As we strive to keep our readers informed on consent-based marketing topics from across industries, we’re excited to bring you a guest post from one of our industry partners, Convoso. Convoso is a comprehensive solution that automates lead follow-up, dramatically boosts contact rates, and increases ROI while staying compliant with its omnichannel contact center software.

Getting smart about call flagging and call blocking

For any call center making outbound calls, there’s one thing we know for certain:  It’s getting harder to reach potential customers.

This growing challenge isn’t new to outbound call center managers. Agents are trying to reach leads dropped into a dialer. And it’s aggravating when these leads you paid good money for are not even reachable because your caller IDs have been flagged, or worse, blocked. No wonder contact rates are down!

So, what’s this 2021 “trend” about combatting call blocking and call flagging?

Simply put, sales and lead generations teams that want to stay competitive will be:

  • Educating themselves about WHY outbound calls are flagged and blocked
  • Avoiding dialing practices that will result in being flagged as a spam risk
  • Getting smart about call center management strategies that improve contact rates
  • Managing their caller ID reputation for outbound dialing

Why are your legitimate calls being flagged or blocked?

In response to the proliferation of spam calls and robocalls–something we’ve all experienced over the years–consumers and carriers took action to clamp down on the practice. We have legislation, including the TCPA and the TRACED Act, and a host of rules aimed at protecting the consumer (e.g., STIR/SHAKEN). Many call centers make great efforts to work with compliant data and to use dialing practices in compliance with laws.

Unfortunately, despite these efforts, even legitimate calls may not reach the respective caller.

Stuart Discount, CEO of SMD Contact Center Consulting and former CEO of PACE, described the dilemma: “Outbound dialing has decreased almost every year since Do-Not-Call (DNC) back in 2003, but it’s really getting bad now because legitimate outbound callers are being dwarfed by robo callers – their calls aren’t getting through. In some cases, they’re getting blocked by the carriers because they’re being labeled as spam when they are not spam.”

In our video chat with Jesse Daniels, VP of Sales at One Health Direct, he mentioned how devastating it is to have calls flagged as a spam risk, especially for a legitimate nationwide business dependent on reaching consumers. They make over a million outbound calls a day.

Understanding factors that contribute to call blocking or flagging

There are various factors in the telecom ecosystem that can cause your calls to be flagged as a spam risk or blocked.

  • Telco Carriers are taking matters into their own hands and will flag calls, or in many cases, block calls from ever getting to the consumer. Their actions are based on algorithms they use to identify what they perceive to be a “bad” caller.
  • Consumers can download 3rd party apps to block calls such as Robokiller, Nomorobo, Hiya: Spam Phone Call Blocker, Truecaller, YouMail Voicemail & Spam Block and more.
  • Consumers can simply report specific numbers as spam or scam through their smartphones and block these numbers.
  • New regulations and rules, such as STIR/SHAKEN, will present additional challenges for outbound call centers to connect with consumers.
How can you figure out if busy signal dispositions from data source are actually blocked calls?  Sales and lead gen call center expert Heather Griffin offers this free work around tip.

What can your call center do about blocked and flagged calls?

There is no single solution to avoiding flagged or blocked calls. But there are a few steps sales and lead gen teams can and should take to minimize the blow to contact rates. The trend for outbound call centers in 2021 is to employ the right strategies to reduce the risks that your calls will be blocked or tagged as spam.

Smarter Outreach Strategies 

Gone are the old school ways of hammering away at leads till you reach a good prospect. That tactic will result in your calls being blocked or labeled as spam.

To understand the smarter strategies used by next gen call centers, begin by assessing the quality of the leads you’re dialing.  

If you have low intent leads, be cautious how aggressively you set up your agents to call them. Instead, plan your campaigns to rest the numbers that don’t reach anyone by scheduling a cadence spaced over time. Sophisticated dialer software can support responsible dialing, with tools that automatically rest lists/leads based on the intent levels and prior dispositions, and employing a smart redial/recycle logic for optimal lead management.

For high intent leads, leverage an omnichannel approach that includes SMS texting and email, with strategic call cadences and features like smart voicemail drops to reach out to those consumers in the best way possible.

Dial smarter, not harder

Another critical management strategy for outbound call centers is to monitor list performance in real time. Data analytics show you insights about what’s really going on with your lists – are they making money or not? If your agents are dialing a list that’s getting a low contact rate, and you can find that out as it’s happening, you can change course and stop using that list for a period.

Powerful reporting tools are one your most important assets for managing productivity and driving profitability.

In the webinar The Next Generation Call Center, Nima Hakimi (Co-founder & CEO of Convoso) talked about analyzing the performance of your lists as part of your dialing strategy to handle call blocking.

“Calls are being blocked. If you don’t have a good sound strategy in place around your high intent versus low intent leads, your caller IDs are likely to get flagged. You’re going to get calls blocked without you even knowing about it. Which is why it’s really important to look at the performance of your list:  How many times are you calling it, what is the revenue like by rep, by hour, by list – really going to that micro level, to see when there’s a dip. And be able to make those decisions in real time. I believe that’s one of the biggest problems that call centers have is that they don’t have the ability to look at information at a granular level…For example, if you’re dialing through a list and there’s no revenue being generated at a specific hour, then turn that list off.”

Managing caller IDs based on call volume and geography

In 2021, outbound sales and lead gen teams need to proactively manage the reputation of their Caller ID numbers (DIDs). Call centers that dial a lead in excess will wind up with their caller ID labeled as spam.

Your dialer should have the capability to analyze call patterns and call volume, and then use that data to recommend how many caller ID numbers you should use, specifically indicating how many to use in each area code to minimize the chances of your caller ID being flagged as a scam.

Learn what outbound call centers need to know about TCPA Compliance Trends for 2021

Proactive steps to show your identity is legitimate

A strong caller ID reputation goes a long way to identify you as a legitimate caller in the eyes of the major carriers. Legitimate callers are more likely to avoid becoming victims to blocked or flagged calls. Consider these additional tactics to establish your legitimacy:

  • Register your DIDs through the analytics companies that report data to the major carriers.
  • Incorporate new tools like Verified Calls by Google which will show Android users the call is legitimate by displaying logo, brand name, and purpose of the call.
  • Be ready for the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN, which means your dialer provider needs to be sure that calls are signed and receiving an A-level rating. Otherwise, your calls will run the risk of not getting through.