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5 Best Practices for Setting Business Caller ID

by Kevin Bartley

Business caller ID is the first thing your customers see. Here are five best practices to make your company look professional and presentable on the phone.

With all the scammers, spammers, and malicious callers out there, people are more hesitant than ever to pick up calls they don't recognize. Your business caller ID name may seem like a minor detail, but sometimes that tiny string of letters can determine whether or not a customer will answer your calls. That's why it's important to pick a caller ID display that will make you look presentable, professional, and legitimate.

Here are a few best practices for setting your business caller ID.

1. Present a clear name and phone number

Caller ID names are comprised of up to 15 characters. Caller ID numbers are displayed as 10 or 11 digit phone numbers. When seen together, these two pieces of information can corroborate your identity and lend your call more legitimacy.

You caller ID name should state your company's name so that it best fits within the space provided. Your caller ID phone number will ideally be 10 digits, including the local area code. This offers contextual information about where the call is coming from in case someone is unsure of your identity, or wants to confirm that your business is located where the call is coming from.

For example, if you see a call from "Stone Hill Inn", you might not know who is calling, or where this business is located. There are likely several businesses with this name across the country. By looking at the associated caller ID phone number, "802-253-6282", you can see that the 802 area code is for Vermont, which narrows down the possibilities very quickly. A quick online search for "Stone Hill Inn Vermont" will show you the official phone number for that business so you can verify the identity of the caller.

Having both a name and a phone number in your business caller ID presents a polished first impression to the person you are calling. Having only one or the other does not provide enough information for someone to try and verify that it is a legitimate call that should be answered.

2. Dial from the nearest local area code

Calling operations that use toll free 1-800 numbers or blocked numbers for outbound calling are almost always ignored by prospects. Prospects associate calls from these toll free numbers with bothersome telemarketing enterprises that traffic in unsolicited queries. That's why you should call prospects from a local phone number. Data shows you’ll get a lift of 15 to 25% more contacts by using what appear to be local phone numbers when you call prospects.

Business phone service providers allow you to purchase local, toll free, and vanity phone numbers for your organization. Call centers can configure their phone systems so that all the numbers display the same name in the caller ID. When an agent calls a customer or prospect, he/she can make the call using the phone number with the nearest area code based on where the person is located.

3. Abbreviate words and numbers

A business caller ID name should be intelligible within the limited space. If you have to shorten the title of your business, do so in a way that still conveys the identity of your company. You never want to cut a word off, because it looks unprofessional.

In order to save space, you can abbreviate words and numbers when possible. The shorter your name is, the better. Abbreviations can also save space so you can insert more of your name for clarity. However, don't use an abbreviation if it will make the text look strange, or disrupt the meaning of the caller ID name. Here are some examples of when to use abbreviations:

  • Hely, James, and Davenport LLP -> "Hely & Partners" or "H, J, D LLP"
  • Fourteenth Street Tavern -> "14th St. Tavern"
  • Take Two Film Studio -> "Take 2 Films"

4. Ensure caller ID name consistency across phones

If you have multiple locations or offices, it's important to keep your caller ID information consistent across the company. It can confuse customers if your caller ID displays different versions of your business's name each time you call. Some phone systems allow you to set a default caller ID across your entire organization.

If you want to distinguish between multiple departments within your business, make sure to set a customized caller ID name that corresponds to the department. You might even setup unique caller ID for each employee in your office if you want to individualize the display names. Whatever you choose, test the caller ID names before calling customers to ensure that they're consistent.

5. Don't offer inaccurate information

Passed in 2010, the Truth In Caller ID Act makes it illegal to misrepresent your service or business name on caller ID. Fines can cost up to $10,000 per violation. Legally speaking, you have to possess an intent to defraud to get fined. Furthermore, these inaccuracies can sully your company's name in terms of online reviews and business reports.

How to Change Your Business Caller ID

Landline phone services require you to call your carrier's customer support to lodge a formal caller ID change request. The caller ID name can be changed, but the display number cannot. Business VoIP and cloud phone system providers allow you change your caller ID details from online admin pages.

Some business phone systems allow you change the caller ID display phone number, in addition to the caller ID name, for each phone. A default caller ID can also be set universally. This customization can be helpful during calling operations that require local phone numbers.

Some VoIP companies update caller ID changes within 24 hours. Landline phones might take longer. However, due to the diffuse nature of caller ID databases, your customers might not see these updates until many days or weeks later. Companies that specialize in caller ID, such as Quality Voice & Data, can sometimes make the changes more rapidly.

Business Caller ID: Don't Overlook the First Impression

On a call, the first thing customers see is your caller ID display. It's their first real introduction to your company. If your caller ID name comes across as confusing or unprofessional, there's a strong chance customers will simply ignore your call. Customers actually prefer to text these days, and getting them to pick up the phone for an unidentified caller is challenging enough.

Business caller ID isn't the only phone system feature that you can utilize to present a professional image. You can optimize your business voicemail greeting, phone menu script, announcements, and other interactive features that give customers a glimpse at your business. Consider some of our popular blogs on these topics:

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