How Does Caller ID Work?

Will Schmidt

10 min

Inside this article:

What Is Caller ID?

How Is a Caller ID Name (CNAM) Determined?

How Is a Caller ID Phone Number Determined?

What Is Branded Caller ID (BCID)?

Make Caller ID Work for You

When it comes to sales calls, caller ID is a hot topic. But there are also a lot of questions around caller ID.

Most notably, people are curious how caller ID even works. How do your names and phone numbers display to prospects? Where does this information come from? What are the rules, and who regulates it?

Further, how do new technologies like Branded Caller ID work? And how will they help mitigate my risk of being flagged "Scam Likely"?

Below, we’ll answer these questions and clear up some confusion about how caller ID works. We’ll also highlight what can be done inside of PhoneBurner—like Branded Caller ID—to bring you the best results for outbound sales

What Is Caller ID?

Caller ID is a display of information, including the phone numbers and sometimes the name of the caller(s), that shows up on any Caller ID enabled device. The service is included with just about any phone provider, be it phone line, VOIP lines, or mobile phones.

The phone company passes along this caller information using ASCII code that the caller ID box knows how to decode between the first and second ring of a phone call.

How Is a Caller ID Name (CNAM) Determined?

The display name on Caller ID is determined by the receiving party’s phone carrier. CNAM (“C-alling NAM-e”) are third-party services that phone companies use to attach the name to the phone numbers that are calling. Each CNAM maintains their own databases, and there is no standard or governing body.

This is in contrast to Local Number Portability (LNP) which mandates that consumers can keep their local number even when changing carriers within a local area.

Because there are multiple CNAM(s) and databases, Caller ID name information can vary and be outdated, or missing entirely.

It all depends on the receiving party’s phone service and the CNAM they work with.

For that reason, your name can display inconsistently, and can be a bit challenging to control. You can update your name with your carrier, but the frequency with which they update the various CNAM databases will vary.

How Is a Caller ID Phone Number Determined?

The Caller ID phone number is determined by the party placing the call. In the case of a landline or wireless phone, the number is dictated by the registered number associated with the phone placing the call.

In the case of VOIP providers, the number displayed can be controlled and modified. Sometimes this requires a service agent to make the change. In other cases, the caller can make the change directly via a web interface.

When using PhoneBurner, you can control the Caller ID number displayed for your dial session. Simply go into Dial Session Settings and enter the number you want that shows up (you must agree that it’s an actual working number, and that it’s either owned by you or your company).

This gives you the flexibility to determine what number shows up when you call a list of leads, and ensures there’s a relevant callback number that will route them to right place.

What Is Branded Caller ID (BCID)?

Branded Caller ID (BCID) is a new product offering from PhoneBurner that allows your company to display your business name, location, logo, and other identifying information. All this will appear on a call recipients' mobile device.

The idea is that BCID can help increase connect rates and call engagement by mitigating uncertainty around unknown, spam, or "Scam Likely" calls. It's an ideal solution for companies that call contacts who have requested information or follow-up calls, yet have no existing relationship with the company.

Think people asking for mortgage quotes, first-time financial clients, or SaaS cold call prospects. Having BCID can immediately establish identification and build crucial trust with the people you call.

And where CNAM is outdated, static, often inaccurate, and difficult to update, BCID is flexible, simple to update, accurate, and up-to-date for tech-savvy companies. It's built for a world that thrives on mobile communications and currently reaches over 400 million phones on the major carriers.

If you're interested in learning more about how BCID can give you more quality conversation, watch the video blow. You can also check out our Branded Caller ID page, where you can sign up for a PhoneBurner account and start branding your calls today.

Make Caller ID Work for You

Caller ID(s) help improve user experience by allowing people to identify the calling party or company name by displaying a phone number, and with solutions like Branded Caller ID, a name as well as location. This information comes from different places. Names are determined by the receiving party’s carrier.

Numbers are determined by the caller’s carrier, or in some cases, directly by the caller or the software products they use to place calls.

It’s important to understand how this information gets displayed in order to maximize live answers and facilitate callbacks, while maintaining integrity and adherence to calling rules and regulations.

If you're interested in learning how PhoneBurner can help with your outbound and Branded Caller ID, sign up for a free trial today.

Also, you can download our free eBook Outbound Sales: 10 Strategies to Close More Deals, to supercharge your outbound strategies and tactics today. It pairs well with the goldmine of data insights compiled in our annual Sales Calls Statistics Report.



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