If you work in an outbound contact center, you have undoubtedly encountered the need for outbound call compliance. What does this mean? In short, it is compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. However, there is a lot more that those who work in sales, collections, and marketing need to know about compliance with this law.
What Is the TCPA?
Passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President George H. W Bush in 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is designed to protect citizens from harassment and unsolicited calls.
Most people think of this as a move against the aggressive telemarketing strategies of the eighties and nineties, but the law was created to prevent much more than the annoyance of those receiving marketing communications. The TCPA restricts marketing calls as well as the use of automated technology - or so-called “robocalls” to ensure that consumers are not unnecessarily bombarded by communications they aren’t willing to receive.
Some things limited by the TCPA include:
- The use of automatic dialing software
- Ringless voicemail or artificial and prerecorded voice messages
- SMS text messages for marketing purposes, and more
These days, to use any of these resources, businesses have to clearly disclose that they are doing so and allow consumers to opt to receive them. Otherwise, they can face major legal problems.
What Does Outbound Call Compliance Mean in Relation to This?
No outbound call center wants to run afoul of the TCPA. To do so is to risk shut down and lawsuits. However, many do keep close and careful tabs on the law’s regulations so that they can take advantage of the maximum amount of freedom that they are allotted - and make the most of their outbound calling efforts.
To be within the range of outbound call compliance, an outbound call center must generally observe the following industry regulations and restrictions:
- Not calling consumers before 8AM, local time or after 9PM, local time.
- Observe and honor consumer requests to be placed on the company-wide Do Not Call (DNC) list.
- Honor the company’s DNC listings for five years from the date of placement.
- Observe and honor the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Ensure that agents are identifying themselves, the organization they are calling on behalf of, as well as contact information for that organization in every call.
- Never use an artificial voice recording as part of solicitation calls.
- Never send unsolicited fax messages to advertise goods or services.
- Never make a solicitation call that engages two or more lines of a multi-line business.
- There are other prohibitions outlined in the TCPA as well, all of which your center must observe for outbound call compliance. These include automated calls or calls using prerecorded or artificial voice technology for the following applications:
- Calling an emergency phone line or 911 dispatch
- Calling a physician’s office or hospital
- Contacting a retirement or medical care residence
- Contacting any other type of medical or health care facility
- Calling a cellular telephone, or any other line for which the recipient may be charged for the call
How to Use the TCPA Guidelines to Help You with Outbound Call Compliance
With automation being such a common and integral part of everyday operations for most modern contact centers, what does outbound call compliance mean for your facility?
The most important factor in remaining compliant with TCPA regulations is removing automated calling from the equation as much as possible. This doesn’t mean that numbers have to be manually dialed - or that you have to look them up off a list the old-fashioned way. You can still take advantage of predictive and progressive dialers and other tme-saving software. You just have to know where the line is drawn in terms of what is permissible.
When making calls, there is a legal difference in point-and-click automated dialing and dialers which run through a long list of numbers automatically and without cessation. The former is a great way to streamline agent efforts in your outbound call center. The latter is not allowed under the TCPA and can land your center in some seriously hot water. The difference in time savings is just seconds a day - and certainly not worth risking your business for.
It is also important to create and maintain a company-wide Do Not Call list. If your center handles sales and marketing, you are likely already using one. However, many businesses fail to update their lists promptly when changes are made or regularly enough to keep them current at all times. For them to be effective, though, it is imperative to keep them current.
Likewise, ensure that you are observant of the National DNC list - and that you use it as a guideline for creating and keeping your own list. Outbound call compliance is all about consumer consent; if a call recipient revokes theirs, be sure to honor that request and remove them promptly from your company-side list and make updates to the national list if you have access to do so.
Shop TCPA Compliant
One great way to ensure that your efforts are always TCPA compliant is to partner with a software and solutions provider that understands outbound call compliance and creates products to meet that need. From the training you provide to your call center agents to the software they use to dial and contact consumers and clients, be sure that everything you invest in for your center is designed with outbound call compliance in mind.
Shop the software and solutions available through ChaseData to get exactly that. As the industry leader in call center solutions, you will find everything your team needs to remain TCPA compliant while also providing excellent service and experiences to your consumers. Streamlining your company’s operations doesn’t have to mean risking your TCPA compliance. To learn more about having the best of both worlds, give the experts at ChaseData a call today!