Caller ID Improvements
Our Enhanced Parent Communication (EPC) product has been making phone calls using toll-free phone numbers from our voice call API vendor. It also uses the name, "TeacherEase." We’ve received feedback that parents often won’t answer calls from unknown numbers, and schools would prefer the caller ID to be set to the school/district office phone number and district name. This is a feature in most autodialer products.
In the latest release, we implemented the ability to change the caller ID name. So instead of showing “TeacherEase” it can show the district name (for district-wide announcements) or school name (for school-specific announcements). This is configured on Communication Options.
School District Admin Main > Communications > Options
We attempted to update the caller ID phone number too, but this practice is no longer allowable (as of 7/1/2021). There is a new law intended to combat robocalls and associated fraud, and affects all autodialers too. The telecom industry has implemented a framework called “STIR/SHAKEN,” which restricts the ability to spoof caller ID phone numbers. It assigns a level of trust to outbound calls. Receiving telecom providers deliver “verified” calls but penalize low trust calls with spam/fraud warnings or outright filtering. Consumers are urged not to answer spam/fraud calls.
Without getting too technical, if we set the school/district’s phone number in caller ID, our calls will be low trust (similar to robocalls), and would be flagged/filtered. After thoughtful consideration, we decided not to enable this feature yet.
One possible solution would be for schools/districts to port one of their existing phone numbers to our API provider. Your phone number would no longer be available to your existing phone system, but it could be used for autodialer calls. Feel free to reach out, if you’re interested or would like more information.
Over time, all API providers hope to provide better screening of their customers and offer enhanced services to verified ones (like us). At that point they should be able to verify calls from school/district phone numbers. This likely won’t happen until 2022, unfortunately. Since this situation is suboptimal for our customers, we reached out to multiple vendors. They all seem to be in a similar situation, and have comparable implementation timelines. We didn’t find any vendor that offers a solution today. We’ll stay abreast of the situation, and will provide updates as they become available.
The Common Goal Team