You sometimes forget when terms come off as jargon when you work in the phone call answering service industry. We know what call screening is, but we realize that not everyone does. If you’ve heard the term before, but aren’t quite sure of the ins and outs of call screening or the tools and services for screening calls, you’ve come to the right place. This is our definitive guide to what is call screening.
What is call screening?
Call screening is the process of evaluating the characteristics of a telephone call before deciding how or whether to answer it.
Why screen your calls?
There are several reasons why one would want to screen their calls. Some want to avoid nuisance callers or telemarketers. Others know that each caller may need to be dealt with in a specific manner, and may need to mentally prepare for that person. In general, it is more time efficient to know who and what you’ll be dealing with for each call, so that you may prepare. It’s a good way to optimize your time.
Some Less-Effective Methods of Call Screening
- If you chose to let a call go to voicemail to learn who was calling and/or for what reason they were calling, then call them back, that is a form of call screening.
- Whenever you check a caller ID display to determine whether or not you’re going to answer a call, that’s also call screening.
- Another way of call screening is checking the time or date a call or message was received. If it was received last week and you’ve since spoken to that person, you’ll know you’ve likely already covered the information with them at that time. Thus, not needing to return the call.
- You know how on the radio, they’re always asking you to call in? They don’t place callers directly on the radio line. They pre-screen callers (to make sure, you know, they aren’t insane and that they have something valuable to add) through a request line.
Call Screening Tech Tools
- Nomorobo automatically blocks robot calls, yet filters through the recorded robot calls that are more important, like weather alerts and school closures.
- PrivacyStar shows you both the caller’s name and why they are calling. Every month PrivacyStar identifies and blocks millions of unwanted phone calls while delivering hundreds of thousands of complaints against offending callers directly to the FTC.
- The CPR V5000 Call Blocker can block robocalls, political calls, scam calls, unwanted calls at the touch of a button.
- Tel-Sentry V2.2 Smart Automatic Blocking, Block All Spam Calls, Election Calls without Relying on Black List
How to Block a number on a Landline or Home Phone
Comcast call blocking
When you don’t want to be interrupted by certain callers, you may add them to your blocked number list with Call Screening. It allows you to create a list of up to 12 numbers that will hear a message saying you’re not accepting calls.
According to the XFINITY website:
To activate Call Screening:
- Lift the receiver and listen for the dial tone.
- Press *60.
- A menu of options will guide you through this feature. The prompts will allow you to activate and deactivate the feature, and add, delete, or review the numbers on your list.
To deactivate Call Screening:
- Lift the receiver and listen for the dial tone.
- Press *80.
- After being prompted, press 3 to turn the feature off.
Note: When creating your list, enter the area code plus the 7-digit number for both local and domestic long-distance numbers. Call Screening is not available with Hunt Group
How to Block calls on Landline, AT&T
The same way as Comcast! Follow the instructions listed above and you shouldn’t have any issues. They suggest that if, on the off chance, you’re using a rotary phone, you use the numbers ’11’ in place of the asterisks mentioned above. For example, if you’re enabling the Anonymous Call Rejection, you would dial *77 on a touch-tone phone, or 1177 on a rotary phone.
Another feature AT&T offers is a Distinctive Ring feature. This allows for two phone numbers to reach a single analog phone, but being able to decipher which number is being called based on the tone of the ring. You could screen business versus personal calls with this method, for example.
How to Block a number on a Cell Phone
The process is a little different if you’re looking to block a number on your cell phone. It also differs depending if your phone has an iOS or an Android operating system, and can differ from phone-to-phone. You may have to search for blocking instructions for your specific device, but below are some basics.
iPhone Call Blocking
Assuming you have iOS 7 or later, all you need to do is follow these instructions:
Tap the main Settings icon when viewing the home screen. Depending on your version of iOS, you may find the call blocking menu in a different place. With iOS 10, it is accessed by scrolling down to Phone; on earlier versions, you’ll find it by tapping on General first, then Phone. On the following screen, under the Calls section, you’ll find a menu item listed as either Call Blocking & Identification or simply Blocked. Either will take you to a page where you can add a number. Alternatively, you may select either the Messages or FaceTime option from Settings to access the same Blocked menu offered through the Phone settings.
Android Call Blocking
Unfortunately, not all androids are made equal. Older Android phones may not have a call blocking feature built in, and you may have to download a separate app. But, for Nexus phones that have the 6.0 Marshmallow update or later running, you can do the following, per DigitalTrends.com:
When in the Phone app, tap the more options icon (how to block phone calls on your android smartphone more options 3 dots) next to the microphone. Then, select Settings > Call Blocking and add the number you want to block. You can also go to Call history or Recent calls and tap the number you want to block, then select Block. Here, you can also Report call as spam.
These aren’t the most efficient ways to screen your calls.
I know, that was a lot of information to hit you with before telling you that. The things is, at Apollo Answering Service, we want you to know that you have plenty of options for call screening, though some are better than others. If you’re looking to find the most efficient way to screen your calls, we suggest hiring a reputable call answering service for your small business. Because having a virtual receptionist can benefit you in ways that you wouldn’t even expect.