What is Call Screening: Features, Benefits, and Best Practices

Nobody welcomes spam calls, Robocalls and calls from telemarketers. In the last decade, companies that relied on spam calls have been able to reach more people, leading to frustration for many. Sometimes, spam callers use a local phone number for incoming calls to trick the prospective receiver.

Because of this, automatic call screening has become popular. With this, users can determine if the call is worth attending to.

This article will explain what call screening is, how it works and its multiple benefits for users.

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What is Call Screening?

Call screening identifies an incoming caller and determines the best way to respond to that call.

The most familiar part of the call screening process is caller identification, which provides the caller's name, phone number and, at times, the geographic location. It helps you identify when a spam caller is online.

In call centers, call screening helps agents decide whether to accept/reject the call, forward it to another representative/department, or let the call go to voicemail.

But what happens when an incoming call is from a place where multiple people live? How will the agents identify which specific person/employee is calling? This is where Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) comes into play.

Advanced call screening connects callers to an automated virtual attendant asking them to state their name and the primary reason for the call. This way, agents know who is on the line and which action to take.

How Does Call Screening Work?

The growing dependence on VoIP phones and the number of available providers and carriers have changed how a call screening service works.

When someone calls from a landline, the phone number is registered to a particular telephone line. Now, the phone system controls the specific telephone numbers on the caller ID screen for those using SIP or PRI connections.

Calling Name or CNAM databases store account holders' carrier names and phone numbers. Whenever an incoming or outgoing call is made, the name and number of the caller are cross-referenced between the CNAM service and the CNAM database of the caller and carrier. However, it is more important to understand how the systems identify the caller's name.

Each receiving carrier runs the incoming calls through a CNAM database to connect phone numbers with the names of the people owning them.

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What Features to Look for in Call Screening?

The standard caller ID helps employees avoid unwanted calls, while a sophisticated virtual office phone system provides advanced call routing, forwarding and answering.

However, call screening offers several other advanced features to improve internal customer service. Let's take a closer look:

Call Routing

Call routing is the essential call screening feature, directly connecting an incoming caller to the appropriate agent/department without putting them on hold.

Predetermined answering rules follow a call path based on the caller's response. Intelligent call routing also directs calls after business hours or on holidays. Customers can select from a range of menu options offered by a virtual assistant.

Remote Call Forwarding

Remote call forwarding features connect incoming callers to the correct representatives by forwarding the business calls to other phone numbers.

For instance, if an agent is on the road or working from home, he can transfer calls from their office landline to their Android or IOS system.

Agents, therefore, can decide on their call path, enabling increased flexibility and more immediate customer service, especially in offshore call centers.

Call Blocking

Call blocking allows agents to prevent inbound calls from specific phone numbers, zip codes, and area codes.

Anonymous call rejection blocks incoming calls that do not offer caller ID information, while the auto-identification features block the calls from known telemarketing numbers.

Companies that want to reserve particular phone lines for a smaller list of phone numbers can create an enabled caller list blocking all the other incoming calls. Call blocking features work on landlines, desktop computers, and mobile Android, Apple, or Google Pixel phones.

Do Not Disturb

When an agent does not receive incoming calls for a few hours but doesn't want to block calls altogether, the "Do Not Disturb" screen call button automatically forwards calls to voicemail or other agents for a set amount of time.

When agents are available for calls again, they turn off the Do Not Disturb feature.

Text-to-Speech Messaging

Text-to-speech messaging is an essential business phone feature that allows agents to send a default or customized message to incoming callers when they cannot answer the phone.

The message will then be read aloud to the caller via text-to-speech technology. Messages can provide additional contact methods, offer estimated wait times, or deliver personalized information to the caller.

Automatic Callback

Automated customer callbacks let inbound callers schedule their preferred callback time, whether later the same day or later in the work week. In addition to offering your customers convenience, these callbacks save serious time by eliminating the need for phone tags.

Making customers feel like their call is a priority and providing confirmation that someone will get back to them is essential, especially given that roughly 70% of callers who don't get a response the first time will never bother to call back.

Benefits of Call Screening

The primary benefit of the call screening feature is that it allows agents to prioritize calls as per the severity of the issue and the importance of the client.

This helps to save employee time, increase customer retention rates and fasten the resolution process. Some of the other benefits of call screening include:

  • Decreased call center abandonment rate
  • Automatic missed call phone numbers storage
  • Fewer missed calls and spam calls
  • Improved internal communication
  • Increased security and privacy
  • Customer self-service capabilities
  • Increased agent availability

Call Screening Best Practices

You need to have a few best practices to advance further and not stay restricted to the caller identification and screening functionalities only. These are:

  • Access to customer history through robust CRM software
  • Evenly distributed call paths so that only a few agents are not required to handle all the screened calls
  • Voicemail notification to avoid callers' missing messages
  • Concise IVR system with call menus for connecting customers to the proper agent/department
  • Escalation matrix development for more pressing support issues
  • Provide omnichannel support live to decrease the number of inbound calls
  • Create customer call scripts to more effectively enable customers based on the issue at hand

What is Call Screening Takeaway

Unwanted calls burden the team and restrict the phone lines. Screening calls decrease the number of spam calls, enabling companies to focus on client communications.

Call screening helps personalize your calls and handle features for individuals, and have company-wide rules. Alongside, call screening is effective for in-house and remote teams; therefore, it is suited for various use cases.

Companies can use various tools to improve the agents' productivity and enhance customer experience.

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