Smart Caller ID vs CNAM
May. 22 2023

Smart Caller ID vs CNAM

Up to 76% of calls from unknown numbers are left unanswered. Even if a caller manages to bypass call blocking and spam labeling, they may still face the problem of appearing as an “unknown caller”. Failing to address this issue greatly reduces the chances of the call being answered. As more businesses become aware of these challenges in the industry, they are actively seeking solutions.

Various solutions are available to address the problem of unrecognized incoming calls. However, not all solutions are created equal. In this article, we will compare the benefits of the well-known Caller Name (CNAM) database with our own solution, Smart Caller ID.


The acronym CNAM refers to Caller ID Name, which enables businesses to register their phone numbers with a database that displays their caller name to recipients of their calls. This works by having the terminating carrier of the call look up the number in the CNAM database and displaying the name on the recipient’s Caller ID. Although CNAM databases have certain limitations and rules governing the information that can be displayed, they remain the most commonly used solution for callers seeking to identify themselves on the Caller ID of those they call.


Smart Caller ID is a branded calling solution offered by Smart Carrier, which utilizes text-only information to display accurate caller names. Unlike CNAM databases, Smart Caller ID leverages industry connections to ensure that caller information is displayed correctly on major mobile carriers. It is specifically designed to work seamlessly across the three major cell phone carriers and can reach over 400 million devices. What’s more, branded calling with Smart Caller ID requires no integrations, making it quick and easy to set up.


Compared to traditional CNAM database solutions, Smart Caller ID offers numerous significant advantages. Unlike CNAM, which only provides 15 characters for display and often requires awkward truncation of words, Smart Caller ID allows up to 32 characters, making it much easier to display your business name or message clearly on call recipients’ Caller IDs.

CNAM technology was originally created for landline phones and has to be adapted to work with mobile phones, often requiring call recipients to download caller ID apps to decipher the CNAM Caller ID name. Additionally, CNAM relies on terminating carriers to search the databases, which may not always happen, resulting in the CNAM identifier not being transmitted. In contrast, Smart Caller ID was specifically designed to work seamlessly with mobile phones, giving businesses full control over their displayed name without requiring any additional action from carriers or recipients.

Furthermore, Smart Caller ID offers Rich Call Data and analytics that businesses can use to refine their calling strategies. In contrast, CNAM provides nothing more than a database. Overall, Smart Caller ID gives callers more control, relies less on actions from carriers and consumers, works on mobile devices, and provides more features and attributes than traditional CNAM solutions.


Smart Caller ID is Smart Carrier’s most comprehensive call deliverability solution, enabling callers to identify themselves to call recipients and boost the likelihood of call pickup, thereby addressing consumer distrust. By increasing answer rates by up to 56%, it is a powerful tool for businesses seeking to optimize their outreach efforts. Moreover, unlike CNAM, which was originally designed for landline phones, Smart Caller ID is tailored for mobile phones and can reach over 400 million mobile devices on the T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon networks.

What do you think shows up on the phone when your company tries to contact customers? Does it include your company’s name?  Does it come up as an anonymous 10-digit number? Or perhaps your call says “Scam Likely.” In the latter two scenarios, your customers aren’t likely to want to talk.

For many businesses, this probably hasn’t been top-of-mind. When your company makes a phone call, you hope the customer answers (then rinse and repeat). But if your company name is inaccurate when you call, that cycle is over before it even begins.

Your brand matters, as does your customer experience. If you’re relying on a CNAM (Caller ID name) database to represent your business – and represent it accurately – you’re leaving your brand reputation and identity to chance.

The CNAM Gamble

Why do you call your customers? Maybe you need to make a delivery, correct an order, follow up on a loan application, or one of the hundred other reasons businesses need to reach their clients.

You place the call, which then is routed through the phone networks.

Carriers rely on CNAM databases to help identify outbound calls that are assigned to a specific number. But once your call reaches its intended destination, there’s no telling what the person on the other end sees.

If your customer has Caller ID services enabled, they may see your name and number. But the name on the Caller ID is not something a business can completely control, which means they could receive some weird variation of your business name.

That’s because there is no universal CNAM standard; there are multiple CNAM databases across the country and carriers may subscribe to one or multiple databases. Without a sole source of truth, your company’s name could be listed inaccurately or with misspellings.

Brand reputation matters

Imagine what goes through your customer’s minds when they’re expecting a call from Good Bank but their call screen says something like Goof Bank. Good Bank (you) has a reputation for being fair to its patrons, with low loan rates and excellent customer service. Goof Bank? Sounds like a fake.

You know the saying: close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

In a best-case scenario, your customer has your contact information saved in their phone. But that’s too much to expect and it puts the identification burden on the client. If you have a large call volume or use multiple numbers for different campaigns, it’s highly unlikely that your customer keeps a Rolodex of your contact information saved to their mobile phone.

Your problem, but not your fault

Scammers, spammers, and other nuisance callers are hurting the phone experience. More than 9 in 10 people have received some form of scam calls.

Without a branded communication solution, your call could also show up as an anonymous 10-digit number. Or it could come up as “Scam Likely.”

Unsurprisingly, people don’t like to answer calls from unknown numbers. Many people (85% to be exact) also believe that an unknown number makes your business look illegitimate. That means your company, your call agents, customer service representatives, and other people are likely wasting a lot of time playing phone tag.

Take control of your reputation.

Is there a solution? You bet!

Smart Carrier’s Smart Caller ID solution is more than a Caller ID solution.

Smart Caller ID provides peace of mind by delivering calls made to answer, with a 32-character text display that can feature your name, custom message, and number. Smart Caller ID also protects your number from spoofing, leaving your brand reputation intact.

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