Caller ID Best Practices Header

What's the first thing you do when your phone rings? If you're like most people, you probably start by looking at who's calling. If it's someone you want to talk to, you answer. If not, you let it go to voicemail.

Your prospects and customers do the same thing. When someone from your company calls them, they look at the phone and decide whether or not to answer. That's why it's crucial to have a business caller ID that's recognizable, easy to read, and professional.

In this article, you'll learn the tips and best practices for setting up and maintaining the best possible business caller ID. Each suggestion below is easy to apply and will boost your company's professionalism-- from the very first ring of the phone.

Use Your Business Name

In one survey of 520 consumers, 87% reported ignoring calls from unknown numbers. You need to include a name as part of your caller ID, and it should be as close as possible to the business name that people know.

Most systems support caller IDs up to 15 characters long. If you can fit your entire business name into those 15 characters, start there. If not, figure out how you can abbreviate your business name and still be recognizable and professional. For example:

  • Mister Bob's Pizza and Subs can use "Mr. Bob's Pizza."
  • Whoville Community Bank and Trust can use "Whoville Bank."

If you're not sure how the public will receive the caller ID name you choose, test its effectiveness on a few people who know your business—colleagues or friends, for example. Ask them if they'd recognize the caller ID name as your business and if they'd pick up should they see the ID on their phones.

Simplify Things

You can use all 15 characters, but it's not required. Shorter is often better, and approachable is nearly always preferable to formal. Suffixes like "Inc." or "LLC" usually aren't worth the character count unless you have the characters to spare and want to add gravitas to your caller ID.

Start with Key Information

Most people give their phone no more than a glance before deciding whether to answer a call. Also, not all phone systems will be able to show all 15 characters of a caller ID. Make sure that the most recognizable information appears at the front of your caller ID name.

Be Professional and On-brand

Your company's caller ID will show up for everyone you call via your main company number.

On many systems, including Dialpad's, it's possible to change the outbound calling number so that the recipient sees a department's name or individual representative. However, if the recipient won't necessarily know why "Billing Department" or "John Smith" is calling, it's a good idea to have "Your Business Name" call instead.

It's vital that your outbound primary number ID—"Your Business Name," in this example—is something that you're comfortable showing to all of your current and future contacts, including prospective customers, investors, and vendors.

Avoid Spam Red Flags

People are highly suspicious of scammers these days, as they should be. Research shows that Americans get an average of 28 spam calls every month. One in three people has lost money to a phone scam.

The silver lining is that more people are now educating themselves about how spam calls can look and sound. They're learning that spam and scam calls often mimic the recipient's area code, using a "local" number without a name as their caller ID.

Even if you're concerned that people won't know your business name, avoid replacing it with a local number or the name of your city and state. To further improve your deliverability, ask your team members not to block their numbers except for specifically approved reasons. Audiences today tend to see blocked IDs and immediately assume spammers.

Leverage Local Numbers

While it's not a good idea to use a phone number instead of a name for your caller ID, you still need to list a number in addition to your business name. For that field, it's smart to use a number that's local to your business, especially if you have a large cohort of local customers.

If at all possible, avoid using your toll-free number on your caller ID. It's good to have a toll-free line so that people can reach you quickly, but most tend to associate incoming calls from 800 numbers with telemarketers. If they see a number like that, they will be more likely to ignore your call.

Instead, use a number with an area code that corresponds with your company's primary location. With this one simple change, you can increase your answer rate by up to 20%.

Represent Yourself Accurately

This one isn't just a recommendation. It's the law. Under the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, it's illegal to use caller ID data to purposefully misrepresent yourself "with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value."

If you land or retain a customer using false information, you could get fined—and the price is steep. Each violation can cost you from $10,000 up to a maximum of $1 million per misrepresentation.

For most businesses, it's easy to avoid violating the Truth in Caller ID Act. Just use your correct business name and don't intentionally make it look like a famous moniker. Stay honest, and this tip will be easy to follow.

Give People Options

Sometimes, you'll want your company name to come up as the caller ID for outbound calls. However, there will be times when you'll wish the recipient to know that a department or person is calling them back.

With Dialpad, you can let your team members choose whether to use their assigned phone number, department number, or the company's main number when they make calls. Each number will have an associated caller ID that you can set up using the best practices listed here.

Set up Caller ID for Your Business

When you use Dialpad as your business phone system, it's easy to set up global and individual caller ID. There's no extra charge, and you can edit your caller ID information and preferences using your Dialpad admin portal.

Don't have Dialpad yet? Contact us today and avail yourself of a free trial. Find out how business caller ID and other professional phone features can take your company to the next level.