Your first instinct when you start getting a lot of unwanted calls to your business number will be to become panicked and angry. That is natural and totally understandable, but try not to freak out because you do have some pretty effective options to stop it from happening.
It can be extremely frustrating when this happens to you, as it can make you feel completely powerless. In addition to feeling like there’s nothing you can do to stop it, you might also have a hard time getting anyone to help, including your own phone service provider.
Even if you can’t get the help you expect from your provider, there are definitely measures you can take to handle it yourself, sometimes pretty quickly. Try out these options, and by the time you get through all of them, you’ll probably have eliminated most of the unwanted calls, if not all of them.
Don’t Ignore the Problem
It won’t just go away if you ignore it, and in fact, if you do nothing to address harassing callers, it will probably only embolden them to call more. It’s already stressful to get even a few of these calls a day, so when the volume increases a lot more, it can really drive you nuts.
This is a growing problem that isn’t going away, due to a few different factors such as the accessibility of company information through the Internet, incompetence and inaction on the part of major telecom carriers, and other factors. The result is an environment where harassing or predatory organizations can wreak havoc on businesses through relentless unwanted calls, and you might have to take matters into your own hands.
Of course, taking matters into your own hands also includes contacting the right places to take care of it. The point is that you have to act quickly and decisively. Many business owners don’t want to deal with it, don’t know how to solve it, or are just so overwhelmed with all the calls that they don’t take any action.
Don’t let the frustration get the better of you. Being a victim of these unwelcome, soliciting callers is all too common and would understandably make anyone angry, but taking the following action that we’re going to look at in this post will give you what you need to address it fast.
Record & Consider All of the Data
One of the first things you should do when you recognize that you’re beginning to get a lot of unwanted calls is to make sure they’re all logged. You want to keep a record of all the basic information for every call—phone numbers, dates and times, call duration, the number of calls you get on each day, and anything else you can find.
Look for trends or patterns, too, as well as how many calls you get from the same numbers, as that can be useful when you attempt to address the problem directly with a specific organization, or when filing with the FCC.
Noticing patterns in the behavior of the callers can also help you to nip the problem in the bud before the problem develops further. It’s always possible that there are only a couple of isolated sources from which your harassing calls are coming.
As with any issue that you come in contact with that’s affecting your business, you should gather as much information as you can and keep a record of every event that occurs, and every individual or organization who is involved. The more data you have, the better you can devise a strategy to resolve it for good.
Use Your Blocked Callers List
Hopefully, whatever service provider you’re using for your phone system has a feature that allows you to block specific phone numbers and deny them access to your business completely.
With a Talkroute system, for example, you have a section in the control panel for your phone system where you can input as many phone numbers as you need on your blocked numbers list, so that no calls will ever be able to get through from those numbers. The great thing about a number-blocking feature is that, even though it’s really simple to do, you might be able to stop the problem there without taking any further action.
Unfortunately, it’s very common, once you start getting these calls, to continually get more and more calls coming in from all different numbers and increasing in frequency. That means that you would be constantly putting new numbers on your blocked list, which no business really has time for and doesn’t really solve the problem, anyway.
Obviously, if you’re getting a high volume of unwanted solicitation calls from a large variety of phone numbers, you’re going to need a real solution that stops them from coming in, rather than using a stopgap like this, which will only give you a temporary fix instead of eradicating the problem.
Use the DNC Registry
The national Do-Not-Call Registry is an official channel that you can take advantage of, not just to address an ongoing problem, but also as a preventative measure. Yes, we all know that the official channels for anything don’t always yield dependable results, but this one can actually help.
Before you ever have a problem, you should submit any business phone number to the DNC registry because it’s just good sense and can prevent a future problem with solicitation calls. Once you do add your phone number(s) to the registry, you’ll find that it does decrease the number of unwanted calls that come into your business numbers.
