Note: This is the 4th article in our 5-part series designed to help businesses understand the spam call ecosystem and reduce the risk of flags on their legitimate calls.
Miss a post? Start here:
Understanding the Spam Call Ecosystem
The Anatomy of a Spam Call
How Carriers Protect Subscribers
Imagine this scenario: your business has a vital call to make to try to take a deal over the finish line, but it's mistakenly labeled as spam by the recipient's phone. The same thing happens when you try the next day.
Your message goes unheard, the deal goes cold, and the opportunity slips away.
Nurturing prospects and closing deals is hard enough. It’s absolutely critical for businesses to avoid the dreaded "spam" label so your legitimate calls connect as they should.
In this fourth installment of our blog series, we delve into practical strategies that can help your calls stand out for all the right reasons.
From Caller ID authentication, to fine-tuning call frequency and content, we offer actionable tips to ensure that your important calls are recognized and answered.
Caller ID Authentication
One of the most effective ways to build trust and prevent your calls from being labeled as spam is through caller ID authentication. Here's how to get started:
1. Verify Your Caller IDs
Ensure that your outgoing calls display an accurate, recognizable caller ID. Use a consistent business name or number that recipients can easily identify. Consider leveraging Branded Caller ID to gain even more control over the branding that displays on your outbound calls.
2. Register Your Numbers
Scammers and spammers don’t register their phone numbers with the carriers. Your legitimate business can, and should. In fact, registration of your numbers with the carriers is the #1 priority. By submitting your legitimate business data to the carriers, they can take anonymity out of the equation.
This goes a long way in supporting the legitimacy of your phone calls and safeguarding the reputation of your numbers.
3. Use a Verified Business Number
If possible, when conducting outreach use a business phone number associated with your organization, that can be found and verified. Verified numbers are more likely to have a history and established reputation and therefore less likely to be marked as spam.
4. Explore STIR/SHAKEN Technology
Familiarize yourself with STIR/SHAKEN (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited/Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using Tokens) technology, which helps combat Caller ID spoofing by providing identity verification. Your carrier or service provider should (as we do at PhoneBurner) help extensively here so you do not need to be experts in STIR/SHAKEN.
Call Frequency and Patterns
Want to maintain a positive reputation? Balance your call frequency, and avoid patterns consistent with spam behavior. That may seem obvious but many legitimate and well-intentioned businesses engage in behaviors that overlap with bad actors.
1. Avoid Rapid-Fire Calls
Resist the urge to make multiple calls to the same recipient within a short timeframe. Sometimes known as “double dialing” or “triple dialing,” the logic is that if someone gets multiple calls, they’ll think it’s important and will pick up on the second or third attempt. While it might be effective (sometimes), it can frustrate callers… and trigger spam alerts.
2. Space Out Calls
Even in the absence of rapid-fire calling, sometimes outreach professionals consistently call back numbers with considerable frequency over a day/week period. Avoid a consistent barrage of calls, and space out your attempts over time. Consider swapping out calls with emails, social touches, or texts as part of your cadence. This can reduce the risk of your calls appearing spammy.
3. Personalize Outreach
No one likes to feel like a number. Personalize your call outreach by using your recipient's name and by leveraging relevant context and referring to prior interactions whenever possible. This can make your calls feel more genuine and less like automated spam. Even if someone is not (or no longer) interested in engaging with your company, they’re less likely to block or report you following a personalized and respectful experience.
4. Consider the Implications of Multi-line and Parallel Dialing
Using a multi-line dialer could impact your number reputation in several ways. For one, parallel dialers carry the inherent risk of dropped calls (along with associated fines if thresholds are met).
Additionally, when contacts answer, they hear an off-putting beep or delay that increases the risk of hangups, number blocks, and spam reports. Agents are also less equipped to review personal information (see #3 above) because they lack access to it until after the contact is on the line. Combining these factors, along with the fact that many call attempts are being made at the same time, the likelihood of short duration calls increases dramatically. Short duration calls are tracked by carriers as an indicator that calls are being considered a nuisance.
Content Best Practices
Crafting compelling and relevant call content can make a significant difference in how your calls are received. Here are some general best practices:
- Be Clear and Concise: Deliver your message clearly and concisely, avoiding lengthy introductions or irrelevant information.
- Provide Value: Whether you’re calling on prospects or existing customers, ensure that your calls offer value to the recipient. Explain why you're calling, and the benefit they can expect.
- Avoid Pushy Language: Steer clear of aggressive sales tactics or pushy language that may frustrate your audience or trigger spam suspicion.
- Ask Questions: It’s tough to make a pitch without knowing if a need exists. Ask relevant questions so you can tailor your solution to your prospect’s current situation and pain points.
Maintain an Opt-In List
Consent is important.
Ensure that you're only calling individuals who have opted in to receive your communications if you’re B2C.
If B2B, comply with all applicable laws and regulations. There may be areas, depending on the type of business you operate where there are exceptions. We recommend consulting with your compliance and legal teams for the most up-to-date guidance.
Conversely, be vigilant about opt-out requests. Your solutions provider should offer tools to help you maintain a do-not-call list, so you can avoid the potentially costly mistake of accidentally calling someone who has requested removal.
Test and Monitor
Regularly test your calls within your organization or with a trusted group to gauge their impact. Monitor feedback, and respond to instances where your calls might be mistakenly labeled as spam.
Number monitoring services are also available to identify when flags are applied and removed, so that you can take regular steps to assess your number strategy, adjust your calling practices, and remediate flags.
Finally, track those live answer rates. If you're seeing a steady decline it's time to audit your leads, processes, and dialing technology to get this critical metric back on track.
Build Reputation with Consistency
Ever purchase a brand new phone number, only to find it flagged as spam almost instantly?
It happens all the time.
While undoubtedly frustrating and an unwelcome surprise, it’s actually a sign that the system is working. Brand new numbers have no history. When they go from no usage to hundreds of calls overnight, it trips up the spam algorithms. And rightfully so.
Number reputation is built on consistency. It’s therefore vital to gradually build up to consistent call volumes and behaviors that signal to the carriers that all is well. Register your numbers, follow the insights above, remediate flags when they appear, and maintain consistent practices that, over time, give your numbers the strong reputation they deserve.
Think of it this way: scammers buy and toss phone numbers. Businesses see their numbers as long-term assets.
Summary and What’s Next
Businesses play an important role in the reputation of their numbers.
By following the guidance above, businesses can significantly reduce the chances of their legitimate calls being labeled as spam, and dramatically increase call engagement in the process.
Authenticating numbers, adhering to call behavior best practices, building trust with recipients, and delivering valuable content are key to ensuring that your important messages are recognized, heard, and acted upon. And that your numbers maintain a strong reputation that serves your business for years to come.
In the final installment of our blog series, we'll explore the importance of regulatory compliance and reputation management in maintaining call legitimacy. Stay tuned for more insights into the fight against spam calls and how your business can navigate this landscape effectively.