Unknown Number Rage

Some random thoughts about how annoying I find blocked or unknown phone numbers.


UPDATE: Ok, somebody has emailed me a possible legitimate reason for with-held numbers. A&E for example - if they rang you and you rang the number back you wouldn’t want the A&E to answer would you? I mean you’d not know why etc. That’s fair enough I guess, however I still think they’ll have the issue of nobody answers. I still stand by my original idea that unknown/withheld numbers are rubbish.

Original Article
I’m a big fan of Unified Communications - which is fortunate as that’s pretty much what my job is. Now, UC is great from two main perspectives. Firstly, it gives me information that enables me to decide on the most relevant way to communicate with somebody - for example based on their presence status I can decide whether to use instant messaging, Email, or good old telephony.

Conversely, it means that I can decide how other people communicate with me. If you’re reading this article you’re broadly aware of what UC is about.

Anyways, there’s one particular piece to this puzzle that to this day still gives me the massive frustrations. It’s such a simple thing, and yet causes no end of issues... So what is this big thing that I hate? Well, consider this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 18.49.24

How very annoying, and completely pointless, is that? No, I not talking about Morph, I’m talking about the ‘Blocked’ Caller ID.

Telephony can be quite a disruptive form of communication. You have to deal with the person, and their issue, on their schedule. It helps if you know who is calling. Personally, when I receive calls that are blocked or ‘Unknown Caller’ I simply don’t answer them. They can have some of my voicemail. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message and I can deal with it on my schedule.

Answering a call to somebody when I don’t know who it is - well it’s like saying that whatever I’m doing right now is less important than what this unknown person wants to talk to me about. A little extreme maybe but still a valid point.

On the few instances I have answered these calls, it’s typically turned out to be sales calls or the like. Equally frustrating.

I don’t understand what the benefit would be of blocking your outgoing Caller ID when you make a call. At a guess I’d say it’s when you don’t want the receiver to know that it’s you calling - but that doesn’t really work does it? They’ll know the second they answer the phone... or, more likely in my case, you’ll simply get their voicemail.

There are still a few big companies around that do this. Microsoft Product Support is one for example.

I think it’s at best disruptive and worse rude.

I personally prefer it when you call from a DDI extension that it actually publishes your DDI number rather than the generic switchboard. This is even more useful given extension mobility and the like. I can carry my DDI with me wherever I go. Even so, just having the switch board number is better than blocked or unknown.

Come on people, think this through when you’re planning your telephony. Give people the tools and the methods to best work with your company. Or put it another way, making it harder to do business with people just, well, makes it harder.... and less likely to happen.

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