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Buying in Bulk: Why Are Call Center Numbers Getting Flagged as Scam Likely?

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Call centers strive to create a positive experience for customers.

We’ve gone over some best practices your call or contact center can implement to improve the customer experience, but is something else blocking your path to customer satisfaction?

For some centers, buying phone numbers in bulk is a common strategy to beef up your calling programs. But this practice can also break a company.

Sure, the company has good intentions, but many are discovering that some “used” numbers come with a “dark past” and are already marked as Scam Likely.

Yesterday’s Numbers, Today’s Scam Likely

Call and contact centers face the expectation to build a high call volume and run at top speed. That means they need a LOT of numbers. There are billions of people in the world, after all.

So, centers turn to carriers for their leftover phone numbers to keep up the operation.

What is a call center to do when they receive phone numbers previously used by other businesses?

And how do they prevent the dreaded Scam Likely tag from popping up thanks to a recent number tagged as a scam risk?

Misused Numbers Spell Bad News for You

You might be asking where these numbers originate. Some are purchased through carriers; others come from telephone services that offer Direct Inward Dialing (DID) – a virtual access number not directly associated with a phone line.

When centers buy a ton of phone numbers, there’s a chance these digits were misused at the hands of previous businesses. Maybe a company used poor practices or strategies, and consumers grew tired of negative FTC reports and complaints.

This spells bad news for your call center, already dulled by a previous company’s potential mistake.

Some common reasons phone numbers are flagged as a scam:

  • High call volumes from one number at a time
  • Ignored calls going straight to voicemail
  • Quick call times (under 5 seconds)

License and Registration, Please

Now, what can your company do to prevent future flagging?

One good tactic is to register your business phone numbers. Registered numbers provide legitimacy and help prevent spam or scam labels.

The registration process is quick and easy; First Orion provides a Customer Portal to walk you through the registration process. Rather than a lengthy process through a specific provider, you can get registered in just a few clicks.

Recycling or Creating More Waste?

With such a high volume of numbers at your center’s disposal, rotating numbers seems like a safe bet. That’s because people will likely report if they receive too many calls from the same number in a short period.

HOWEVER, there are issues with this strategy as well. Rotating, or essentially “recycling” a list of phone numbers, is a tactic scammers use to trick people into answering their calls.

Scammers do tend to overuse their numbers. Try to tone down the amount of calls per number to set your center apart and prevent red flags.

Prevent the Flag Tag – Try These Tactics

Some other ways to avoid flagged numbers:

  • Monitor numbers often for any signs of flagging – Always assume the phone numbers you’ve purchased are flagged. If you find a flag in that batch, be sure to contact the provider for a replacement number or refund. There’s no reason to pay for a number that won’t work.
  • Purchase your numbers from reputable providers – avoid purchasing from small, fly-by-night online carriers and instead, spring for numbers from a well-known established number originator. If your center continues purchasing numbers from a provider with a pattern of flags, it may be time to try a different carrier. Do your research and find a carrier with a clean streak of unflagged batched numbers.
  • Slowly warm up new numbers – Numbers that haven’t been used for a long time and that suddenly have thousands of calls per day might look suspicious to the systems that monitor use. Remember that if you look like a scammer, the systems might treat you like one.
  • Invest in buying high quantities of numbers; repeat previous steps above – Need we say more? Buying in bulk (much like a Costco or Sam’s Club membership) can lead to a better deal in the long run, both profit- and customer satisfaction-wise.

Branded Communication Can Be Your Call Center Solution

Sometimes you can’t escape the flags. And that’s ok – it happens. But, there are solutions to revalidate your numbers.

  • Try disputing your flagged numbers with carriers – You can reach out to the Big 3 and report your issue. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are there to ensure you and your center get the help you need.
  • Pay attention to ethical dialing practices – Recently, we’ve discussed ways agents can apply themselves for a better customer experience—things like focusing on KPIs or investing in callback queues. The Federal Trade Commission also provides rules they think are best to follow (i.e., calling customers between 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., immediately identifying yourself and your reason for calling, and using legitimate dialing lists from people who want your center’s calls).

Branding your phone calls lets customers know who’s on the other end. In fact, 90% of people are more comfortable with answering a branded call. This can prevent future reports and flags to your numbers!

In turn, when people pick up the phone more often, that’s fewer times the numbers are getting used, which brings down high call volumes — again straying from being flagged.

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