For outbound call centers, compliance with government regulations regarding consumer privacy and protection is essential. Noncompliance won’t just get your center into hot water - it can get your business shut down and land you in major legal trouble.
Can you operate an outbound contact center in the post-TCPA era without worrying about this potential problem? Yes - if you and your staff understand outbound call compliance and how to work within the government guidelines. Here, we’ll help you understand your center’s place in the modern marketplace and how to keep from encountering problems related to compliance:
What is Outbound Call Compliance?
The premise of outbound call compliance is one that comes from the Telephone Consumers Protection Act of 1991. This law states that outbound calling centers and agencies must have prior consent before being allowed to place their marketing or collection calls to consumers. It also strictly regulates the use of automated dialers in making these calls and sets guidelines around what days and times calls can be placed.
This law came into existence after a massive expansion of the call center industry in the 190s. People were experiencing unwanted calls in large numbers, with some consumers reporting receiving them numerous times a day, nearly every day. This is was because companies in the 1980s and early 1990s were using automated dialing software that made huge numbers of calls without pause and without regard to who they were actually contacting. This may have helped these companies land more sales by the sheer volume of contacts being made, but it also managed to make consumers angry enough that legal regulations were put in place to stop it.
Since the act passed, it has become legally necessary for any outbound call center to follow the rules it sets forward. If a center fails to do so, it will not only be subject to legal repercussions, but it will also face government-mandated shutdown. Outbound call compliance is serious business!
Can Your Center Operate Effectively While Remaining Compliant?
So, how does your center maintain successful operation in an industry that is so heavily regulated? The answer is a combination of proper agent training and education and the use of today’s best technology. The software currently available on today’s market is designed to be outbound call compliant, but that doesn’t mean that every agent who uses it will automatically perform within compliance. It takes a one-two punch of understanding the law and using the right tools to ensure that your center operates within it.
The rules for proper operation within the law are based on five restrictions, which are as follows:
- No call may violate a consumer’s request not to receive communications.
- Telemarketing calls may not be made to residential landlines.
- Telemarketing calls or text or those with unsolicited information may not be sent to wireless or mobile lines.
- No unsolicited marketing or informational calls may be made to medical or emergency facilities or to any business or organization that would otherwise interrupt public safety or regular business operations.
- No telemarketing transmissions may be made to fax machines.
Sounds pretty restrictive, doesn’t it? These regulations were put in place as a reaction to anger from consumers who were dealing with too many unsolicited communications, so it is easy to see where the motivation for strictness comes from. However, it can leave many businesses feeling like it is impossible to continue daily operations within the parameters of the law.
Training your agents properly is imperative in maintaining outbound call compliance. Remember, your agents are on the front lines of your business operations; they need to understand what to do and not to do to keep your center compliant. The performance of outbound calls in any capacity puts your center at risk for falling out of compliance, so strict attention to detail in training is imperative.
The most important factor in proper compliance is the use of opt-ins and opt-outs by consumers. Remember, consumers are legally allowed to ask your center and any other business not to contact them for marketing or informational purposes. One of the best ways to prevent this from hampering your promotional efforts is to be clear with your consumers about why you are calling and to ask for consent before proceeding with your call. It is also important to use generated leads effectively since these consumers have essentially already opted in to receiving your communications. Always respect the wishes of consumers who wish to discontinue receiving communications - even if this happens in the middle of the phone call.
The Role of Technology in Outbound Call Compliance
Once your agents are trained to act within their legal obligations under the TCPA, it is time to outfit your operation with the right technology to ensure that there are no missteps. If your center has been in operation for a long time now, you likely have already sought this type of technology or already have it in place. If you are a newer operation - or are looking to upgrade your technology - it is important to keep outbound call compliance in mind when getting your system set up.
Expert advice and guidance are always recommended, especially if you have previously experienced issues with compliance or are launching a new center. Likewise, many centers are experiencing ongoing confusion about the legality and legitimacy of automated dialer technology due to a back-and-forth within the American government concerning their use in the industry, so it always pays to be prudent and consult an expert before applying technology to your operations.
If you need new technology to assist your center’s staff in adhering to outbound call compliance, talk to the industry experts at ChaseData. We have the software solutions you need to prevent problems with compliance and make operating your outbound center easier and more productive. Whether you’re in sales, collections, or something altogether different, we have the tools to help your agents succeed! Give us a call today to learn more!