I’m an insurance agent, and we have many different incoming marketing phone numbers. It allows us to track how well our advertising is working, because we know what advertisement or website someone found us by the number they called.
Phone calls require an appointment
Somehow with all the technology and electronic communication like email or linkedin or facebook messaging, it has become more difficult to reach someone by phone. If you think about it, anytime someone receives a phone call, we’re actually doing something else. So when anyone calls, it’s nearly always an interruption to whatever it is we’re doing. It becomes more problematic when a significant number of these calls from spam callers come in. In recent years, I’ve worked with an increasing number of people who require an appointment to reach them by phone.
Robocalls and telemarketing calls all day long
Since we have dozens of marketing numbers, assuming each number receives two spam calls per day, we easily receive dozens and dozens of robocalls or spam callers each day. My favorites (not!) are:
- PRESS ONE so customers can find me on Google; or
- PRESS ONE to have my website redesigned; or
- PRESS ONE to get a business loan; or
- PRESS ONE to lower our credit card interest rates; or
- PRESS ONE to get a price estimate on janitorial services.
Most also offer a supposed method to remove the number from their list. But if they can’t be trusted to follow the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY list, why would I trust them to use a request to remove from their list? Pressing ANYTHING isn’t anything more than a confirmation that I’m a real human.
It gets worse: spam calls with no apparent purpose other than to waste time and money
A few years ago, we began receiving completely spam calls. There seems to be nobody on the line, but something else would be heard, as if they called and then just put the phone down, such as:
- Train or subway station, you can hear people walking, trains screeching to a halt; or
- This song will play: “Shono Mon Boli Tomay by Rahul Dev Burman” repeating over and over; or
- Water drip drop drip drop, or faucet being turned on and off; or
- There are several other calls that seem to stay on the line with no response
These calls seem to stay on the line repeating in a loop for a long time without timeout. Once in awhile, I’ll just put the call on hold if we have free phone lines available. I’ll come back and it will still be playing the same ‘recording’… 10, 20, 30 minutes later!
Other online forums have suggested these types of calls are simply to waste call center staff time. It’s my proposal that these represent an organized effort to defraud us, the telephone company, and deprive us of the telephone services we pay for.
At first, we began simply not answering calls from outside our service area, where we are licensed to do business. We’re currently only licensed to sell insurance in three states. If calls came from outside of that area, and they are unknown, then it’s likely they are soliciting something, or a spam caller.
That worked great for awhile. Then they’d start spoofing their caller ID to represent telephone numbers in our local area, with the same area code and prefix. Back to the drawing board.
There’s several innovative services where folks can subscribe and they claim to block or reduce spam callers. Some operate on a database of known spam callers, which could be a horrible idea… because spammers can spoof their phone numbers… change them frequently, even for each call. What are they going to block of hundreds of thousands of phone numbers? Then what happens when a paying subscriber gets that number reassigned… another headache for the consumer!
Then we have the dozens of sites on the interwebs that offer to accept comments from the public, from people who receive spam numbers. This is interesting and helps some of the time, but usually, there is not enough, or inaccurate data. It’s helpfulness seems dubious at best.
Our free solution to handle robocalls and telemarketers, without extra software or subscriptions
We began answering unknown callers silently. Right after answering, we place caller on MUTE. If it’s a real caller, which happens sometimes, they should eventually say ‘hello?!’, or they’ll simply hang up and call right back, thinking there was a problem in the line. This seems to have worked pretty well for us. I think the auto-dialers mark the number as bad and do not call back. We’re down to just a dozen or so calls a day, instead of several many dozen, which is great.
Report your experience with robocalls, spam callers
Did you receive a call with nothing but Shono Mon Boli Tomay playing? Something else really weird? Leave me a comment below… maybe tell me when you received the call, if your phone was a landline or voip or cell phone, what you heard, what you did!