Despite a slowdown at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, robocalls in the United States are once again skyrocketing to new highs.
In response, carriers are getting much more aggressive in their attempts to address illegal robocalling and spoofing. AT&T alone is blocking or flagging over a billion calls per month, more than double the monthly amount they blocked in 2020.
This aggression has consequences even for legitimate businesses. Outbound call centers now face an environment where more and more numbers are being flagged or blocked—sometimes even before a new number has even been dialed.
Use this guide to better understand if your phone number is flagged or marked as spam. Inside, we cover:
- How carriers mark numbers as spam
- Why new caller IDs might already be flagged
- A comprehensive set of best practices for avoiding call blocking and flagging
Why Does a Phone Number Show Up as Spam or Scam Likely?
To address call flagging, it’s important to first understand how providers are marking numbers as spam or blocking them altogether.
Major telco carriers each use their own set of complicated algorithms to determine whether or not a number is likely to be spam. There’s little transparency around these algorithms, and they are frequently being updated.
The Convoso Product and Engineering teams proactively monitor activity in order to quickly identify algorithm changes. This way, we can quickly adapt to these changes, and minimize the risk of your calls being labeled incorrectly.
Carrier Problems Reported by the FCC
Nevertheless, carriers’ aggressive practices, which rely on algorithms and not human intervention, have aggravated an industry-wide problem. According to the FCC, a number of industry groups are reporting experiences of adverse effects, as blocking and flagging impedes their ability to reach customers and prospects who have provided their express written consent to be contacted.
To make matters worse, they also reported that carriers are slow to react (or even non-responsive) when it comes to rectifying issues related to improperly blocking or labeling calls as spam.
Meanwhile, existing statutes leave legitimate businesses stuck between a rock and hard place, with few options for taking action: Due to safe harbor laws instituted under the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act of 2019, carriers are shielded from any liability if they flag or block legitimate numbers.
Rested DIDs Are in High Demand
In this environment, clean caller IDs are in higher demand than ever before, especially in popular area codes.
Thanks to the carriers’ aggressive tactics, legitimate businesses are cycling through phone numbers at a quicker pace. And with everyone on the hunt for clean, rested DIDs, it’s become increasingly challenging to obtain them.
At Convoso, we work with the largest carriers to get rested DIDs for our customers. Even for us, it has become more difficult to purchase them due to sky-high demand.
Why Are Some New Numbers Already Flagged?
These industry problems extend beyond the high-volume of robocalls. Carriers are also struggling to cope with the widespread threat of caller ID spoofing. Fraudulent callers can spoof numbers owned by legitimate businesses, and it’s happening at a much higher rate than in the past.
The problem has become so pervasive that even supposedly rested DIDs are not safe. Although number providers are resting numbers for up to 90 days, those numbers may still be used by the illegal spoofers during the rest period.
When this illegal activity isn’t identified by carriers, new numbers purchased by call centers may already be marked as spam.
6 Strategies to Avoid Call Flagging
1. Dial Smarter, Not Harder
Hammering away at your leads without being strategic is a recipe for disaster when it comes to call flagging and blocking.
Create dialing cadences that maximize the chance of consumers answering your calls, whether it be dialing at the right time of day, making the right number of attempts, and/or dropping voicemails at the right intervals.
2. Adapt to STIR/SHAKEN Standards
The major carriers have implemented the STIR/SHAKEN framework across their networks with just a few limited exceptions. Higher attestation levels (particularly A) will reduce the likelihood of numbers being flagged or blocked.
3. Utilize the Right Number of DIDs
Placing over 100 calls per day per phone number is one of the quickest ways a number gets flagged or blocked.
Before dialing into an area code, make sure you have enough DIDs in that area code to ensure you are placing no more than 100 daily calls per number.
In some cases, it may be difficult to acquire the right amount of phone numbers in each area code, but you can take advantage of numbers from adjacent area codes as well. For example, if you are calling into Chicago and can’t buy enough 630 numbers, you could buy 847 numbers as well, which would be recognized as a local area code.
4. Use Omnichannel Outreach
Not all interactions require a call. Consider using SMS and email communications in addition to your dialing efforts, which increase the likelihood of prospects answering calls and may reduce the number of attempts needed to reach them.
5. Increase Speed to Lead
When dialing your best leads first, you’ll significantly increase the chance of a sale.
This also ensures calls associated with your best campaigns are being answered. And when your calls are being answered, your numbers are less likely to be blocked.
6. Adhere to TCPA and State/Local Guidelines
Scrub your lists against do not call lists and be sure to adhere to relevant dialing regulations to avoid consumer complaints. Dynamic scripting software can help ensure agents read proper disclosures and uphold compliant conversations.
Partnering with the Right Dialer Provider
In a challenging call center environment, having the right dialer partner can make all the difference. At Convoso, we keep compliance support front and center to help keep our partners safe and drive high performance, even amid constantly changing conditions.
We’ve seen how the increase in call blocking and flagging presents a serious challenge to the entire industry. When a caller ID says “spam” or “scam likely” your chances of connecting with a customer drop drastically.
Convoso has responded to this situation with an improved solution. Using Convoso’s ClearCallerID™, your call center can bring a new level of transparency to its caller ID reputation management. With the ability to quickly identify flagged and blocked numbers—whether they’re new or old—down to the carrier level, call centers can swap them out before they do harm to critical KPIs.
Learn more about how you can tackle today’s biggest call center challenges and drive higher contact rates and conversions.
Schedule a free demo today.