If you make outbound calls to your customers, whether you're a large organization calling all across the U.S. or a smaller contact center that calls within a single state, you'll know by now that obeying do-not-call rules is critical to avoid large fines – up to $16,000 per violation – not to mention avoid angering potential customers. With both federal legislation in place, which is covered by Direct Marketing Association (DMA) do-not-call lists, and a mishmash of state laws regarding do-not-call – 50 different sets of laws – outbound calling without a professional solution in place becomes all but impossible. According to Federal rules, outbound contact centers must update their do-not-call lists every 30 days, and the mandate is even shorter for cellular numbers: every 15 days. Trying to keep track of the individual laws and the limitations they place on your contact center manually is time-consuming and frustrating, and with laws regularly expiring and being renewed and altered, the risk of making costly errors is high.
If you use a predictive dialer for making outbound calls, your task becomes even more complex, thanks to newer restrictions on the use of dialers. According to Federal regulation, call abandon rates may not exceed three percent, calls that do not connect with a live agent must default to a pre-recorded message with information about your company within two seconds, unanswered calls may not be disconnected before 15 seconds or four ring cycles have passed, caller ID must be displayed, and outbound calls must fall during Federally-mandated calling period windows, taking into consideration time zones. Finally, newer rules dictate that the use of predictive and auto dialers is restricted to customers with whom your company has an established business relationship.
Given these restrictions, it's no wonder that many companies have given up on outbound calling, fearing to make an error and rack up fines. This is unfortunate: outbound is still a viable and effective sales method, and no company should have to abandon the practice when it's working for them, merely out of confusion or fear of disobeying complicated rules.
Professional compliance solutions can allow you to use your dialers to your advantage while simultaneously ensuring compliance to the patchwork of outbound rules. Companies such as Do Not Call List Protection, Inc. offer a variety of services to businesses that use outbound sales methods, from simple list scrubbing to more complex Automatic Do Not Call List interruption services. Essentially, using such services, you can continue to use your dialer and the skills of your outbound sales agents without fear of making a mistake, allowing a professional services organization to do the hard work for you.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Juliana Kenny