July 10, 2024

Protecting Your Outbound Calls from Receiving Spam Labels

Protecting Your Outbound Calls from Receiving Spam Labels

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and telecom carriers have implemented several technologies to protect consumers. Call labeling, for example, displays information that helps people decide whether they want to answer incoming calls.

If a carrier determines that a number has been involved in suspicious activities, the caller ID screen might label it “potential spam” or “high risk.” These labels make it easier for consumers to avoid calls from bad actors attempting to commit crimes like identity theft and fraud.

Unfortunately, call labeling lacks transparent standards, making it extremely difficult for legitimate businesses to know when a negative label prevents them from reaching their customers.

FCC Policies Mismatched with Technology

The FCC has done many positive things to protect consumers and improve public trust. However, the policies intended to curb malicious robocalls don’t always match existing telecom technology.

Consider that original telemarketing laws were written decades ago when very few companies had access to VoIP technology. Today, though, most businesses use VoIP services to manage inbound and outbound calls. This creates policy gaps that contribute to confusion among carriers, businesses, and consumers.

Algorithms Apply Call Labels Without Transparency

The FCC has rules that regulate some aspects of the STIR/SHAKEN framework. For instance, when a terminating carrier blocks a call, the originating provider receives a notification. This structure makes it possible for originating providers to inspect issues and ensure they maintain strong attestation ratings for their clients.

However, there aren’t any rules that regulate how carriers apply call labels. This highlights a critical mismatch between policy and technology. When a terminating carrier applies a negative call label to a number, it effectively blocks that number because so few people would answer its calls. Despite this, the terminating carrier doesn’t have to notify anyone upstream about the label.

To make matters even more confusing, carriers use their own algorithms to detect spam calls. Since companies don’t know how those algorithms work, they can’t avoid inaccurate labels.

In one case, a carrier added a “spam likely” label to a school district’s phone number. The number had been largely inactive during summer. As the school year approached, though, it became increasingly active as schools reached out to parents and students. The carrier’s algorithm saw the sudden change in behavior and assumed the number was spamming consumers. In reality, school administrators and teachers just needed to communicate with students.

Similar problems can happen to any legitimate organization because the telecom industry lacks rules for call-label transparency.

Mitigating Spam Labels

Spam labels primarily come from two sources: consumer reports and algorithms (analytics engines). Since carriers don’t use transparent algorithms, it’s difficult to determine how they will interpret calling behaviors. When it comes to consumer reports, though, you can take some steps to mitigate flags.

Follow Compliance Standards

Follow all FCC regulations and regulations specific to your industry. In general, this means placing all calls between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (using the contact’s local time) and using real agents instead of prerecorded messages.

Industries like healthcare and finance have additional rules you need to follow.

Prune Your Lead Lists

Prune your leads to remove any phone numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry and your internal do-not-call list. It’s also increasingly important to compare your lead lists with the Reassigned Numbers Database.

Dial Ethically

Follow ethical dialing practices like letting phones ring for at least 15 seconds before hanging up and requiring agents to identify themselves at the beginning of each call.

Train Agents Properly

Train agents to use empathy when speaking with leads. People are more likely to report your number when they feel disrespected or otherwise mistreated.

Identify Call Labels Through Monitoring

Mitigation efforts can help you avoid consumer reports, but they might not influence algorithms from analytics engines. Since carriers don’t share their algorithms, you can adopt call-monitoring procedures to identify when numbers have likely been labeled, flagged, or blocked.

Proactive caller ID monitoring can also help you identify number spoofing attempts, improve brand consistency, and pinpoint problematic dialing behaviors.

Redressing Spam Labels

When monitoring reveals inaccurate call labels, you must correct the problem by contacting redress organizations working with carriers. Unfortunately, redressing spam labels is a laborious process that can involve contacting dozens of organizations.

You can simplify the process by adding the call blocking redress Managed Services to a Caller ID Reputation plan.

Audit Your Caller ID Across Networks

Caller ID can show different information depending on the user’s device and carrier. You can improve brand consistency and find any inaccurate information by auditing caller ID across all major networks.

Caller ID Reputation’s Device Cloud tool gives you screenshots from real devices connected to real service providers. That way, you know precisely what consumers see when you call them.

Spam labels can make it nearly impossible for organizations to reach their goals. Register an account with Caller ID Reputation to take control of your outbound numbers.