In the modern day, most people have heard of the National Do Not Call Registry. This is a list that is kept on a national level of people across the United States who have asked that they not be contacted for telemarketing purposes.
A direct result of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, this list - and the similar lists kept by large companies all over the country that protect consumers from unsolicited calls on a company-wide level - are meant to make interruptions by telemarketers a little less common. However, they can make things a little more difficult when your job is contacting consumers for sales and marketing purposes.
How can your call center observe outbound call compliance? How can you keep from landing in legal trouble when all you and your team are trying to do is your job? Use these guidelines for staying out of hot water via outbound call compliance:
What is the TCPA?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 was designed to protect consumers from the common problem of incessant telemarketing calls. During the 80s and 90s, it was common for families to have dinner interrupted, to have young children woken from their sleep, or to have their morning alarm usurped, all by the call of a telemarketer. Congress agreed that something had to be done and the act was passed, then signed into law that year by then-president George H. W. Bush.
The point of the TCPA wasn’t just to prevent unwanted phone calls. The advent of company-level Do Not Call (DNC) lists and the eventual introduction of the National DNC registry were certainly large parts of the act’s success, but they were not the sole reason for passing the act. Rather, the use of automated dialing and calling software was also restricted and heavily regulated by the act, given that many consumers and lawmakers alike felt that it was in violation of fair and acceptable marketing practices.
The implementation of these restrictions has placed obvious strain on outbound call cen4ters whose primary practice is sales and marketing. Continuing business as usual wasn’t an option; things had to change in order for these centers to remain in business. How they adapted to the new laws has shaped the face of modern telemarketing and outbound call compliance.
How Can Your Center Remain Compliant with TCPA Regulations?
With so many rules and regulations, it may seem nearly impossible to remain within the boundaries of the law. However, there are some clear guidelines that you can follow to keep your center fully legal in its everyday operations. Here are some pointers for outbound call compliance in your facility:
- No outbound calls are permitted before the hours of 8 AM and after the hours of 9 PM in whatever time zone a call recipient resides. The only exception to this rule is when a consumer grants permission to contact them outside of these hours. This is important because many contact centers reach out to those in other time zones, which can result in TCPA violations by a simple mistake of the time zone in question. To avoid this, keep track of consumer location and time zone by sorting leads and contacts into lists by that information.
- The National Do Not Call Registry is law. Violations of the registry are legal violations.
- In addition to the national registry, companies are required to keep their own company-level Do Not Call lists. These lists should be treated with the same respect and reverence as the national registry.
- An outbound calling center is not permitted to occupy more than one line of a multi-line business at once. This means that if a business has multiple phone lines and your outgoing center is already dialing or actively engaging one, the interaction on that line must conclude before you are permitted to dial another line from the same business.
- Agents must inform call recipients that their call is being recorded and why.
- Agents must identify themselves to consumers, as well as what organization they are calling on behalf of and why. They must also supply contact information so that the organization responsible for their call can be contacted if the consumer so chooses.
- Calls that use prerecorded messages or artificial human voices are not permitted to residences. Likewise, they are not permitted to doctor’s offices, health care organizations or locations, nursing homes or retirement homes, hospitals or emergency health departments, cellular phone lines, or any line for which the recipient would be responsible for charges incurred.
- Prerecorded and artificial voice messages are permitted for the purpose of information only. However, they must disclose the same information that they would be required to if they were making direct contact with consumers.
While it is worth mentioning that the TCPA guidelines also require that outbound contact centers not permit their agents to use foul language, harsh words, threats, or otherwise harass the recipients of their calls, this is something you have likely already trained your agents to avoid. Agents are also not permitted to lie or make false statements to obtain sales, donations, or any other monetary gain. In general, the road to outbound call compliance is through consumer consent and respect toward the recipient of your center’s calls.
Simplify Things - Purchase from Retailers Who Understand Outbound Call Compliance
The simplest and best way to ensure that your center and employees remain compliant with all TCPA regulations is to purchase your software solutions from a retailer who understands outbound call compliance well. ChaseData offers this benefit to consumers as an industry leader in outbound call center solutions and software. We know what our clients need because we have been providing them with it for years - all while helping them maintain outbound call compliance.
Don’t get in trouble for something that is entirely preventable through education, training, and preparation. Partner with ChaseData today and learn more about how we can help your team stay compliant.