So How Does Caller ID Work Anyway?

Jeff Osness


12 min

Inside this article:

What is Caller ID?

How is a Caller ID Name or CNAM Determined?

How is a Caller ID Phone Number Determined?

How Does Local Caller ID Work?

To Summarize

When it comes to sales calls, caller identification (Caller ID) is a hot topic.

How do your names and phone numbers display to prospects? Where does this information come from? What are the rules, and who regulates it? What if I want a local Caller ID to display?

In today’s post we’ll answer these questions and clear up some confusion about Caller ID. We’ll also highlight what can be done inside of PhoneBurner 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. Neat!

How is a Caller ID Name or 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Because there are multiple CNAM(s) and databases, Caller ID name information can vary, and be outdated… or missing.

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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.

How Does Local Caller ID Work?

PhoneBurner offers a service called Local ID that can improve live answer rates by up to 4 times. Even when agents call out of state, the Caller ID displays a local area code and phone number that the receiving party will recognize.

An agent or admin chooses the area code(s) they want for their account (we offer flexible packages to fit your needs, from a handful of numbers to the entire United States of America), and any time an agent dials one of those area code(s), Caller ID information will display a local number.

PhoneBurner’s software handles this automatically, setting the caller id outputs number for each call during your dial session. The telephone numbers are all real, and fully associated with your account, so callbacks are routed back to the agent who placed the call from your call centers.

To Summarize

Caller ID(s) help improve user experience by allowing people to identify the calling party or company name by displaying a phone number, and when available, 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.

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