The Call Labeling and Blocking Ecosystem
+ How to Navigate It

This wouldn’t happen to you? You sure about that?

 Christian Montes

Executive Director of Sales at NobelBiz

Most companies don’t know their calls are being mislabeled or blocked and to what extent. I have discussed this subject with over 100 companies and the truth is the subject of call labeling and blocking is complicated, confusing, filled with misinformation, and is constantly changing.
This article is to provide some insight into how a business can better protect their brand, reduce the likelihood of being mislabeled as a Fraud or Scam, and provide a better experience when using the voice channel.
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Being a Legitimate Business Is Not Enough

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a series of major measures in recent years to tackle unauthorized calls by granting customers and voice service providers the right to interrupt them.

Today, the Commission takes a step forward in countering unnecessary robocalls by revisiting past interpretations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that allowed companies to make calls without the consumer’s express consent.

Companies spend a lot of time, money, human capital, and effort making sure they know who to call, when to call, for what purpose, and in which way. Think of all the technology, staff, training, scripts, systems etc. involved in making calls. Imagine all that goes into being able to initiate a call and now imagine the call being blocked or being mislabeled as a “Scam” or “Fraud”. Would you answer that call? Would you provide any information on that call?

What company wouldn’t want to know if this was happening to their calls? What company wants their calls being blocked or mislabeled as Scam and Fraud?

A common response I hear is that your company is not an illegal robocaller, you are following the law, you are a legitimate legal business and this wouldn’t happen to our calls. Whether you are manually dialing, predictive dialing, make lots of calls or small amounts of calls, message blasting or calling with express consent you can still be blocked or mislabeled. Call Labeling and Blocking providers don’t know it’s YOU calling and that your calls are not a “Scam” or “Fraud”.

You Need to Understand the Call Landscape

I recommend businesses make sure they understand the landscape calls work within today, as it is different, and will be changing in the near future. Companies can attend webinars, events, trade shows, and work with companies who focus their time in this space.

The most common responses I get from companies after we discuss this subject are:

  • I was not aware of this or to this extent. I want to find a way to address it.

  • I am aware and already doing something about it.

I am going to first focus on number two as this one can be worrisome.
There is a lack of understanding of the problem and what some companies do to “address” the issue many times is actually making things worse or not really dealing with the cause but chasing the symptoms.

Common Misconceptions

Swapping out numbers that are mislabeled or blocked, as your first and only action, is enough.
The new number can and will have the same problem as the previous number if the underlying data used to make the decision to mislabel and block you in the first place has not changed. Constantly swapping numbers mimics the behavior of illegal robocallers.
If I do a web search of my number/s and they come up as Fraud or Scam, my calls are being mislabeled or blocked.
Your calls may be mislabeled or blocked but it’s not directly because a web search says your number/s are a Scam or Fraud. There may be some providers who use crowd-sourced data, but most of the largest providers use various data points that are unique to them and their visibility into calls through their platform and do not rely on what web searches provide.
 If one mobile carrier or app mislabels or blocks my calls then it’s happening with all carriers and apps.
There are many providers and each use various data points that are unique to them and their visibility into calls through their platform. Just because one blocks or mislabels your calls doesn’t necessarily mean the others will.
If my numbers show up on the FTC and FCC consumer complaints, my calls are being mislabeled and blocked.
Your calls may be mislabeled or blocked but it’s not directly because the FTC/FCC consumer complaint databases say your number/s are a Scam or Fraud. There may be some providers who use these databases but most of the largest providers use various data points that are unique to them and their visibility into calls through their platform and do not rely solely on these databases.
Your numbers have already been “Whitelisted” or registered with various state agencies and/or providers.
The call labeling and blocking ecosystem does not “Whitelist” numbers. Numbers can be illegally spoofed or companies can engage in behavior that can still cause calls to be labeled or blocked. Registering numbers with state agencies does not necessarily change how the call labeling and blocking ecosystem treats your calls.

Common Challenges

1) Call Labeling and Blocking Ecosystem
  • There are lots of Apps (new ones all the time – over 500), analytics companies, carriers, phone providers etc. with all of them working in their own way with no centralization.

  • No standard feedback mechanism for companies to know their calls are being mislabeled or blocked.

  • No standard mechanism to have incorrect labels corrected.

2) Consumer Behavior
  • More and more people have lost or are losing trust in the voice channel by letting calls go to voicemail or not providing identifying information when answered

3) Illegal Robocallers/Scammers
  • Increasing volume of calls

  • Constantly using different numbers

  • “Illegal Spoofing” – Using real or fake numbers they don’t own

  • “Neighbor spoofing” – Calling with numbers they don’t own that match the first 6 or 3 digits of your number

4) Companies promoting “Solutions” to being labeled or blocked
  • Some “solution” providers promote swapping out your numbers as their “fix” to the problem

  • Dipping against a database/s that are not used by the call labeling and blocking companies

  • Giving you the impression that the information they provide on your numbers accurately represents how your calls are being labeled and/or blocked with the companies who are doing so

  • Offering “Whitelisting” of your numbers when Whitelisting doesn’t exist

How Do You Know If Your Calls Are Being Mislabeled or Blocked?

You MUST get the information from the companies who are doing the mislabeling and blocking. If you are getting your data from a source who is not those companies or not connected directly with them then you are not getting the real data.

Since there are many companies in the Call Labeling and Blocking ecosystem and some are large and provide services to millions of subscribers and others smaller and maybe only have hundreds you need to know how to navigate each of them, where to spend your time, and have the resources, time, and expertise to manage it.

Ideally you should work with a company who has spent the time, made the needed relationships, and can provide you a central place to have this managed for you.

Next Steps

NobelBiz has teamed up with such a company who is a pioneer in the space and a leader in providing such a service – LocalTouch.

NobelBiz as a Contact Center Technology provider can deliver your calls, provide you phone numbers, register your numbers on our network and certify your company so your calls have the best chance of connecting, being labeled properly, and managed in one place.

Most companies don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to manage such a project. NobelBiz has all of this in one place and can do so in a cost-effective way making this a straight forward decision for any company to consider.

If you would like to know more about our solutions please check out our LocalTouch page and connect with one of our experts.

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Connecting contact center agents with customers is the primary mission of LocalTouch®, the patented local Caller ID management solution by Nobelbiz®.

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Read more from the NobelBiz® Blog:

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