This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Call filtering refers to a set of tools used to screen, block, and route inbound calls. Voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) services provide various call filter technologies to prevent spam and forward calls based on caller information or your schedule. These tools help increase productivity while reducing call center or answering service expenses. We’ll explain what call filtering is more in-depth and when to use it.
How Call Filtering Works
A call filter technology analyzes incoming calls and can block certain numbers or routes calls to people or voicemail systems based on preset rules. This saves your team from having to manually screen calls. The technology uses spam databases, analytics, and contact lists to identify robocalls, and some business phone systems offer a feature that asks callers to say their name, giving you the option to pick up or send it to voicemail.
VoIP providers with advanced tools also support personal blocklists as another way to filter calls. They also allow you to avoid calls from an entire area code. In addition, some applications allow you to block all numbers that aren’t on your contact list.
Wireless and VoIP providers offer several call handling features that fall under call filtering, including the following:
- Spam detection
- Call logs for blocked numbers and spam
- Allowlists and blocklists
- Caller identification (ID)
- Routing to voicemail, based on caller ID
- Unwanted call reporting
- Caller name announcement
- Ability to listen to a voicemail live before picking up
- Redirecting calls based on your status or schedule
How to Filter Your Calls
There are several ways to filter your calls using call blocker apps or carrier-based technologies. A third-party screening application works with your existing phone services to prevent robocalls. Android and iOS devices have built-in call filtering tools you can toggle on or off. In addition, wireless and VoIP providers offer general and advanced features based on your service plan.
To know what is call filtering and how it works, look at the features offered by your current phone service. For example, GoTo Connect can play a message to spam callers before ending the call, or you can route people according to their caller ID. Webex voice solutions let you create custom rules for sending calls to your number to your assistant. Verizon’s Call Filter Plus includes a spam meter and reporting features.
You can enable call filtering features through your user portal or mobile app in most cases. Configure your account by adding numbers to your contact and block lists, turning on the call announcement feature, and setting up the do not disturb (DND) function.
Benefits of Call Filtering
According to YouMail, “Americans received 50.5 billion robocalls in 2021.” Spam and scam calls cost businesses money and waste time. Call blockers, screening, and filtering tools reduce unwanted phone calls, allowing you and your employees to manage time better and focus on tasks. You can use these features to boost workplace productivity while reducing costs linked to inefficiencies.
Increase Staff Productivity
Seventy-three percent of respondents to an Ooma study agreed that “robocalls waste time and reduce their team’s productivity because they must stop what they’re doing, answer the phone, and figure out if the call is legitimate.” In addition, 44% said they “distract from authentic calls, from current or potential customers and partners.”
Call filter technology blocks unnecessary calls or all inbound communications when using the do not disturb (DND) feature. You can also create allowlists for known contacts or get calls from certain people even if your status is set to DND.
Improve Employee Experiences
Call management systems reduce worker frustration by preventing spam calls and letting them report and block undesired numbers. Instead of task switching, your teams can use call filtering tools and concentrate on their meeting or project without missing important calls. Even minor improvements to employee experiences may reduce turnover and increase engagement.
Ooma found that 84% of businesses “get robocalls every day, with 54% receiving five or more per day, at an average cost of $9.46 per call.” Other expenses stem from lost productivity and increased employee turnover. Call filtering tools reduce time-wasting activities and even improve customer experiences by routing them to an assistant when you’re unavailable.
Decreasing unwanted calls also helps prevent fraud. Scammers use personal and business data to lure professionals into providing account information or approving new charges. Each scam call you stop is one less risk to your company.
Disadvantages of Call Filtering
The introduction of call screening, blocking, and filtering technologies has mostly resulted in positive outcomes for businesses and consumers. But, not all applications can unmask blocked calls or correctly identify spam, and your customers may use the same tools and accidentally flag your automatic calls as spam.
Risk Sending Unknown Leads to Voicemail
As the number of consumers using virtual and VoIP phone services increases, there’s a greater chance that your detection and screening tools could send unknown numbers directly to voicemail or block them altogether. Fortunately, advanced technologies reduce these risks.
It’s important to verify that your phone provider uses the STIR/SHAKEN technology to avoid falsely identifying reputable calls as spam. The secure telephone identity revisited (STIR) and signature-based handling of asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards authenticate phone numbers.
Consumers May Block Legitimate Calls
Since people with cell phones or VoIP services use call blocker technologies, they may reject calls from legitimate businesses. The increase in call spoofing and scams makes consumers more reluctant to answer the phone. Ooma’s survey found that 20% of respondents believe “fraudulent robocalls discredit the legitimate business-related robocalls (such as appointment reminders) we place to our customers.”
