RespOrg is a telecom term that means “Responsible Organization” as it relates to toll free numbers and who manages and controls them. Most enterprises have the toll free carrier as their responsible organization which, unfortunately, limits the company’s ability to enact various Disaster Recovery and High Availability (DR/HA) scenarios. A carrier toll-free outage caused by a fiber cut, MPLS outage, SD-WAN outage or even due to a toll free database issue,  not only costs a business money due to lost revenue (since they’re not able to receive valuable incoming calls); it can also negatively impact their hard-earned online reputation. In the end, if customers can’t reach a business when needed, the result is poor customer satisfaction and a hit to the bottom line.

In today’s social media world, negative online ratings can happen quickly and can be extremely detrimental. Reviews that are less than stellar may push new customers to the competition and cause existing customers to take a look at other market alternatives. To protect from these types of problems, businesses can subscribe to what is known as a 3rd-party RespOrg company to maintain their toll-free number inventory which gives them the ability to manage toll free call routing THEMSELVES! At CarrierBid, we’ve vetted all of the major players in this space and can help walk businesses through the process. Further, there’s no cost to have us involved.

Imagine subscribing to the same database that all of the carriers use– which gives you the ability to reroute toll free calls in near real-time. If there’s a problem with a provider’s service, within minutes, you can send your calls through an alternative carrier (or many other carriers). The great news is that the service isn’t expensive at all but it certainly provides massive benefits.


Is 3rd-Party RespOrg Carrier Neutral?

Yes, when you change your responsible organization from a single carrier to your own RespOrg ID, you’re suddenly able to route calls to any number of underlying toll free providers with whom you have contractual relationships (we can help with this part too).


How are toll free calls routed?

In the diagram below, you’ll see how toll free calls are processed from the moment a customer picks up the phone until the call is answered by the business contact center. Being your own RespOrg means that you’ll have direct access to the SMS/800 database which sends call control information throughout the network via SCP’s (Service Control Points).


What is a Service Control Point (SCP)?

A Service Control Point is an integral part of the Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) switching system within the global telephone voice network and is used to control call flow.


Do I need toll free disaster recovery?

Even if you’ve built a data and voice network with “East/West” diversely routed fiber, primary and secondary internet connections using BGP (Border Gateway Protocol to ensure one circuit will route traffic in the event of an outage), the simple fact is that outages will happen. In September 2015, a major carrier experienced a massive toll free outage that took down all traffic for most of one full day. Customers who didn’t have the ability to route their own toll free numbers at a higher level, were completely down and couldn’t even reach the carrier to place trouble tickets (since the carrier’s own toll free numbers weren’t functional!). In October 2016, most of the East Coast experienced a toll free outage for nearly an hour.  For more proof, there were other major outages in 2017 and 2018. We could list more problems but–you get the point. Those companies who had foresight to enlist the help of an independent 3rd party RespOrg were able to reroute their calls within minutes.


How does toll free disaster recovery work?

The most effective toll free disaster recovery plan is accomplished by setting up a split traffic scenario where some usage is routed to both a primary and secondary carrier. We typically recommend that our clients give 50% of their traffic to each provider since it tends to give them more rate leverage. In this case, both carriers know that they could lose the business instantly should they have a problem or if one carrier’s pricing is higher. At a minimum, 5% of the traffic should be routed to the backup carrier to ensure that the numbers remain provisioned and active within the carrier toll free switch. Carriers have been known to scrub their switches and subsequently, they remove unused numbers which obviously makes disaster recovery impossible should it ever be needed.


How is Toll Free Disaster Recovery Established and Activated?

  1. We’ll need the CIC codes for each of the carriers to whom you’ve chosen to route your traffic.
  2. We’ll help you build a disaster recovery template
  3. Your numbers will then be routed according to that template
  4. When there is an outage, you’ll initiate a template change
  5. This template change restores your toll free traffic that was negatively impacted by the carrier outage
  6. Once the outage is resolved, your original toll free template can be restored and traffic routed as it was previously


Take a look at this diagram that outlines the process of how toll free disaster recovery works in the event of a fiber cut or carrier outage.


Do Independent RespOrgs Act in their Customer’s Best Interest?

If you have all of your toll free traffic routed through a single carrier and an outage occurs, that carrier doesn’t have any incentive to route your traffic through an alternative provider since it will result in a loss of revenue to them. Having the ability to control your own routing with an independent RespOrg, your best interest is upheld. With just a few clicks, you’re in charge and valuable calls are terminated once again to your contact center or business sites.


Does Becoming our own RespOrg Cause an Outage of Any Kind ?

No, absolutely not. The process of becoming your own RespOrg is simple and painless.

  1. If you haven’t already negotiated your carrier contracts, we can help with the negotiations and price quotes while recommending viable alternatives that are the best fit for your business.
  2. You’ll want to be sure that you have these complementary carrier agreements set up before porting your numbers which will ensure that your service isn’t interrupted.
  3. We’ll also help you verify that your numbers are “provisioned” with your chosen carriers. Provisioned means that when a call is sent to the carrier, they know where to route it.
  4. Next, you’ll complete a Letter Of Agency (LOA) which tells the providers that you’re porting your numbers away from them and to your own RespOrg ID. This is their formal notice that it is okay to release your toll free numbers.
  5. Once your numbers are ported to your RespOrg ID and provisioned with your carrier(s), the 3rd party RespOrg company will CIC (aka “kick”) the numbers according to your routing instructions.


Can We Test the Service Before Porting ALL of Our Numbers?

Yes, we definitely recommend porting test toll free numbers first to ensure that everything is working properly. As a part of this process, we’ll help you create a “routing map” that shows where each toll free call should terminate. The first numbers to be kicked (CIC’d) will be these test numbers. Once test calls have been made and the configuration confirmed, you’ll be ready to port and CIC the remaining numbers. As is always prudent, we recommend making test calls after the additional numbers have been ported and CIC’d. (this is just a good management practice)


Are 3rd Party RespOrg’s Carriers? Can They Supply My Company With Toll Free service and Bill Me for the Usage?

No, they are not carriers but are rather carrier neutral. You’ll still need agreements with two or more service providers such as AT&T, Lumen/CenturyLink, Verizon, Cox, Spectrum, Comcast, etc since these underlying carriers will still route and terminate the traffic to you using traditional voice services such as SIP, VoIP, TDM, or POTS. Yes, you’ll still need to purchase these services from  available carriers in your area (we’re experts with this).


How Can I get an 800 Toll Free Vanity Number?

Vanity toll free numbers are the ones that are REALLY easy to remember. They tend to give a business more professionalism and credibility as compared to their competitors. To get a premium toll free vanity number, the great news is that with your subscription, you’ll have access to find out who controls a particular toll free number. Free search and query tools are available for both assigned and unassigned numbers within the FCC 8XX database. It’s as simple as entering the number in the search box and pressing “Search”. Once you’ve found a number, it can be reserved and activated within a matter of minutes.


Can I Enable Text Messaging to my Toll Free Numbers?

Yes, we can certainly help you set up this type of service. Texting is one of the few communications that are opened and read on a regular basis. Marketing with outbound phone calls and email typically have a low contact rate percentage as compared to text messaging. Did you know that among 18-34-year-olds, text messaging is what they say is their preferred channel for communications from businesses and that 83% of millennials open text messages right away (within 90 seconds)? Text messages are opened and read 98% of the time. If you’re not using this sales and support channel today, we can help you investigate and choose options that will enhance and help you grow your bottom line.


Please reach out to us today via phone or the web contact form at the bottom of this page and we’ll be happy to share our decades of experience with you and your team.

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