Currently the COO and CMO of Caller ID Reputation, April Wong is a veteran of jumpstarting brands focused on building digital solutions and boutique experiences. Previously, April Wong was Marketing VP of Table.co, Marketing Director at Coddle, Director of Product and Marketing for Fitlab, plus Marketing Director for Renren’s Real Estate Technology group.April Wong also led global marketing events at SmartThings.
In many cases, the phone number is the primary contact — the first impression — and in today’s world, several tools and services are available to measure a phone number’s reputation.
To ensure a good first impression, a company must take care of its data hygiene, which can be the difference between getting a call through or getting ignored, as explained by April Wong.
Read on as the COO and CMO of Caller ID Reputation talks about the company’s services, the possible scams companies should be made aware of, and how to keep a good data hygiene.
Spotlight: Can you please elaborate on what phone number “reputation” is and why it is important for businesses?
April Wong: Phone number reputation represents the health of the actual number of how carriers and providers perceive you, in addition to whether or not the recipient themselves will likely pick up the phone or not.
Phone number reputation is crucial for businesses, as people are often suspicious of phone numbers and have to decide whether they should trust the source of the call.
It's sometimes the first impression of any phone call that can make or break their trust in the existing brand and determines the future of their interactions with that brand.
Caller ID Reputation helps companies protect their calling reputation and audit phone calls. How do you optimize phone numbers and monitor this data?
Caller ID Reputation is the only solution providing the last mile of the call flow, enabling enterprises to control over how they are displayed across the telephony channel.
We work with major data aggregators in the industry to determine their scoring mechanisms, along with a cross-check through our own proprietary Device Cloud, which allows us to check real screenshots from all carriers and OS [Operating System] types, giving you real-time feedback on how you look across national carriers.
Caller ID Reputation scans companies’ outbound phone number inventory to reveal anomalies such as flagging and CNAM [Caller ID Name] inaccuracies, confirm attestation levels, and improve call deliverability through a comprehensive aggregate of scoring data encompassing all carriers, providers, and data aggregators out there.
What are the best practices companies can adopt to improve and maintain their number reputation?
There are many ways to do this, and while it’s ever-evolving and changing, there are always some true-and-tried rules you must follow:
1. Following local and government regulations like the TCPA [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] and TSR [Telemarketing Sales Rules], you must state your name and the purpose of the calls, plus local calling time restrictions.
2. Ensuring your systems are STIR/SHAKEN compliant and auditing your outbound phone call teams to ensure they follow all the laws.
3. Run monitoring services like CIDR [Caller ID Reputation] to ensure those numbers aren’t automatically blocked
4. Scrub your calling frequently lists, from your internal DNC [Do Not Call] lists, for data hygiene
5. Season your numbers and factor in cool-down periods. Or purchase numbers from reputable sources that will clear and register your CNAM before your subsequent campaigns.
What if a company already has a poor phone number reputation? Is there a way to turn it around?
There are ways of remediation for sure. The first is to look within to see if your systems and offenses aren’t from within the organization — that you’re following all the regulations and that you’ve registered your numbers in companies like freecallerregistry.com.
Then you want to use a monitoring service like Caller ID Reputation or manually test each number with each carrier on each mobile operating system to see how your calls appear to the recipient.
Or you can use a remediation service to redress all of your numbers, working with organizations that have built a strong business verification process, and works with these third-party scoring algorithms to unflag those calls.
Caller ID Reputation puts much importance on "data hygiene." Can you explain in practical terms what data hygiene is and how companies can track it?
Data hygiene refers to how organizations organize their calling lists, and if they scrub bad leads, leads they’ve not received consent from, or if they honor leads that say “hey, please don’t call me”/ “not interested anymore.”
Scrubbing against vexatious litigator lists and the DNC are great ways also to do this. Companies need to be diligent in working with services that can help identify those leads or proactively manually do this.
There are a lot of scams and “robocalls” that users and companies need to be aware of. How can they protect themselves and their brand from scammers?
That’s the scary thing about these scammers — it’s ever-evolving, and they get smarter every time. If they’re trying to impersonate you, they may even spoof your legitimate outfacing number to sell their scam because they know your numbers are “clean.”
Services that connect with Caller ID Reputation allow you to monitor and hear the actual phone call. So if you know you have your ducks in a row with operations and your calling practices, but you suddenly see a spike and anomaly in your scoring — you potentially could be spoofed.
Spoof-proof your numbers by setting up DNO [Do Not Originate] for problematic numbers and setting up OTT [Over-The-Top] methods to secure your calls. We’ve witnessed illegal scams that will pretend to be a full brand, even spoofing their numbers and sending legitimate customers onto a honeypot website they’ve created to gather and steal personal information.
Being aware of current spam trends allows you to take action and inform your customers and protect them before damage can even happen.
Reputation is also associated with the performance of the callers. What solutions can help businesses improve their customer interaction and connection?
First and foremost, follow regulations and ensure your business outbound calls follow a script that is following the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rules.
Monitoring your outbound phone numbers with a service like Caller ID Reputation to constantly monitor and manage the health of your outbound phone numbers and ensure the scoring algorithms by third party organizations aren’t marking your calls as an unsavory label to your brand.
Once all the operational stuff is done to ensure your customer representative is set up for success, you can then hone into their customer experience, delivery, and all the other things that spark the magical moment between a brand and its loyal customers.
Caller ID Reputation is now integrated with the Webex Calling phone system. How will this partnership benefit both companies and its clientele?
We’re so happy there’s a connection with Cisco Webex and their calling services. Cisco has an extensive security and vetting process, and we’re happy this paves the way to create integrations with other services.
This integration works seamlessly with Webex Calling to ensure they understand the health of the outbound phone numbers in their system.
They’ll be able to check against their outbound numbers to see what the recipient will see before they even dial the call — which could be costly in time and opportunity if their call can’t even reach the customer because of an unsavory call label being displayed.
Thank you for your time, April Wong! Best of luck to you and Caller ID Reputation!