‘Greater transparency’ is what the FCC listed as one of the goals of its Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center: the primary online destination for learning about consumer telecommunications issues, filing informal consumer complaints, and finding out what other consumers are concerned about.
The growing volume of unwanted and illegal calls has been high on the concern list for many years now, and the complaints logged by diligent consumers via the Consumer Complaints Data Center are a window into the individual events taking place via phone that can add up to negative brand perception on a larger scale.
The FCC acts as an independent U.S. Federal agency, overseen by Congress, that regulates interstate and international communications. As such, the FCC has maintained a self-service online hub for consumers to submit complaints about unwanted, illegal, or unidentified robocalls at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/. This database provides useful information for future potential FCC enforcement initiatives as evidence against potentially illicit or negligent caller and their subsequent upstream provider.
Typically, these reports are submitted by citizens who feel bombarded by “unwanted” phone calls or believe the call is a fraudulent scam that needs exposing. The ticket information is inputted by the consumer, which is then added to the database without any verification for accuracy by the FCC; the database is purely informational based on how the consumer perceives the call.
As per the FCC, “The information provided is information selected by the consumer when they file an informal complaint with the FCC. The FCC does not verify the facts alleged in the complaints.”
Have you ever been told, “We’re seeing some complaints associated with your calls,” or been denied by your service provider on an ask without understanding why? If you have, you’re not alone. Knowledge is power, so monitoring FCC complaint data is critical to understanding your brand’s calling reputation. We’re adding another layer of visibility into phone numbers and calling campaigns by providing our customers with any FCC Consumer Complaint Data Center information about their outbound phone numbers, accessible within the same portal used to access our standard reputation management data. Available to customers who have vetted and registered their phone numbers in our Entity Identity Management platform, customers will have a new dashboard to view and download any consumer complaints filed in relation to their calls or phone numbers.
Customers seeking to better understand the dialing portion of their business can use this added data layer, especially for numbers tagged with improper spam or scam labels where complaints also exist. The FCC, service providers, and call filtering analytics providers all consider the FCC’s consumer complaint data when making decisions like which callers should be a target for enforcement, whether to approve your request for higher call capacity or lower pricing, or whether to apply a label to your calls.
The downloadable Consumer Complaint Report will help you drill down into why complaints are being logged concerning that phone number. Does the call contain problematic or confusing information? Is it the frequency of the call? Is the call considered “unwanted?” Integrating this data into the Numeracle portal offers an additional source to suggest improvements to your outbound calling. This report will also be used to review lessons learned from numbers that have already received complaints in the FCC database to course-correct for the future.
Having complaints filed against your phone numbers doesn’t mean you’ll also definitely see those same numbers bearing scam or spam labels. Still, if you learn that one or more of your phone numbers is in the FCC database with complaints filed against it, this can impact more than number reputation. This can affect your brand's reputation and how it’s generally interpreted in the market.
Unlike spam labeling, the unwanted call complaint data is a one-way submission from the consumer to the FCC, so there is no way for anyone to remove or dispute complaints already submitted to the FCC. Regardless of whether the complaint is valid, it can negatively impact your brand’s reputation and outcomes.
Like any public complaint system, the FCC and others recognize that complaints aren’t always valid and consumers sometimes make mistakes. Having a rare complaint may not mean that there is any action you need to take. When reviewing any complaints, look carefully at the details like submission dates, what phone numbers were listed, and other information the complainant provided.
If you have multiple complaints associated with your brand, consider the proportion of complaints to your call activity. Very few consumers actually submit complaints, and only some end up doing so with the FCC. Accordingly, carriers typically view complaints as representative of a larger number of consumers that may have had the same concern but did not file complaints.
If you have multiple complaints associated with your brand during the last 30 or 60 days, consider related call campaigns and whether there are changes you may want to make to your contact lists, dialing strategy, or messaging, particularly if you are also experiencing spam or scam labeling on related calls.
Reputation management, in an end-to-end sense, goes way beyond how your calls are labeled on any given day on any given carrier network. Preserving and improving the perception of your brand for the long run in the consumer ecosystem takes adherence to best practices, consideration of consumer preference to be contacted, and a great deal of care to communicate respectfully with consistency.
By giving you direct access to this new data source, we hope to help you widen your understanding of how your brand is perceived by the customers you’re engaging with based on the existing complaints logged against you. While not every complaint leads to a negative call label, the data is an early indicator that consumers are reacting negatively to your brand. Complaints can also help you understand the consumer geography based on where the complaints are coming from – you get to see who is complaining and learn more about them to help you drill down to the originating events.
Although complaints can’t be removed in the same way Numeracle can remediate negative labels appearing on mobile devices across the carrier ecosystem, monitoring FCC complaint information empowers brands to better understand some underlying data that could impact their call perception and reputation. Numeracle has been here since day one to help you cut through the confusion and put you in the driver's seat to understand your reputation across the calling industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about phone number reputation, including our FCC Complaints Summary feature and visual confirmation of call display via Number Check, reach out to us at https://www.numeracle.com/contact-us. Service provider or BPO looking to deliver our FCC Complaints Summary and more great features to your install base? We’re happy to discuss our partnership and white-label programs with you today.