The average consumer probably rejects many unrecognized calls each week. And if a number comes through labeled as spam or potential fraud, they cannot block it fast enough. Who can blame them? Good riddance! Unless, of course, the labeling is wrong.
How Call Labeling Affects Businesses
Call labeling and blocking are meant to improve the communications industry by restricting illegitimate companies, spammers, and fraudsters. And while these functions have done much to protect consumers, they have also harmed legitimate businesses and limited positive consumer transactions.
Carriers are wrongly labeling some companies’ numbers, and consumers are blocking any number that they do not recognize. Credit unions, hospitals, and insurance companies are suffering, with many reporting that their calls to clients are not getting through. Other reputable businesses are also suffering.
These developments are hampering your business efforts. You cannot afford to wait until the FTC finds and corrects the bugs in the labeling system. Instead, you need to be proactive and take steps that get your calls through to your clients.
Know When Your Phone Number Is Flagged
You cannot correct a problem that you don’t know exists. Your company needs to monitor the numbers it uses to see if carriers have wrongly flagged them as spam or scam. Calling your customers with a flagged or mislabeled number not only wastes your time but also damages your reputation.
In the past, people would just hang up on unknown callers. Now, consumers will block your number and refuse to do business with you again.
In this age of blocking apps, monitoring your phone number is essential. Worse, carriers may permanently block your numbers if you continue to accumulate flags.
White List Your Number
Your goal should be getting your clients to white list a number, which means allowing it to come through unlabeled. To accomplish this act, your customers need to save your number in their phones. That way, your number cannot come up as “scam likely” or “fraud risk,” even if carriers have flagged it.
When the consumer saves the number, they have chosen to trust your company. If you are using a dedicated number for outbound calls, use this strategy to avoid potential issues with reaching your customers or patients.
Use Virtual Business Cards for Outreach
One of the best ways to encourage customers to save your number is by using a virtual business card, or vCard. These text messages give your customers all of your business contact information, which they can then save to their phones with one click. Once they do, your number will never show a flag, which will increase the number of answered calls. You protect your company’s reputation while increasing sales and your revenue stream.
A vCard Can Protect Your Reputation
A typical vCard will contain the following information:
- The employee’s name.
- The name of the organization or business.
- Company website address.
- Contact email address.
- Contact phone number.
- Company address.
- Links to company social profiles.
The vCard can remove many of the roadblocks you face when it comes to connecting with your customers. Plus, they are easy to create and send. They may be the most cost-effective way to battle call mislabeling.
Keep Your Customers Informed
Many customers do not understand how the new regulations are affecting legitimate businesses. To battle this problem, you should educate them about call blocking and labeling. Because some clients are not aware of these issues, they may think your company’s communication is lacking or that you do not care about having their business.
Consider sending your clients an email or text explaining call blocking and labeling and recommend that they save your number to avoid missed calls. Customers prefer honest outreach to feeling like they are being ignored. You can follow up by providing them your vCard to make it easy to save your business information.
This strategy can help bolster your business reputation while increasing sales of your product or service. After all, you are in the communication industry — communicate.
Managing Flagged Phone Numbers
When you discover that one or more of your numbers has been flagged, do not dump it — manage it instead. Stop using it as an outbound number for the time being, but do route it as an inbound-only number. Taking this step means that customers who have it saved can still use it to reach you.
Let Numbers “Cool Off”
You may be able to use the number for outbound calls once more when it cools off.
Typically, phone number flags will fall off over time. If a number keeps accumulating flags, carriers could permanently block it. In many cases, keeping a number out of the outbound dialing rotation for one to three months will give flags the time to fall off. This method doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it is often successful.
Cooling off a number is an excellent strategy for businesses that don’t use unsavory dialing practices.
Monitor Your Phone Number Reputation Consistently
The current system is far from consistent. In fact, fragmentation between carriers and apps can mean that some carriers show your calls flagged while others do not. This discrepancy confuses customers and business owners alike.
Scanning your numbers daily is the best way to ensure you are not contacting your customers with flagged numbers. You may hesitate to add this to your daily tasks, but taking this precaution will save you time and money in the long run.
Stay Vigilant With Your Caller ID
When it comes to your outbound numbers, you cannot afford to be complacent. Their status can change quickly, so you need to be vigilant.
Monitoring your phone numbers is essential in modern outbound dialing. Carriers and call-blocking apps combat robocalls, something that benefits both consumers and the communications industry. But these practices are truly double-edged swords.
Carriers do erroneously flag some numbers, and consumers routinely block numbers that are flagged or those they do not recognize. The industry needs to take a unified approach to this problem, using the same strategies for improving connection rates and lobbying the FTC for needed changes.
A Proactive Approach is the Best Solution
You cannot afford to wait until consumers complain about your outbound numbers. Remaining proactive is the best approach to ensuring your calls get through.
You should create outreach campaigns to let customers know about how call labeling works. Provide them with your contact information and alternatives to ensure communication stays effective.
Embrace the vCard and any other strategy that keeps you on top of inaccurate labeling practices. This vigilance will help your business and improve your company’s reputation. Your customers will recognize your dedication and possibly trust your brand more than they did before blocking and labeling became a part of the communication landscape.