A Great Vision For The Contact Center Industry!
From: Ron Allen, President, Contact Center Compliance ' DNC.com
The last five years have been a whirlwind of change for the teleservices industry. A contributing factor to the compliance problems we have encountered is a lack of forward thinking 15 years ago. In short, we, as an industry, created this problem for ourselves. If an industry endures adversity and adapts, changes, learns and becomes smarter, it will thrive in the years to come. If not, in the words of Zig Ziglar, 'If you keep doing what you have been doing, you're going to keep getting what you have been getting.'
The teleservices industry encounters frequent new regulations and, as a result, people are getting involved with increased lobbying efforts and self-regulation plans. I think we need to take our lessons from successful industries such as insurance. Their effective effort, 25 to 35 years ago, to lobby and self-regulate is what prevented them from encountering the very situation our industry faces today. So the question is, where will the teleservices industry be in 15 years? Once the key points are identified, what do we then do about it? What do we need to do right now to shape our future? This goes for inbound as well as outbound. If you think you are safe because your revenue stream centers around inbound, think again. Every law passed takes a bit more of your freedom and various rules that cover outbound today will cover inbound tomorrow. To shape our future, we must formulate and implement a plan now.
A good example of a problem brewing that may eventually take center stage in 15 years is the wireless number rules. In New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana and Arizona there are rules, recently passed, that prevent telemarketers from calling wireless numbers. Of course, under the Federal Rule, companies may not use a predictive dialer to call wireless numbers for sales purposes. The rules barring wireless numbers from your sales list may not impact your sales campaigns much today; however, in 15 years, when wireless numbers are our customers' primary numbers, what do you think will begin to happen to the sales cost and available marketing lists? We need to begin taking steps now to preserve our future and lobby for necessary changes on this matter and many others.
The last several years have been a mine field of new rules, and the American people have spoken loud and clear as we saw with the creation and support of the federal do-not-call list. Fighting the inevitable is futile. We must embrace the rules and desires of the people. We must use our ingenuity to find ways to provide Americans with what they want while maintaining a prospering business. Look to the potential regulatory problems the future may hold and begin lobbying and pursuing change before the problem is upon us.
Make no mistake, we will have to work hard to keep the rules in existence from becoming worse; i.e., shortening of grace periods, shortening of existing business relationship durations, elimination of exemptions and so on. We must be sure to not lose any ground. We will have to make sure our voice is heard on Capitol Hill more than just once a year for a couple of days but, rather, continually. Your local representatives should know who you are and how your company helps the community of their constituents. They need a name, face and personality put to the industry so when potential rules are presented to them, they consider how it will affect people as opposed to the industry. We need to protect the existing business relationship rules, the safe harbor rules, and the exemptions to the DNC list such as business-to-business that are all currently in place. It is our future. How shall we shape it?