In the February and
March 2003 editorials of this publication, Rich Tehrani and I extensively addressed the case for reversal of the TOTALLY UNFAIR, DAMAGING, IMPRACTICAL and virtually unenforceable regulations known as the Telemarketing Sales Rule
We presented our case with sound, factual implications of irreparable damages that these regulations will inflict on the vitally important call center and teleservices industry.
Here are some additional facts to be considered about the TSR regulations:
1. It is vitally important that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) understand that the passage of the TSR regulations accomplishes one and ONLY one thing: It will eliminate 3 to 5 million jobs by sending them offshore! We lose the 3 to 5 million jobs by cutting down the number of calls that are possible by eliminating a segment of the population through this unwarranted and government-funded do-not-call registry. Additionally, we lose jobs overseas due to the onerous technology requirements that make labor-saving devices no longer labor-saving, thereby encouraging companies to seek cheaper labor overseas.
2. Outbound Is Vital To All Aspects Of Every Business:
- Freedom of speech is no different than the freedom of calling.
- In business, if you don't stay in touch regularly, you will lose your customer, and the telephone is the most cost-effective way to stay in touch.
- The doctrine of "laissez faire" is violated! "Laissez faire" has been that vitally important "free trade" doctrine on which civilized and progressive business practice is based. The TSR ruling violates that!
- Discrimination between outsourcing and in-house call centers as called for in the TSR MUST be deemed illegal.
- Teleservices companies play a vital role not only for U.S. corporations, but also in creating and protecting about 1,400,000 jobs.
- The FTC should thank them, NOT handicap them!
Having Said All That'If We All Resort To Conventional Wisdom, We Will All Come To The Conclusion That:
Outsourcing Teleservices Plays A Most Vital Role In The Success Of Corporate America.
So why try to restrict it in an unfair or possibly illegal way?
The FTC and FCC need to understand that outsourcing is THE MOST VITAL PART OF DOING BUSINESS TODAY, not only for Corporate America, but also in Global Commerce.
Companies have learned that survival in today's ultra challenging economy depends on focusing on the company's "core competency" and outsourcing what is not the company's "core competency."
20 Million Jobs Saved Since 1983
Corporate America has been outsourcing their customer services, customer relationship management (CRM), sales support, lead generation, etc., to teleservices companies in the last 20 years with great success.
1,400,000 Jobs Are On The Line Per Year
Moreover, teleservices companies are currently producing and protecting 1,400,000 jobs in America per year. At an average of one million jobs created and preserved every year, teleservices agencies have saved 20 million jobs since 1983! Ironically, teleservices companies are the focus of discrimination in the TSR regulations. I ask: Does that make sense? Do the so-called "regulators" know what they are doing?
The FTC's unfair TSR regulations not only discriminates against the teleservices industry, but also the predictive dialer restriction part of it may place undue hardship, thereby causing hundreds of thousands of layoffs! We believe this is unfair, discriminatory and utterly ridiculous!
There Are Three Lawsuits Now Pending
To combat these regulations, three lawsuits are now before the courts.
1) The ATA lawsuit. The lawsuit filed by the American Teleservices Association (ATA) is based on First Amendment rights as well as the reduction of restrictions on predictive dialers and a preliminary injunction is sought for the national do-not-call list.
2) The DMA lawsuit. The basis for the lawsuit brought by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is to request a preliminary injunction based on jurisdiction as well as to remove the predictive dialer restrictions in the
3) The charitable organization lawsuit. Two well-known charitable organizations filed a challenge to the new TSR which raises jurisdictional as well as First Amendment issues. Restrictions on fully protected speech are subject to strict scrutiny when restrictions are content-based. This higher standard of protection is not available to commercial speech activities. This means the case will bring a more intense level of review by the courts.
The TSR Will Increase The Cost Of Sales And Unemployment
Dean Brown, vice president of Sales and Marketing at TeleDirect International, told me the following:
"For some businesses, outbound telemarketing is a key to their survival. The implementation of a national do-not-call list will increase the cost of sales significantly for some businesses and that could potentially cost the consumer more in the end. We need to work together and find a rational way to balance the use of technology to benefit everyone concerned. In other words, we should be leveraging technology to better target prospects, reduce the cost of sales and avoid annoying the consumer with dead air when they answer our calls. The national do-not-call list as presented is designed to protect the consumer from unwanted calls, but when you take into consideration the calls that consumers have voiced the most concern over, such as political fundraising and long-distance services, the National Do Not Call registry does nothing to stop these calls.
"Traditionally, the FTC has always worked to represent the best interests of business and consumers. The Do-Not-Call law seems to be politically charged, and the FTC appears to have succumbed to the bidding of consumer advocacy groups as the concerns of business have not been given much consideration. It appears that the FTC has acted without understanding of the real impact of these regulations upon business and ultimately the consumer. In the end, costs will go up, jobs will be lost and, in short, business will be hurt, and the long-term question still remains; will consumers ever really benefit?"
The Solution For Intrusive Calls
We despise intrusive calls much more than anyone. We do not think that the concept of call centers for telesales was meant to be intrusive. In fact, on the contrary, this industry was meant for the useful purpose of helping businesses grow and keep their customers satisfied in a cost-effective manner. Intrusive calls have absolutely, positively no room in the call center industry. This publication, for one, will do anything in its power to eliminate such activities and help anyone report intrusive telephone communications to the proper authorities.
We believe there is a right way to handle intrusive calls and there is a wrong way. The right way is to gather industry practitioners, industry leaders who understand every aspect of the industry and with their guidance, eliminate intrusive calls. The wrong way is to destroy, damage and shut down the entire call center industry, which at the moment protects three to five million jobs in America, for the sake of eliminating a small percentage of intrusive and abusive callers. Such action would be like the proverbial throwing out the baby with the bath water.
A Call For Unity
Given all of the above problems that are confronting our industry, we call for the development of a one hundred percent united front to combat this unfair, discriminatory and completely unacceptable FTC ruling. Not since the Great Depression has job creation and job protection been so vitally important to the U.S. economy. It seems to me that we need the TSR at this point in time like we need a hole in the head. I am positive that the people who created these regulations had great intentions in mind, i.e., consumer protection and job creation, but as we have convincingly indicated above and in editorials in the
February and March issues of
Customer Inter@ction Solutions' magazine, these regulations will have precisely the opposite effect! We sincerely hope the FTC will have an open mind and reconsider the regulations.
What Can You Do To Help?
If you are interested in helping the injunctive relief actions that are the subject of the above three lawsuits, write or call the following asking how you can help.
1. Contact the ATA and ask for Tim Searcy, Executive Director, ATA Strategic Planning. Phone: 317-816-9336; e-mail:
2. Contact the DMA and ask for Mike Faulkner, Senior Vice President, DMA Segments & Affiliates. Phone: 212-790-1598; e-mail:
3. For the charitable organizations lawsuit, contact Errol Copilevitz, Atty., Copilevitz & Canter, LLC. Phone: 816-472-9000; e-mail:
Join us at the Global Call Center Outsourcing SummitTM in Reno, Nevada June 2-4 to discuss the above matters in person with more than 100 industry leaders and help jointly develop strategies for the future of our industry. For more information, see
As always, I welcome your comments.
TMC Chairman, CEO and
Executive Group Publisher
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