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Revitalizing phone connections: improving call reputation through data

For most people, receiving unwanted calls is a routine experience. In fact, Hiya data shows that one out of every four calls consumers receive from outside their address book is suspected of spam or fraud. 

Because people are inundated with so many unwanted phone calls, most are suspicious of any unidentified call. The question quickly becomes a snap decision — “Should I answer this call? Is this a scam?” 


In fact, 87% of recipients believe that unknown calls,  like the one shown above may be fraud.

“There’s a mountain of distrust that you [as a business] have to climb to get the call answered and to have the conversations you need to meet your business goals,” said Alex Salkin, senior product marketing manager at Hiya. 

The ‘mountain of distrust’ is built because consumers have had to field a barrage of unwanted phone calls and have trained themselves not to trust an unidentified phone number because it may prove untrustworthy. 

So, how can businesses break through and reestablish trust?

Improving the consumer voice experience 

The problem of trust and identity is top of mind for carriers and is a critical issue they’re solving because, ultimately, the experience for their customers is negatively impacted. Carriers have added branded calling to their networks, which is designed to help improve the information available to end-users when the phone rings by displaying the name of the business that is calling. 

In the eyes of the consumer, it helps to create an ideal experience on the voice channel. 

It begins with receiving a phone call. When a consumer gets a call, ideally, they get more information than just the phone number from which the call is coming. This could take the form of identity on the call or a warning of a suspected fraud or scam for the consumer. 

“The key is that there's more information than just the phone number alone because the phone number doesn't tell you anything about the context of the call,” said Michelle Wallace, senior product marketing manager at Hiya. “When the consumer receives this call with this additional context, they can make an informed decision on how they want to engage with that call.”

For example, if a representative from the customer service department calls a customer, they can create a more positive experience by branding their call. The recipient immediately understands the context of the call and can pick up already knowing who it is.

Time is saved, and a better experience is achieved. 

The importance of call protection

With the bombardment of aggressive and sometimes illegal calls consumers receive, carriers have also implemented critical protections for their consumers to combat spam and fraud calls. 

When thinking about reputation and restoring trust in the voice channel, it’s critical to understand the nuances of two distinct call labels that can help repair any erosion to consumer trust. 

“Damaging consumer trust ultimately makes it less likely that consumers feel they can rely on voice calls,” said Wallace. 

The first label is an illegal scam call. This type of call is made with malicious intent to try and steal something from the recipient, whether monetary or personal information. These calls are marked by a fraud label and, in many cases, are blocked entirely. 

Another situation that is potentially harmful to consumers and provides a negative experience is nuisance calls. Although often legal, these calls can be unwanted on the consumer end. This type of call will often result in a spam label like the one shown below. 

Labeling is not entirely uniform on every voice provider, but distinguishing between the two can help businesses understand if their calls are being flagged as fraud or spam to help diagnose and address the underlying cause. 

Steps to build call reputation 

Businesses must start reestablishing that trust with their consumers by creating a positive calling experience. Genuine positive calling interactions spur a more robust and enduring reputation. 

Businesses can better understand how call reputation and labeling is determined by breaking it into four crucial aspects of a call. 

  • Understand information that is known about the caller. This is where registering a phone number with carriers is paramount. It takes the guesswork out for carriers and lets them know that a legitimate business is making the calls.  Enterprises should consider registering their numbers because it provides transparency with carriers, makes them more trusted, and helps carriers spot bad actors.

  • Understand the importance of consistent call history. Maintaining a consistent call history is crucial for establishing trust and credibility with carriers and recipients. A regular pattern of calling behavior, such as frequency and duration, signals to carriers the legitimacy and purpose of the business's communication. This is why you should avoid services like number rotation, which removes call history and looks similar to how scammers make calls.

  • Understand the patterns of the calls. Once a business starts to make calls, what are some patterns the carriers can pick up on? High volumes of calls to a wide array of unrelated numbers, especially if done in a short time frame, can signal invasive or aggressive behavior. Conversely, consistent calls to a specific group suggest legitimate business or personal interactions.

  • Understand how recipients respond to the calls. Finally, when it comes to spam labeling, the last step is one of the most important. Who are the businesses calling people, and how are they receiving the call? Looking at the recipient's reaction to a call helps determine if the call is wanted and a valuable experience for the consumer. How a recipient reacts to a call will ultimately be one of the most vital signals businesses must pay attention to. 

If a business struggles with call performance or continues receiving spam labels, it can indicate something beneath the surface. It’s like a check engine light for a car. Understanding the root of the call label or poor call performance and seeing real user feedback on those calls can help organizations diagnose the issue and improve the call experience. 

When thinking about call reputation, understanding the labeling attached to those calls is essential to dig deeper into how consumers react to the calls, if they are blocking or reporting them, and how to overcome any obstacles the business may face within the voice channel.  

How Hiya helps 

Transform uncertainty into confidence by branding your calls. Utilize a branded caller ID that displays your company's name, ensuring immediate recognition. This establishes trust that you are who you say you are and helps consumers distinguish your calls from the unknown (and frequently suspicious) calls they receive.

A clear, branded introduction at the start of each call reinforces this trust, setting a professional tone for the conversation. By consistently branding your calls, you create a reliable and recognizable presence in your customers' caller ID, encouraging them to answer confidently.

“The bottom line here is that a call is an interaction,” said Wallace. “It's an interaction between people. This end-to-end interaction and your reputation are about so much more than the numbers you use to make phone calls. It's really about fostering trust throughout that entire interaction. So by focusing on creating a positive end-to-end interaction, you start naturally sending signals and data points that say that this call is wanted and received well by the end user.”

Author Hiya Team