As an insurance agent — or any type of sales professional — it’s critical to have a clear understanding of how outbound telephone calls are delivered.
Not only does this improve the likelihood of connecting with prospects, but it helps you avoid legal trouble.
With robocalls and spoofed calling numbers picking up steam over the past five to seven years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been vocal in its encouragement of the telecommunications industry to take action. And that’s where STIR/SHAKEN comes into play.
TransNexus shares a comprehensive, easy to understand definition of STIR/SHAKEN:
“STIR/SHAKEN uses digital certificates, based on common public key cryptography techniques, to ensure the calling number of a telephone call is secure. In simple terms, each telephone service provider obtains their digital certificate from a certificate authority who is trusted by other telephone service providers. The certificate technology enables the called party to verify that the calling number is accurate and has not been spoofed.”
What Do STIR and SHAKEN Stand For?
As noted above, STIR and SHAKEN is a new technology standard designed to reduce “phone spam.”
STIR stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited. SHAKEN stands for Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs
With a growing number of insurance agents relying on VoIP providers, it’s natural for the biggest names in this space to also take advantage of STIR/SHAKEN. Of course, they didn’t have much of a choice after the FCC mandated that they take action.
In a June 30, 2021 press release, the FCC noted that the “largest voice service providers are now using STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standards in their IP networks.”
Here’s What it Does
By now, you probably realize that STIR/SHAKEN is a good thing. You may also realize that it could affect how you connect with prospects over the phone.
Implementation of caller ID authentication technology using STIR/SHAKEN standards are designed to do the following:
- Reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing.
- Make it easier for law enforcement agencies to identify people who are violating the law.
- Help service providers identically illegally spoofed caller ID information before reaching subscribers, thus saving them from receiving the call.
If you’re “playing by the rules,” you don’t have much to worry about. However, you should still learn more about STIR/SHAKEN and the potential impact on your insurance business.
How to Prepare for the Future of STIR/SHAKEN
STIR/SHAKEN isn’t something to ignore. T
his is true regardless of if you make your own calls or have a team of people assisting you.
Here are some of the things you can do today to prepare for the future of STIR/SHAKEN:
- Contact your carrier: This gives you the opportunity to discuss the ins and outs of STIR/SHAKEN implementation, including where it currently stands and any changes that are in store. It’s also a good time to ask about the steps you can take to ensure that your calls receive an “A” rating. You have a business to run. You don’t want any trouble for violating STIR/SHAKEN standards.
- Prepare for future problems: For example, if you make a lot of calls, there may come a point when you realize that many of them are being blocked. It’s not necessarily because you are doing something wrong, but because your volume is high. Work with your service provider to understand the problem and potential solutions. You can rotate the calling numbers you use or validate numbers with your carrier.
- Conduct test calls: You have a lot on your plate, so the last thing you want to do is spend an excessive amount of time making test calls. But if you don’t do this upfront, it could come back to bite you in the future. Should you run into any issues — such as blocking or inaccurate labels — report it to your carrier. They can provide guidance on how to avoid trouble with future calls.
Questions for Your Carrier
In the previous section, we noted the importance of contacting your carrier to learn more about STIR/SHAKEN. Here are some questions that can kick start the conversation and help you clear the air:
- Have you implemented STIR/SHAKEN?
- What impact will STIR/SHAKEN have on my business, based on the volume of calls I make?
- Are there any specific steps I can take to receive an “A” rating?
- What’s the best protocol if I begin to run into issues?
- Are there any changes in store for STIR/SHAKEN that I should prepare for now?
Will STIR/SHAKEN Result in More Call Connections?
As an insurance agent, you know how big of a struggle it can be to connect with prospects on the phone. And if you’re spending money on leads, you know that time is of the essence. If you’re not early to the party, there’s a good chance another agent will grab the sale before you arrive.
But here’s the million-dollar question: Will STIR/SHAKEN help boost the number of prospects you connect with via phone?
While everyone hopes that this will happen in time, there will be some wrinkles to iron out. Remember, STIR/SHAKEN is relatively new.
As a legitimate business caller, there’s always a chance your calls could be flagged as having low-attestation levels.
Tip: If you find this to be an ongoing issue, contact your carrier to learn more about your options.
In the future, STIR/SHAKEN may introduce technology that enables carriers to assign authority to telephone numbers associated with business enterprises.
No matter how you generate insurance leads, it’s important to have a strategy in place for reaching as many prospects as possible.
With basic knowledge of STIR/SHAKEN standards, you can take steps to connect with more leads via phone. And when you do that, you’re in a better position to grow your business.If you have any other questions or concerns about STIR/SHAKEN, telecommunications technology, or cold calling, review our blog. There’s a good chance you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.