Marketing through outgoing calls has become more challenging in recent years, due to more stringent FCC regulations. These increased regulations are meant to protect the consumer from bad actors in the industry, but they have had the unintended effect of straining the resources of legitimate call centers. You must be proactive in order to protect your business’s reputation in this age of increased scrutiny.
Consumers rarely pick up calls from unknown numbers, but worse, they never answer business calls labeled “spam risk” or “scam likely” on the caller ID. If carriers or consumers flag your company in this way, your sales will definitely take a hit, perhaps a drastic one. That’s why phone number monitoring must be an essential part of your dialing practices.
How Calls are Flagged
Your phone number can get recieve flags in two main ways: through consumer reports and carrier monitoring. Call flagging is completely legitimate in many instances. Everyone wants the “bad guys” curbed, but the rules can be applied unfairly.
Consumers will flag your number for suspicious sales activity, obvious spamming or obvious fraudulent services. Many businesses deserve these flags, but occasionally, numbers receive reports erroneously. You may be wrongly flagged because of these reasons:
Frustrated Customers – You may call someone who is simply having a bad day. Or, you may strike a nerve by offering unwanted services or using pushy sales tactics. This type of irritation report is not a legitimate reason for carriers to flag you.
Call spoofing frustrates both consumers and legitimate call centers. Corrupt callers send false information to your caller ID to disguise their identity. You may receive a call that looks local but that originates from another state or another country.
Determining why your phone number is flagged can be difficult, but actively monitoring your phone numbers can help. You can identify potential flagging causes and then mitigate the damages. You do have options to combat this issue.
Carriers must try to protect their customers from scammers. Robocalls were the most reported complaint to the FTC, and carriers are now the ones expected to take action. They analyze call activity to identify the following criteria, which can automatically flag phone numbers:
- The number of calls per hour, week and month.
- The connection rates from calls.
- The frequency of consumer reports.
If during this monitoring, a carrier notes that a number places more outbound calls than a human could possibly dial, they will consider flagging the number. A legitimate business may simply be using the wrong dialing practices, but often, it’s a sign of scammers looking for more victims.
Why Phone Number Monitoring is Essential
You cannot count on your good intentions and legitimate purpose to keep you free of consumer and carrier flags. You can get into trouble through simple inattention.
Your business’s caller ID is the first thing a lead sees, so you must keep its reputation clear. A tainted caller ID can lessen your connection rates, lower customer satisfaction and reduce your profit margin. That’s why you need to identify any of your numbers that are being flagged.
Each day that the flagging remains, your business is losing credibility and profits. Your agents waste endless time trying to connect to turned-off customers, and meanwhile, you are still paying for each dial they make. To prevent the devastating effects of flagging, you need to make certain the following does not occur:
- Using the wrong dialing lists.
- Poor agent training and customer interaction.
- Dialer configuration issues.
- Failing to optimize outbound campaigns.
- Call spoofing.
You must catch the spoofing attempts early to prevent serious problems. Once you’ve identified the issue, you can put out a PSA to your customers and potential victims. This way, you’ll separate yourself from the scammers and also help protect the public. Your business can also train agents and implement policies to address fallout from spoofing recipients. The more helpful you are; the more you protect your business.
You should routinely review your dialing practices and look for configuration issues so you can identify and address problems early. These honest mistakes waste time while damaging your business reputation.
How to Fix Flagged Numbers
Carriers are working on dispute solutions mandated by the FTC’s STIR/SHAKEN guidelines, but these have not taken effect as yet. That means that fixing the issues is on you for the time being. The quickest way to deal with a flagged number is to remove it from your dialing rotation. This step lets a number that was flagged for calling activity “cool off” for a bit. Also, consider swapping out numbers regularly so you can avoid getting flagged in the first place.
The long-term solution involves the STIR/SHAKEN dispute system and continual monitoring of your dialing practices. When you follow the guidelines and use valid calling lists, many of your problems will disappear. That combined with excellent agent training should keep your business out of trouble and create an excellent revenue flow.
Flagged calls are not meant to torture you but to protect consumers. Right now, however, your business is vulnerable because the protections for the callers haven’t caught up to the protections for the consumer.
Also, the general public is on edge due to all the other issues currently affecting society. As a result, consumers may take out their frustrations on you. The best way to protect your reputation is through diligent phone number monitoring and excellent agent training.