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July 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 2
On The Line

'Consider the Evidence Carefully . . .'

By Tim Searcy

In summation in nearly every courtroom drama, an attorney will ask the jury to weigh the evidence and deliver a verdict. Regularly in Washington, D.C. and in state houses all over the country, the teleservices industry asks policy makers to do the same thing. We want those of influence and power to understand the difference we make and conclude that our channel of business is worthwhile and survives best under free market conditions and self regulation. Let's look at some evidence, and you can be the judge.

• The teleservices industry is an economic engine for the United States economy. With 5.3 million employees and 56,000 contact centers located in every state, the industry accounts for more than four percent of the employment and over $500 billion in annual goods and services sold. As more commerce becomes direct through the internet, the industry benefits and grows because consumers want direct access to goods and services by phone as well as computer.

• Teleservices is also the primary means of fundraising in this country. Accounting for nearly 84 percent of total giving last year or $245.8 billion, no other channel does as much to cure disease, help the poor, educate the young, or treat the infirmed as teleservices.

• Teleservices is engaged actively in the process of policymaking. The American Teleservices Association (ATA) will donate almost $250,000 this election cycle to candidates that defend our industry or have demonstrated an interest in our employees. By 2011, we will be $1 million strong and will rank as one of the most active Political Action Committees (ATA-PAC) in the country.

• Teleservices is capable of regulating itself. In cooperation with the FCC and FTC, the ATA has begun an ambitious program to create standards and enforcement to insure companies are in compliance with federal and state law. The ATA Self-Regulatory Organization (ATA-SRO) will begin training auditors in September and will have accomplished initial audits for accreditation of firms by the time of our annual convention in October. Our long-term goal is to provide a less invasive and adversarial means for the FTC and FCC to address complaints they receive from consumers. The ATA-SRO will work with firms to assist in the process of demonstrating compliance well in advance of governmental inquiry.

We make a difference. Without teleservices much of what politicians and consumers love about this country including open markets, fair competition, voluntary giving and political activism would not exist. If you would like to learn more about how you can make a difference, please contact me at mailto:[email protected] or by my favorite method, by calling me at 317-816-9336. CiS

Tim Searcy has been involved in the direct marketing industry for over 30 years, beginning at the age of 10. He has had the privilege of serving as a senior executive in the largest and fastest growing direct marketing companies in the world, including West Teleservices, APAC Teleservices, Transcom Worldwide, and Rapp Collins. Currently Mr. Searcy serves as the CEO of the American Teleservices Association (ATA).

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