How many times have you refused to answer a phone because the caller ID looked suspicious to you? Most of us have. And if you’re doing it, that means that the businesses you’re calling are likely to do it, too. That’s why you should know how to customize your business Caller ID to demonstrate that you’re not just another telemarketer or scammer—but that you’re a real, genuine business with a real reason for calling.
Understand what you have to work with
There are two essential elements to any caller ID:
- Name: This is the name of your business. You’ll have up to 15 characters to work with here, but to be safe, you might want to keep your message to even less than that to ensure clarity across different phone types.
- Number: One of the reasons services like Grasshopper provide you with custom phone numbers is that they help display your professional image. Nowhere is that more important than what shows up on the second line of caller ID. (One thing we should note, however, is that you’ll get a higher rate of calls answered when you use local area codes for your caller ID number).
There isn’t much to do when it comes to optimizing your number—you simply select the right number for your business. But when it comes to that business name, there’s a lot you can try:
How to display a business name (or custom text) as caller ID
Changing your outbound caller ID is the first step to ensuring that your calls get picked up. The keys here are to include the following:
- Your business name, up to 15 characters. If you have a long business name, think about the best way to abbreviate it. For example, if you have a number in your business name, shorten “Seventh” to “7th.”
- Select something that you’re comfortable with showing up on caller IDs, over and over, for the next few years.
- Avoid using a city or state in your caller ID; you’ll note that many scammers and robo-calls use this to fool customers.
- Don’t misrepresent yourself. It’s illegal to misrepresent who’s calling via caller ID after the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010.
With that in mind, how do you change the business name on your caller ID?
One potential avenue is to get your phone listed in the CNAM database. This verification process ensures that your caller ID is accurate and verified, which in turn gives you the display you’re going for. To double-check that you’re in the CNAM database, do the following:
- Call your phone service provider (or even landline service provider) and tell the representative that you need to update the outbound caller ID information.
- Ask them to troubleshoot the CNAM issues with them, potentially even having them file a CNAM inquiry on your behalf.
You can also submit a request ticket with Grasshopper.
Keep in mind that while you don’t want to misrepresent yourself, you should choose a number that will be most advantageous to your way of doing business. Selecting local numbers, for example, will help provide you with a phone number that instills trust with the customers you most regularly call.
Tips and best practices for displaying your business caller ID
With all this in mind, how should you select your business caller ID? Here are some tips and best practices:
- Choose something simple. Simplicity is key here because most of us will only glance at the caller ID before making a decision. Does your caller ID reek of something like a big business phone system, or does it seem simple and personal?
- Put the most important information out front. If your company has abbreviations like “Inc,” that’s great, but don’t shorten your name simply to include this. You don’t have a lot of space to get information across in a caller ID, so it’s important that you lead with the most vital identifying information.
- Select something that you’d be comfortable repeating. Once you get your caller ID name fixed, you’ll show up as that same caller ID again and again, no matter who you call. Is that something you’re comfortable with? Are you secure in your brand name, and does your caller ID look like something that people might want to pick up?
- Consider setting up caller IDs for specific departments. If you have departments within your phone system that have to make calls more often, you might consider using a specific caller ID for them. Not only does this give the caller ID more of a personalized touch, but it helps distinguish who’s calling when a customer reaches for their phone.
- Be specific, not vague. As noted earlier, using something as vague as, say, “California caller” might be against the law—and it reeks of scamming and telemarketers. Be specific to your company name and don’t try to create a misleading caller ID that would look appealing for everyone. Chances are, it will just get you labeled as a scammer.
- Select a number local to most of your customers. You don’t have to do this if your customers are all over the country, but if you do have a mostly local business, you’ll do well to select a business phone number that shares the right area code. This instills trust and helps ensure that customers pick up when they see your call. It may even help instill trust with people outside your area code.
Setting your new caller ID custom text might seem like a trivial exercise, but it doesn’t take much time—and it could affect how many people pick up the phone when you call them for years. It’s worth taking the time to be selective about what people see on their caller ID.
With Grasshopper, you can easily select the outgoing number that shows up on caller ID, whether you’re making calls over WiFi or even from your desktop. But it’s worth thinking about the name that shows up above that phone number if you want people on the other end to pick up.