March 27, 2019

Carrier Block: Is It Impacting Your Business?

carrier block affecting business

Carrier block — two words business owners and telemarketers fear the most. It’s when your phone provider decides, for whatever reason, to block you from making outgoing calls.

Need to talk to an important client? Forget it. With carrier block, telemarketing is pretty much useless. A telemarketer with a blocked number is like a carpenter with broken tools. It just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, removing a carrier block can be a lot harder than you think, and it could jeopardize your small business in the meantime. Here’s the what, why, who, and when of carrier block.

What is Carrier Block?

Carrier block lets phone carriers block outgoing calls from your phone. You won’t be able to connect to the person on the other end of the line. There’ll be no dial tone. No chance to leave a voicemail. Nothing.

You can still receive incoming calls, of course, but this is no consolation. As a telemarketer, you need to call out to generate sales, convert prospects into leads, and more customers through your sales funnels.

It’s safe to say, then, that carrier block is pretty annoying. More than that, it can be detrimental to your business growth. Think about how many clients you could lose while you are unable to make calls.

Here’s the thing: Around 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, and 50 percent fail within five years. Cash flow problems, lack of market demand, poor marketing — all of these things can cause you to close up shop. You don’t want to worry about the implications of carrier block, as well. It’s just more unneeded stress.

Why Does Carrier Block Happen?

Carrier block — or “carrier filtering,” as it’s sometimes called — can happen for a whole host of reasons. Most of the time, telemarketers have no clue why their phone carrier has placed a block on outgoing calls. It just happens out of the blue, with no warning.

The likely culprit, however, will be your customers, clients, or people in your phone database. When someone receives a message that they find objectionable — perhaps you called someone late at night by accident or made several sales calls in a short period of time — they might file a complaint to your phone carrier.

It’s Easier to Block You Than it is to Work With You

Sometimes, it doesn’t stop there. The complainant might want to seek damages or threaten to contact the police if they feel like they are receiving “nuisance calls.” Of course, the phone carrier won’t want any of this to happen — it’s just bad publicity. So, it’s likely they will place a block on you, the person making outgoing phone calls, instead. The problem is, the phone carrier won’t tell you about this block or ask you for your side of the story. As a result, you will be unable to call out.

You can see why a phone carrier would do this, of course. After all, it’s in their best interests to protect their customers from objectionable content. But, in the process, you’re left wondering why you can’t make calls, and your business will suffer as a result.

What Are Telecom Experts Saying?

“There is no standard practice for carrier filtering across all carriers,” says cloud communications platform Twilio. “For some, filtering can range from a simple static list of prohibited terms to advanced machine learning systems that work in real time. Regardless of the system, carriers keep their filtering systems closely guarded secrets.”

Who Does a Good Job of Carrier Blocking?

All the major phone carriers offer carrier block services, including the “big four” — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Customers can contact these providers if they receive unwanted calls.

Verizon is Effective

Verizon, who says they averted 1 billion malicious robocalls over the past year, also offer free alerts about potential scam calls. They also support the new “SHAKEN/STIR” call technology system (but more on that later.)

T-Mobile is Efficient

But which company is the best at detecting spam? T-Mobile, according to a recent study. The phone carrier earned a 91 percent efficiency rating when it came to identifying scam and fraud calls.

And Google Wants in Too

It’s not just phone carriers that are taking action, mind. Google’s phone app can now automatically filter potential scam calls and send them to voicemail.

“If the spam callers leave a voicemail — you know, like the usual spiel about charges being filed against you over back-owed taxes — that will still find its way to your voicemail inbox,” says The Verge.

Why Do Phone Carriers & Others Block Calls?

Carriers and other companies like Google do this because it’s in their best interests. Plus, it provides customers with great service. Consumer groups are also pressuring the FCC to block spoofed robocalls. Many businesses, however, will suffer in the process.

When Did Carrier Block Start Happening?

Phone carriers have used call filtering for years. These companies block numbers that they think are malicious. This means that Sprint might block a number that Verizon doesn’t, however, things are changing. The FCC is now demanding that all carriers block spam and fraud calls in 2019.

SHAKEN/STIR is Next

Wait, there’s more. New technologies like SHAKEN/STIR tries to verify and authenticate callers before the recipient answers. This technology will prevent spoofed numbers.

Carrier block protects customers from unwanted calls, and it does a pretty good job at that. New technology like SHAKEN/STIR will offer customers even more protection. As a small business owner who relies on telemarketing, however, you need to have processes in place to prevent carriers from blocking your numbers.

If you find out you’ve been carried blocked, you can swap your number for a new one, change your business scripts or practices, double-check your call and SMS times, and improve compliance.