What Is CLI, and Why Does It Matter In Call Centers? 

Uncover the various applications of CLI in the contact center

What Is CLI, and Why Does It Matter to Call Centers? 
Contact CentreInsights

Last Edited: June 1, 2023

Rebekah Carter

CLI, otherwise known as “call line identity,” is far from one of the newest technologies to emerge in the contact center landscape. Nevertheless, it still offers significant value to many operations.

Introduced initially for the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) landscape, CLI has remained a core component of many contact center platforms since the 1970s.

Here’s everything companies need to know about the benefits of CLI.

What Is Call Line Identity (CLI)?

CLI is a telephony tool that adds context to inbound calls. For instance, it may highlight the caller’s location, associated organization, or – in some cases – even their name.

While it is alternatively known as calling line identification or caller ID, CLI refers to the same technology.

CLI is present in all the modern telephony systems that consumers and enterprises use.

Traditionally, telephony providers applied it to analog telephony and PSTN networks, but there are also CLI solutions for VoIP contact centers.

Why Does It Matter In the Contact Center?

A contact center may harness CLI data in several ways. These include:

  • Routing Customers to Agents – An automatic call distribution (ACD) system may use caller ID to pinpoint the caller’s location and route the interaction to an agent who covers that location. In multilingual inbound contact centers, such a capability is particularly beneficial.
  • Delivering Customer Context to Agents – A carrier-based CLI system integrates with computer telephony software to match caller numbers with customer records fetched from the CRM. Agents can look up contextual information on that customer and deliver an improved service experience.
  • Filtering out Illegitimate Calls – In telecom, there are white routes where the source and destination of a call comprise legal terminations. If a call originates from an illegal termination point, a CLI system can filter it out to enhance contact center efficiency.

Apart from this, outbound contact centers (or any support hub equipped with outbound functionalities) rely on CLI to communicate transparently with customers.

If someone has requested a callback or the organization is reaching out with relevant product information/updates, the CLI assures customers that the call is legitimate.

Indeed, the customer can see the organization’s name and location, without which there is a high possibility that customers would reject the call.

Can You Restrict CLI Functionalities?

Some services prevent the number from showing up when initiating an outbound call, commonly known as calling line identity restriction or CLIR.

However, use this feature with caution, as there are likely regulations in place to control non-transparent telephony practices.

For example, in 2009, the US enacted the Truth in Caller ID law, which forbids individuals and businesses from making calls under a different number or showing a number that appears to originate from a country other than the caller’s actual country of origin.

Many consider the practice, sometimes referred to as “CLI stuffing”, unethical, and contact centers should avoid this.




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