Use Cases for Call Filtering
Nearly every small to mid-sized business (SMB) and enterprise benefits from call filter technology. Call screening and blocking tools work for all industries and departments. According to the Ooma survey, 58% of respondents say their front desk or reception phone lines receive the highest number of robocalls versus 30% for customer service and 27% for sales.
Send Calls to Your Assistant Automatically
You may want to filter calls if you’re an executive with an assistant. Doing so can ensure your phone lines are covered when you’re unavailable or in a meeting. For example, enable the call filtering option on Webex by Cisco services to forward all calls or only internal or external ones. You can also send most calls to voicemail, except for preselected contacts like your very important people (VIPs).
Join a Conference Without Missing Important Calls
Many people power off their phones or put them on silent before heading into a long meeting. However, there are times when missing a call isn’t possible, and neither are constant interruptions. Call filtering lets you receive calls from a specific person or group of people and send the rest to your voicemail or assistant.
Redirect Inbound Calls to the Appropriate Team Member
If your business has several phone numbers, you may receive calls that should go to a different employee. A call filter application sends calls from specific phone numbers or geographic regions to a different phone number.
VoIP Providers With Call Filtering
Think about the types of call filtering tools you want before choosing a VoIP provider. Some offer basic spam detection and call blocking, whereas others provide advanced features, such as call announce and call routing based on caller ID. In addition, phone carriers may use the term call screening to describe call filtering features.
Click on the tabs below to learn more about the VoIP providers offering call filtering as a service or feature:
GoTo Connect’s inbound call filters let you prioritize VIP callers, choose the do not disturb status, and block robocalls. You can terminate spam calls instantly or play a message saying the phone number is out of service first. Use the online portal to set up call filtering for unlimited numbers and customize your settings.
Pricing starts at $22 per user, per month for two to 10 people with annual prepayment. Plans include a business phone number, smart call routing, and an auto-attendant. Plus, Standard, and Premium packages provide unmetered calls to more than 50 countries.
Activate or deactivate call filtering tools from your desk phone or user portal. Webex voice packages offer executive call filtering, do not disturb, and caller ID. The executive assistant feature lets you assign team members to your shared line pool and pick which calls to route to your assistants and when.
Sign up for the Webex Call plan, starting at $17 per user, per month for unlimited calling, 50-minute video conferences, and visual voicemail. Bundle your VoIP services with premium meeting features for additional features and savings.
Block entire area codes or incoming calls and faxes without caller ID using RingCentral’s screening features. The services also include allowlists and caller ID. You can write the script for a custom courtesy message blocked callers hear and configure call forwarding based on your schedule.
RingCentral plans start at $19.99 per user, per month for two to 20 people with annual billing. The Essentials package comes with unmetered calls in the U.S. and Canada, a business or toll-free number, and voicemail-to-text.
VoIP Business Digital Voice from Verizon offers more than 45 calling features, including do not disturb (DND), outbound caller ID blocking, selective call rejection, and call waiting with caller ID. All users can define criteria for call blocking on individual lines and access features through an online portal, softphone app, or desk phone.
One to five phone lines cost $0 to $35 each if you have Fios service. Verizon also provides free and paid call filter applications for mobile phones. The iOS and Android apps detect and prevent spam on smartphones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is it different from call blocking & screening?
Call filtering is a general term that describes several functions and services used for screening, redirecting, and blocking calls. Call screening and blocking may be standalone applications or specific to particular devices or business phone systems. In many cases, telecommunication carriers may use the phrase call screening and call filtering interchangeably.
What is spam call filtering?
Spam call filter technology labels calls as spam, blocks them, or sends them to voicemail. It’s a feature you can enable on individual user accounts or systemwide. The services use an analytics engine to compare incoming numbers to public and company-owned databases and label known telemarketing numbers or spammers.
What is call filter for Verizon?
Verizon offers a call filter app for iOS and Android mobile phones. It automatically detects spam callers based on your risk level settings and blocks calls that meet the parameters. You can use call filter for free with Verizon service or upgrade to Call Filter Plus to access features like a personal blocklist and spam risk meter.
Call filtering tools can help your business detect and decrease unwanted calls while ensuring your top clients and family can always reach you. Configure your mobile app or VoIP systems to redirect or terminate calls based on custom rules. Explore your options by checking out RingCentral, Verizon, Webex by Cisco, or GoTo Connect services.