Today’s contact centers receive a significant amount of inbound calls daily. Though such call volume could be overwhelming, your company can better manage it by extracting valuable information from the customer, such as their phone number. This is possible through Automatic Number Identification (ANI).
ANI is a telecommunications network feature designed to display and capture the calling party’s phone number. AT&T developed it to identify where to bill long-distance calls instead of telephone operators manually requesting the origin number for a toll call.
While similar to the caller ID function, Automatic Number Identification or ANI cannot be blocked, even if users screen their calls. It can bypass these protections and continue transmitting the information. ANI also uses a different technology from modern caller ID, making it useful for quick dispatching during emergencies since it can approximate the caller’s geographical location.
ANI delivers the phone number data in conjunction with the call through a digital multi-frequency tone. The data burst contains a specific number with various lengths ranging from one to eight digits.
Companies and organizations have two ways to access ANI data—through installed equipment and monthly subscription statements. The destination telephone company’s switching office passes on the originating telephone numbers to their subscribed clients. Calls from outbound VoIP service and calling cards send working numbers as ANI, whereas operator-assisted won’t register any data, only the area code of the routed call.
How Is ANI Used in Call Centers?
In call centers, ANI shows the originating call’s phone number to the agent in real-time. Companies can forward calls to the nearest office based on the calling party’s area code with the right infrastructure in place. Also, it lets them quickly match the caller with the best-suited team to handle their concerns or a particular region.
Call centers may also use ANI data to cross-reference against the customer database and divert inbound calls to teams according to the client’s needs or characteristics. With the information at hand and access to the customer database, agents can easily retrieve account information and quickly verify the caller’s identity.
ANI in Contact Centers
Contact centers are similar to call centers but have more points of customer contact besides phone calls. Emails, social media, chats, and text messages are communication channels that customers, especially digitally savvy ones, can use to get in touch with companies.
ANI data comes in handy for contact centers in the same way as it does for call centers, matching the phone number to an existing customer account.
Why ANI Provides Value
Having ANI services is beneficial to call centers and contact centers in several ways:
- Deliver Better Customer Experience: When ANI data matches existing account information, the receiving agent can immediately recognize the caller, properly greet them, and promptly address their concerns. Such a level of personalization establishes good rapport with the customer, making them feel valued throughout the call.
- Have a More Efficient Workforce: Leveraging ANI data with the customer database allows call center agents to focus on providing value-adding services, spending less time gathering data to authenticate a caller’s identity.
- Gather Relevant Data: If there’s no ANI match to a particular account for the originating phone number, some systems store and use the information in prompting customers to update their profile. This functionality simplifies obtaining information necessary for lead generation, promotion, and account security.
What’s the Difference Between ANI and DNIS?
At a glance, ANI and Domain Number Identification Service (DNIS) are often lumped together and confused as being the same. This is because both features of a telecommunications network allow users to know more about the incoming connection. However, the similarity ends there.
DNIS identifies the phone number originally dialed by the caller. Businesses with toll-free numbers and multiple phone numbers—often to serve a different purpose—direct their calls to the same contact center. With DNIS, the call center’s interactive voice response system may tailor a greeting, offer several menu options, and forward the call to the most appropriate team or agent.
DNIS information is important for companies, particularly in gauging how effective their marketing efforts are. Data analysis will reveal which advertised phone numbers had the most inbound calls and the highest conversion rates. They can utilize the data to maximize the allocation and spending of their marketing budget.
Compared to DNIS, ANI provides different information about inbound connections and benefits to call centers. Having ANI or Automatic Number Identification services will improve customer experience and workforce efficiency.