do Not Call List and your internal list.
  • Configuring your dialers correctly.

Swap Out Numbers Frequently

Carriers automatically flag numbers that place too many calls. From the carrier’s perspective, placing too many calls makes you look like a robocaller. The company will flag, label or block your number to protect its customers.

As a rule of thumb, do not place more than 100 calls from the same number within 24 hours. When a number gets close to 100 calls, replace it with a fresh number.

Let Numbers Cool Off

Numbers can recover after they get flagged. It usually takes 60 to 90 days for the flag to fall off. If you notice a number is getting “hot,” remove it from the dialing pool for two or three months.

If you leave the number in your pool, it will damage your answer rate and could get blocked.

Monitor, Manage and Mitigate

Taking the right steps can help you avoid flags that hurt your answer rates. Following best practices doesn’t always ensure that your flags will stay clean, though. That’s why you need to monitor, manage and mitigate all of your numbers.

  • Monitoring numbers lets you determine whether they have been flagged.
  • Managing your numbers keeps them in good standing.
  • Mitigating flags through ethical dialing practices and regulatory compliance lets you minimize the risk of flags.

ABM Desk makes it much easier for you to monitor, manage and mitigate your numbers. You will get alerts when a number gets flagged or labeled. With our Device Cloud services, you even receive a screenshot from a real mobile device so you can see what consumers see.

Start now with a 14-day free trial so you can experience the benefits of ABM Desk.

Learn more about how ABM Desk can help your business succeed, or start using the software to monitor your number reputations by contacting our office in Middletown, DE. You can send us a message online or call 302.330.5146 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Find out more information in our new eBook!

How Can We Help You?

Need to bounce off ideas for an upcoming project or marketing campaign? Looking to transform your business with the implementation of the full potential telemarketing can offer?

For any career inquiries, please send us message here.