Millions of Americans no longer answer phone calls from unknown numbers for fear of illegal robocalls. Unsurprisingly, a recent study by Consumer Reports states that 70% of Americans no longer answer phone calls from unknown numbers.

Dealing with spam or robocalls can cost valuable time and resources for businesses, especially for departments like customer service and sales that manage phone calls. Fielding robocalls wastes time and interrupts an agent’s workday, thus lowering the entire team’s productivity.

Likewise, if you’re reaching out to engage with customers proactively over the phone or through text message, you want to make sure your efforts are practical and your method of engagement isn’t suspicious.

With spam calls being such a hot topic in the industry, let’s discuss some of the most important things you need to know.

The FCC is working hard to prevent it

Between June 2020 and 2021, these scams affected more than 59 million people who lost a combined $29.8 billion, according to the phone number identification app, Truecaller. For decades, robocalls have plagued our phone and voicemails across the country, selling car warranties or trying to steal our credit card numbers. To combat this, federal and state lawmakers are taking new measures to address spam calls every year.

For example, the Federal Communications Commission requires voice service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, to implement caller ID authentication, a set of industry rules known as STIR/SHAKEN. Facing federal mandates, voice service providers implemented STIR/SHAKEN regulations in June.

These regulations are a win for businesses and consumers alike. By requiring calls to be validated by carriers, we eliminate the unwanted and harmful engagement from robocalls for consumers, allowing people to trust the validity of their incoming calls.

The business impact of spam calls

Not only are spam calls annoying, but they can have a tremendous impact on a business’s bottom line. This effect can vary depending on your industry. For example, contact center agents often spend their time and energy fielding spam calls. If agents are busy connecting with spam callers, genuine callers are forced to wait longer to connect to an agent. For every second that a client’s wait time increases, the risk of losing the call and potentially losing a customer in the process is higher.

As a marketer or advertiser, the potential ramifications of your tracking number showing up as spam can be devastating. However, there are a few reasons why this could be happening. First, consumers may have marked your number as spam, causing it to be flagged. This could be due to consistent messaging or unwanted calls. On the other hand, the underlying carrier could have been reported as suspicious because of spam numbers.

Unfortunately, businesses cannot prevent the caller ID from displaying as spam. But various carriers have begun implementing measures for consumer protection, such as STIR/SHAKEN.

The FCC has encouraged the telecommunications industry to develop a solution against spam and unwanted calls for years. With STIR/SHAKEN going into effect for businesses, it will help legitimize contact with consumers and potential prospects and ensure calls are not being blocked or not reaching your audience. While it is not a cure-all for the telecommunications industry, it should relieve consumers plagued by unwarranted calls and scammers. Currently, it is the best option to address phone number spoofing and enforce higher levels of authentication.

Voice calling isn’t going away soon, as it is an essential channel for business communication. It allows teams to relay urgent and sensitive communications to and from customers. The hope is that the industry-wide adoption of STIR/SHAKEN will make communications safer and restore the trust in a phone call.