In: Telemarketing News

Outbound call centers are operating in challenging times, mostly due to well-meaning but sometimes confusing industry regulations. STIR/SHAKEN legislation has helped to protect consumers from unwanted robocalls, but it has also led to difficulties for legitimate telemarketing efforts.

In recent years, many businesses have seen their phone numbers show call labels warning consumers that they might be scam or fraud calls. These labels make it harder to reach consumers who are wary of robocalls or calls made by bad actors. These changes in the industry mean that phone number management is more important than ever.

Telecom transparency is now a top priority, and everyone in the industry has to adapt to this new reality. 

What is Transparency in Telecom?

Until recently, consumers had little choice when it came to answering calls. They could either answer a call based on their phone’s caller ID or reject it. The caller ID, however, could not identify all calls and would frequently read “unknown,” which simply meant that the network was not able to get the caller information.

A significant chunk of these calls might have been robocalls, while others were legitimate. Consumers had no way of knowing, so they often took their chances and connected with the caller. 

Creation of Call Labels

True telecom transparency came about with the creation of call labels. The industry developed these labels so that consumers would be aware that the call was a robocall or other undesirable call type.

In this way, businesses could regain the trust of their wary, robocall-weary clients. Of course, telecom transparency is not a simple matter. In fact, it is a two-pronged entity, containing a front-end and a back-end. 

Front-end Transparency (Customer Perception)

Front-end transparency relates to how consumers view a call label. In general, they believe that any call label proves that the phone call has a negative purpose. Not all call labels are negative, however. They are simply meant to signal the intent of a call, many of which are perfectly legitimate.

Because of these consumer attitudes, many well-meaning businesses are having their calls rejected even if their calls are labeled in a positive or neutral way, such as ‘charity” or “informational.” 

Back-end Transparency (Call Scoring)

The way carriers perceive a call label makes up “back-end transparency.” While benign call labels such as “telemarketer,” “non-profit,” “survey,” etc., don’t carry much weight, labels such as “scam likely” certainly do. Carriers are now charged with identifying callers and monitoring calls to help reduce robocallers, so these labels do not go unnoticed. 

Carriers analyze call statistics and call labels to determine the legitimacy of a call. If they deem a call as illegitimate, they might block the call completely, preventing it from connecting to a customer.

This process is  called “call scoring.” A good call score is essential for your company. Without one, you may not be able to connect to your customers, resulting in a serious downturn in business as well as a loss of reputation.

Importance of Transparency for Businesses

In years gone by, consumers were forced to answer calls from unknown callers, but now they have more choices. They can decline a call, let it go to voicemail, or block the caller. Consumers simply don’t want to answer unknown calls these days.

This attitude means, in theory, that call labels should help businesses connect with customers as well as protect them from “bad” calls. These labels do give the customer insight into the intent of a call, and they should feel more inclined to answer some calls with labels other than “unknown.” This reaction is not always the reality, however. 

Of course, when consumers receive calls with erroneous or negative call labels, it can be detrimental to your business. This issue will cause your answer rates to plummet and consumers to distrust your agents. So, being aware of how your calls appear to recipients is imperative in modern dialing practices.

Without this awareness, you might experience the following: 

  • Wasted time and resources.
  • A drop in the perceived quality of your brand.
  • The risk of customers missing important calls.
  • Diminished customer experience.

Even if you are frustrated with call labeling problems, you need to embrace the process and work hard to keep your numbers clean and free of negative or confusing labels.

Why Phone Number Management is Crucial

Phone number management is one of the most important business responsibilities you can undertake. It will help maintain your brand’s reputation and profitability by avoiding negative labels.

First, you must identify any of your numbers that are receiving erroneous call labels/flags. Next, you should strive to prevent these flags from appearing in the first place.

You can be proactive by correcting the following flag-attracting issues:

  • Bad dialing practices.
  • Dialing software misconfigurations.
  • Spoofed phone numbers.
  • Low attestation rating (from cost-saving measures like least call routing).

Telecom Transparency is Essential

Since the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN regulations, telecom transparency has become essential in the dialing ecosystem. Call scoring has the potential to help your business as well as damage it. It is up to you to know where your phone numbers stand with carriers and consumers. Without knowing your phone number scores, you might be dialing in the metaphorical dark.

Protect your business by making sure you are managing and monitoring your phone numbers properly. And as an extra safeguard, it may be a good idea to inform your existing customers of any potential issues you have with call labels.

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