Keep in mind that this is not a 100% fix, but it can significantly reduce the number of unwanted calls that you get. Basically, how it works is that when some organization has you on their own list to call for solicitation, they are legally required to check if your number is in the DNC registry (US numbers), and then if they don’t find that it’s registered, they’re free to call you.
The problem with this, and the reason why it doesn’t work 100% of the time is that not every organization that will call you cares about the DNC list. Some just completely disregard it and call you anyway, whether you’re registered there or not.
It’s not really policed or monitored, which means that unless you file a formal complaint, the government doesn’t care that much, either. You can certainly file a complaint, which we’ll get into later.
Call the Numbers Directly
If you or someone on your team can manage to take the extra time for it, calling back the numbers that are harassing or soliciting your business can actually be worthwhile. It will most likely be pretty underwhelming because what you’ll probably encounter is some weird message or tone indicating that the number isn’t even active, or some prompt telling you information that is completely useless.
Many times, the numbers these calls come from are used for a short time and then deleted by the organization, or they are used by automated “robo-callers” that obviously will provide you no help if you call them back. When you do finally reach someone, though, you can tell them directly that you would like to be placed on their own do-not-call list.
Even if you have to leave a message (which can actually be better because there’s automatically recorded proof that you asked them to be put on their list), telling an organization to put you on their do-not-call list is one of the most productive courses of action that you can take.
At the very least, calling the numbers back will give you helpful information such as if they are coming from an automated source or from a real one. Everything helps and might give you the information you need to solve the problem.
Communicate with Your Own Carrier
Your own carrier or service provider may act on your behalf to stop many of the unwanted calls from coming in, and in fact, this might be a step that you should take earlier on, just to see if they can solve it on their end before it worsens.
Service providers know that this is an increasing issue, and they know that subscribers to their service will be contacting them for help with it. That’s why there’s a good chance that they have protocol in place already, to deal with it.
Remember, though, that they might not be able to do anything more than what we’ve been going over here, although they can still help you through the process of addressing it and help you in your efforts. One thing that could help you when you contact your provider to deal with this issue is to know who you are talking to.
First of all, your best bet is to ask whoever answers the phone to escalate you to the highest supervisor that you can reach because that person will be more likely to give you the help you need. Then, you may encounter a strange problem when you get in touch with that person, which is that the service provider may not be the actual carrier for your business phone number.
They still may be able to help, but some service providers will tell you that there’s nothing they can do and that you’ll need to get in touch with the actual carrier for your number before anyone takes any action on your behalf. Make sure you get the name of that carrier and a number where you can reach them, if this turns out to be the case.
File a Complaint with the FCC
If all else fails, you can always file a formal complaint with the FCC. Again, as we know, you can sometimes run into resistance with official channels; however, the FCC does actually look at every request they get and, though it can take a bit of time, they will get back to you and address the problem for you.
Sometimes, they’ll solve everything for you, and other times, they’ll deal with the current problems you have with unwanted calls and won’t deal with it any further as the problem progresses. This is not necessarily a last-resort effort.
You might even want to use this option in the beginning just to cover all your bases because it can be very effective, depending on the scale of the problem you’re having. To get in touch with the FCC and file a complaint, you can visit their site and start the process using the following link:
This is a problem that is becoming more challenging all the time, but you’re still reading, then you now have at least a plan of attack that can help you get ahead of it. There is unfortunately no solution that can immediately put an end to unwanted calls to your business, which would make this post a lot shorter if there was.
Be that as it may, you can use these pieces of advice to cut out just about all of those frustrating calls, if not all of them. You might have an extensive problem with these callers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. If you consistently take these steps for a period of time, you’ll eventually stop seeing them come in.
And that’s especially where the official channels, such as the national DNC registry and the FCC complaint department come in because the more you put it on the official record, the harder it will be for solicitors to make it through. The best way to deal with it is to stay on top of them consistently and stay in contact with your service provider and carrier. You can most certainly beat them.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.