STIR/SHAKEN for Call Centers

Everything you need to know before June 30th 2021

Published March 21, 2021

At this point, we can hardly imagine there is a single person in the call center industry that has not heard about STIR/SHAKEN. Of course, as it is often the case, STIR/SHAKEN was rapidly engulfed in a thick layer of FUD and disorienting talking points. And yes, the funky name only adds to the confusion.

Why should I care about all this? Well, if your company is making ANY type of outbound call, STIR/SHAKEN is on your menu, regardless if you like it or not. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to understand ALL the technical details behind this technology. This is something your provider needs to worry about.

However, there are a couple of things you need to know.

(But before you move on, if you are clueless about what STIR/SHAKEN is, you might want to visit the NobelBiz blog to find out what is STIR/SHAKEN and How NobelBiz implements STIR/SHAKEN.)

Who needs to do What?

STIR/SHAKEN uses a technology and process to allow carriers to digitally sign calls and attest to whether or not the calls they are processing are coming from people they have a business relationship with and are using numbers that they have permission to use.

Alright, the good part of this overly simplistic explanation is that the carriers are the ones who need to worry about the technicalities of dealing with STIR/SHAKEN.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can lay back and let your telecom provider do all the hard work.

You too have a role to play, in what level of attestation your calls will receive.

Because carriers can now be held accountable for the traffic and attestation they inject into the network, they will need to walk you through their internal process, explaining how they assign the three levels of attestation: A, B or C and where your calls fall under and in what situations.

Of course, for level A attestation, you, as a call originator, need to meet certain requirements. One thing you need to know before we move to the next section of the article is that every carrier has its own validation process. To learn more about the validation process of NobelBiz, get in touch with one of our experts.

Misconceptions Around the Levels of Attestation

In theory, every call originator will want to have the highest possible attestation for his or her business. But this cannot be assumed especially when a company uses multiple carriers, uses numbers from their end clients, or relies on a UCaaS or CCaaS platform to deliver their calls.

However, before you start sending internal emails to your team, you need to understand a few basic things about the three levels of attestation and common situations that could impact your attestation level:

Attestation Level Misconceptions

1. Having your calls attested B or C does NOT automatically mean that your calls do not comply with the TRACED Act.

Having your calls signed and given a level of attestation in of itself is compliant with the TRACED Act. The level of attestation is what relationship, if any, the provider has with the call originator and knowledge of the ownership or permission to use the numbers as caller ID.

2. Levels B and C does NOT automatically mean your calls will be blocked or mislabeled as spam, scam or fraud.

Today, calls are being mislabeled and blocked via different mechanisms and providers. Not all but some providers who block and label calls will use the information from signed and unsigned calls as one of many data points to make their decisions: everything from call frequency, average call duration, call attempts, complaints, blocks, short duration calls, and so on.

At this time there are no standards around how the level of attestation will impact what the subscriber sees on their device or how this would cause your calls to be automatically treated as fraud or scam.

3. STIR/SHAKEN will NOT solve your current problems with blocked or mislabeled calls.

A very common misconception is that STIR/SHAKEN will somehow magically solve all the problems with call labeling and blocking. Unfortunately, this is not true. As mentioned above, STIR/SHAKEN and Call Labeling and Blocking are not the same thing and do not rely on one another to work. They may influence one another, but having one does not mean the other will go away. Any issues you are having now or could have in the future will need to be addressed via other layered approaches, which Nobelbiz can help with.

Common Situations That Could Impact Attestation Levels

1. Having multiple carriers

Having multiple carriers is normal for many companies for a variety of reasons. One thing that could impact your level of attestation in this scenario is when you begin to use numbers from one provider on another providers’ network. Make sure to talk to your carriers and make sure to know what happens to your level of attestation under this situation. It is possible you could go from an A to B level attestation if you don’t understand their local policy.

2. Using numbers owned by one of your clients

It is not uncommon for an outsourcer to use numbers their clients own as caller ID. Because the outsourcer does not own those numbers, it is important to discuss this use case with your provider or carrier as it could cause you to have a B level attestation. Make sure to understand your providers’ internal policy.

3. Using a CCaaS or UCaaS solution

More and more companies are moving to cloud solutions. These solutions have many advantages including not having to be a telecom expert and manage your carrier relationships if your provider does it for you. The one area you want to cover with your provider is how are they handling the following:

1) Is your provider signing your calls or is a 3rd party (like one of their carriers) signing the calls?

2) What happens when there are call quality issues and your provider changes who the carrier is? Does that impact how your calls are signed?

3) Will there be multiple downstream carriers in route for your calls and will all of them be consistent in attestation or delivery of calls?

If you have questions or concerns about the items we outlined, NobelBiz can definitely help you with this. Get in touch with one of our experts by completing the form below.

Takeaways

  • Actively work with your providers and carriers by discussing the above situations with them and understand their internal policies around the 3 levels of attestation.
  • Understand what scenarios your calls could receive what different levels of attestation.
  • If you are currently having issues with call labeling and blocking it won’t go away on its own. You need to have a broader approach to address this particular problem and NobelBiz can definitely help you deal with this type of issue.

NobelBiz supports the initiative to comply with the TRACED act, and having STIR/SHAKEN fully functional with our telecom network and CCaaS solutions, the NobelBiz Voice Carrier Network. For any questions you might have related to some of the topics we touched, give us a call on 800.975.2844 (toll free), or get in touch with one of our experts via this contact form.

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