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5 Best Practices for Setting Caller Name

With the ever-increasing volume of robocalls, people are refusing to answer a phone because the Caller ID isn’t recognized or looks suspicious. Your business Caller ID Name (CNAM) may seem like a minor detail, but sometimes the Caller ID and that string of 15 characters in CNAM can determine whether or not a customer will answer your calls. That’s why it’s important for you to set a Caller ID value that will communicate information about your company.

Here are five best practices for setting the Caller Name of a company or enterprise.

1. Make it Accurate

It’s not only good business to provide the person receiving calls with truthful information, it’s illegal to misrepresent a business name via caller name. Beyond fines, inaccuracies can damage the company brand. Be specific to the company name and don’t create a misleading Caller ID. If the CNAM value looks like a scam, it may increase the chance of being labeled as nuisance.

Ensure that the CNAM value looks like something that people will feel comfortable answering. Once the CNAM value has been set, it should show up on every call where CNAM is enabled on the receiving end.

2. Keep it Short

As CNAM values are limited to 15 characters, there isn’t much space to get information to the consumer. It’s important that the most vital identifying information is provided. If this means including an abbreviated business name, do so in a way that still conveys the identity of the company. For example, remove “LLC”. If the business name contains a written number, shorten it like this: “Seventh” can become “7th.”

Abbreviations have the added benefit of saving space so more information can be inserted, providing clarity. However, don’t use an abbreviation if it will make the text look strange, or disrupt the meaning of the CNAM value. Also, avoid using values with uncommon keyboard characters and symbols as some CNAM providers and end-user devices are unable to display values with special characters such as %, $, @, ?, etc.

While ‘Telo USA, Inc’ is the official name of our company, the CNAM is shortened to “TELO” for our main line and “TELO SUPPORT” for our support line. This keeps it simple, while still conveying the necessary information.

3. Keep it Local

Use telephone numbers that are local to the customer base. This is not as necessary if the customers are throughout the country. However, if for primarily local business, answer rates will be higher by using a business phone number that shares the common area code. This instills trust and helps ensure that customers pick up when they see a call even when they may not recognize the full phone number. Keep in mind that while a company shouldn’t be misrepresented, a number should be chosen that will be most advantageous to reaching consumers.

4. Be Specific

Be specific with the name. In particular, avoid using a city or state since many scammers and robocalls use location information to mislead customers. Similarly, avoid ambiguous names such as “UNKNOWN” or “UNAVAILABLE” since most telecommunications companies restrict these names for specific situations such as inactive lines. Unless explicitly stated in the company name, avoid pronouns as they are generally unprofessional. For example, avoid using “My” or “Your.”

Consider setting up separate phone lines for individual departments. If there are departments that make calls more often, consider using a specific CNAM value for each. For example, adding “SALES” or “SUPPORT” to the Caller ID Name gives it a personalized touch while also helping to distinguish who is calling.

5. Be Consistent

When there are multiple locations that a company is based from, it’s important to keep CNAM information consistent throughout the company. Customers will be confused if the CNAM displays different versions of the company’s name each time a call is received. Test the CNAM from each location to verify that they are consistent and working properly.

Once the ideal CNAM values have been determined, make sure the information is properly updated. This can be done by calling the telephone service provider and asking the representative to update Caller ID information. Some service providers may even provide the ability to update this information using an online portal.


Our 1-sheet overview containing Telo’s recommendations on setting CNAM can be found here. This may be especially helpful to a support team when providing information to consumers on setting CNAM values.

If there are issues with setting the CNAM value, or a greater understanding of the CNAM display process would be helpful - Check out this blog post where we dive into the details of how CNAM works and why CNAM may not display or displays incorrectly when making outbound calls.

The Caller ID product is advanced. Everything else is simple.