So just how important is the caller ID and in what ways does call jurisdiction affect your calls? The short answer is ‘IT'S VERY IMPORTANT’!
With the nearly ubiquitous penetration of caller ID services of cellular, business and residential phones, caller ID has become a tool used by the called and the caller. People receiving calls often examine those incoming calls, making decisions about whether to answer the call based upon the caller ID. Businesses are aware of this and often will strategically select which caller ID is presented on a call to encourage the called party to answer the phone and make it easier for the person to call them back, should they choose to do so. Sometimes a business will send their main number as the caller ID. Sometimes they will select Toll Free (TF) numbers, other real numbers, and invalid numbers (1111111111 or 9999999999) as the caller ID. The caller ID selection can have a variety of effects on the calls being made – effects that should be understood and considered.
ANI or Caller ID Selections:
Invalid Numbers as the ANI:
Invalid ANIs such as 1111111111, are never recommended. First, phone numbers in the USA follow a specific dialing format. For example, the first digit of an area code must be between 2-9. When you send an ANI like 1111111111, the phone network is able to determine that the number format is invalid and may elect to simply not pass the call and your call will fail. Understand this is not an inContact issue, this is a telecom network issue and if one of our carriers elects not to pass calls with bad ANI’s that is beyond our control. Second, when you use a bad or invalid ANI as the caller ID, the billing systems get confused and cannot establish proper jurisdiction. When in doubt, billing systems will tend to select the more expensive rate, Intra-Lata. So before you decide to use an invalid ANI or caller ID on a call, realize, your call could fail, and if it succeeds, the billing system will probably elect to use a more costly rate.
Using a Toll Free (TF) Numbers as the ANI:
While a TF number is a real number, it is not a real place. You can go to https://fonefinder.net/ and key in 801 715 and it will come back with Salt Lake City, Utah. However, if you key in 800 363 – it will tell you ‘Sorry, no records found’. Again, this means that telecom billing systems will find it difficult to determine jurisdiction and will probably default to a more expensive Intra-Lata jurisdiction. There is another more distressing behavior that we are starting to observe with some carriers. We are finding that some of our carriers will not pass a call that has a TF number as the ANI or caller ID and it has caused some service problems, particularly when the number being called is also a TF number. We are fighting this, and sometimes we win the argument and sometimes we don't, and it's not always obvious to us when a call will fail or not. So if you are going to be using a TF number as the ANI when placing calls, I recommend that you perform a few test calls, and make sure they work and you should also expect that it could affect the rates being applied. My recommendation is to avoid using a TF as the ANI or caller ID on a call if possible.
Using a Real ANI or Caller ID:
Using a real ANI is the best choice, and inContact offers many ways for you to do that. You could use a local number that already belongs to your company. But what if you are calling to a remote city, lets say Atlanta, and you would like to present a caller ID that is also from Atlanta. inContact can enable you to establish a real telephone presence in Atlanta or from other cities all over the country through its local DID services. Using inContact’s local DID services, you can establish a real number that can be called and that can be configured to route back to your inContact application for proper handling and routing.
A final point about ANI or caller ID selection, besides its impact on calling jurisdiction, is that it can have legal ramifications. Congress has passed laws around caller ID and its use. The latest being the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010, which was passed in the House this year. This act makes it illegal to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud or deceive. That means that which ever caller ID you elect to send, it needs to be a number affiliated with your business. inContact does not advise, recommend or condone any acts which are illegal or which are designed to defraud or deceive.
Wrapping this long story up, billing systems are designed to bill and collect revenue and taxes and the rules and methods for doing this are heavily influenced by the ANI and the dialed numbers. Using valid ANI or caller ID information is essential. Invalid ANI information can affect call completion, cost, and in some cases, could be illegal. If you have questions, please contact your support representative.