August 24, 2022
Phone Number Reputation Tips for the Financial Industry
One of your agents calls a customer. The line connects. The phone rings. The customer looks at their caller ID and reads the words “Scam likely.” The customer rejects the call and blocks your number.
Situations like the one above are happening more frequently because of caller ID errors. The government requires phone carriers like Verizon and AT&T to flag or block potentially dangerous robocall scams, but genuine financial services businesses like yours are getting caught in the crossfire. It doesn’t mean you’re a scammer just because you’re calling someone from an unknown number. That’s why businesses in the financial industry should monitor their dialing practices.
Here are some phone number reputation tips for financial services companies that will encourage customers to answer their phones again.
Importance of Customer Trust
Customer trust is critical in the financial industry. Your customers depend on you to manage their money, provide timely advice, and contact them during an event that might impact their finances. Many situations are time-sensitive and require a phone call to convey important information. That’s why it’s crucial customers receive your calls — and answer them.
Timely communication is essential if you need to advise a customer or tell them about a potential fraud that involves a family investment, insurance policy, trading event, wealth management service, or venture capital matter. If a phone carrier flags or blocks your numbers, customers can’t answer calls, won’t receive timely advice, could lose out on a financial opportunity, or might become a victim of fraud.
Say there’s fraudulent activity on one of your customer’s credit cards. You block the card and issue a new one in the mail. Then you call the customer to notify them of these actions. The customer’s phone carrier flags your number as ‘spam,’ so the customer doesn’t answer. When the store rejects their card later that day, the customer wonders why you didn’t notify them.
The customer loses trust in your ability to communicate critical information, closes their account, and opens a new one with a competitor. That could impact your financial services company.
The bottom line: Caller ID is not foolproof, and phone carriers can mark your numbers as spam through no fault of your own.
Call Compliance for the Financial Industry
Adhering to the relevant call compliance requirements in your industry or jurisdiction is critical for improving customer trust. Although following proper compliance regulations won’t necessarily prevent carriers from flagging or blocking your outbound numbers, it’s still essential for financial service companies to do so.
Financial services call centers should abide by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the most important piece of legislation for companies that communicate with customers. TCPA lists rules about when and how to call customers, and call centers can receive fines for not following the rules. Call centers, for example, can only call a customer after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. in the customer’s time zone.
The Do Not Call Registry (DNC) is a database that lists the names and numbers of consumers who don’t want to receive telemarketing communications. Calling someone on the DNC can result in fines and jeopardize your business reputation, so don’t do it.
Institutions in the financial industry should abide by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which requires those companies to safeguard customer data and explain information-sharing practices.
Certified public accountants (CPAs) should follow procedures laid down by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). These procedures help you manage sensitive customer data over the phone.
There are separate rules for companies that handle customer transactions during phone calls. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) provides guidance on how to accept, process, transmit, and store credit and debit card details.
Enhanced Caller ID Services
Caller ID accuracy is paramount for financial services. You can use a service that displays enhanced caller ID information, providing customers with much-needed context when receiving calls from unknown numbers. Most phone carriers (Verizon, T-Mobil, AT&T, etc.) offer these services for a fee, allowing you to display additional caller ID information such as your:
- Business name
- Business logo
- The department from which you are calling (sales, marketing, fraud prevention, investment services, etc.)
The benefits of enhanced caller ID include the ability to promote your brand, lift answer rates, alleviate consumer fears about scam calls, make a lasting first impression, and generally improve phone number reputation.
Warning: Enhanced caller ID doesn’t display correctly on some older devices, and your caller ID display may be different between carriers.
First Orion’s Branded Communication
Recently, First Orion expanded its coverage of Branded Communication, which displays more details on someone’s caller ID than just a business name, logo, and department. Branded Communication can add custom messages about the nature of your call, such as “calling about your repair,” which can further improve phone number reputation and encourage customers to answer their phones.
If a carrier flags or blocks your numbers, remediation is essential. These three steps can improve your dialing reputation:
1. Identify Flags
Scan your numbers frequently to check for flags. If you find a flag, find out which carrier or analytics engine (AE) flagged the number. Many services will scan your numbers for you, including Caller ID Reputation.
2. Remediate Dialing Issues
After learning which carrier or AE flagged your number, find out why they did it. Then address any issues that caused the flag. It could be because of high call volume from one number or because an illegal robocaller spoofed your digits.
3. Redress with Carriers and AEs
After remediating these issues, issue a redress request to the carrier or AE and ask them to remove the flag from your number. Then you can continue to use the number and communicate with customers.
Phone Number Reputation is Critical
Staying vigilant and monitoring and managing your phone number reputation can ensure your calls get through to customers. Follow the dialing practices above and prevent carriers from flagging and blocking your numbers. Over time, you will increase customer trust and encourage more consumers to pick up their phones again.