One way to stop the scourge of nuisance calls is to block them before your phone even rings. In this guest post, TalkTalk’s CEO explains how and why they’ve introduced a service to block calls at a network level.
Anyone who’s ever received persistent scam or marketing calls will agree that it is a menace and not something we should have to put up with.
Customers I talk to tell me that getting calls from suspected scammers, along with aggressive marketing calls, are one of the more stressful experiences they encounter.
This echoes research by Which?, who found that eight in 10 people received an unsolicited call on their landline last month, with one third saying they’ve felt intimidated by such calls. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Technology exists to tackle the problem head on, and this is why earlier this month TalkTalk became the first phone provider to allow customers to identify nuisance callers, report them and, in certain cases, block them at a network level if there is evidence of misconduct that breaches a strict set of rules.
How does it work?
The service allows TalkTalk homes to report suspected scam or nuisance callers for investigation. Two key categories that the team block are:
- Repeat likely scam calls: for example, where a customer has received more than 10 calls from the offending number in the past 7 days and if when calling back the number is unobtainable (and not the official BT service message) or cannot be identified by its voicemail or IVR message, TalkTalk might block this number. These are often scam calls.
- Nuisance Sales & Marketing calls: excessive and persistent cold calls from call centre operators or automated recorded messages, for example those that call in excess of 30 calls to a customer within 7 days. During a recent trial of the service, the team received reports of companies calling customers over 65 times in a week.
Each investigation can include assessing how frequently that number has called the customer, whether there are multiple complaints about the number, and calling the number to identify the originator.
What else are we doing?
As well as enabling customers to report suspected wrongdoers, it’s important to provide a range of tools to empower those at the receiving end of the calls. TalkTalk homes receive free caller display, as well as more advanced optional features like anonymous caller reject. This is supported with advice on ways our customers can manage unwanted calls.
Like Which?, I believe that it’s time nuisance calls are consigned once and for all to history. I’m pleased with the focus the issue is receiving in Parliament and our new service has even been welcomed by Ed Vaizey, Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and backed by politicians including Mike Crockart MP.
There’s certainly a great deal more that can be done and we would encourage other ISPs to follow our lead to help prevent British homes from becoming victims to nuisance calls.
Would you like your provider to introduce a nuisance call blocking service?
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk. All opinions expressed here are Dido’s own, not necessarily those of Which?