Sometimes, it is difficult to tell the difference between a reliable telemarketer and someone who uses the phone to lure callers or promote hateful messages. In this age when almost everyone has a mobile phone, robocallers can follow consumers wherever they go. They can attack them in just one click. Pesky robocalls have been there for a long time, but the number of cases involving them has increased only in the past few years. Stephanie Wood (2017), a manager in StoneBridge Business Partners, said around 11 percent of American consumers were victims of a telephone scammer in 2016. The estimated total amount of loss was $7.4 billion. The problem persists and is now one of the major issues that bring fear and annoyance to our consumers. According to YouMail, a company that specializes in collecting and analyzing calls through a robocall blocking service, there were 3.4 billion cases of robocalls as of April 2018. Likewise, The New York Times (2018) introduced the Federal Trade Commission's report showing how robocalls grew through the years:
Automated calls are popular for two reasons. First, they are affordable. Second, they are easy to create. Experts say robocallers can reach out to millions of customers every day at an affordable cost. How Did Robocalls Evolve? In the past, caller ID was useful in detecting automated calls on telephones. Today, the automated calls that our consumers receive on their smartphones have similar area codes and the first 3 digits as their own mobile phone number. Telephone scammers are now smarter than they were before. They can deceive even Millennials who are more familiar with the latest technology. While there are some robocalls that are useful to the general public (ex. Appointment reminders from your doctor's office, pharmacy prescription reminders, weather advisories, etc.), not all robocalls are created equal. Telephone scams may come in various types. The most common is the one in which scammers will call and ask consumers if they can hear them. The purpose is to make people say “yes.” If they do, the scammers will record the consumer's voice and use it to authorize third-party charges on their behalf. Robocalls can have a major negative impact on every contact center. Scammers can act like professionals, which is why consumers mostly hesitate to accept calls. Maintaining your credibility is the only thing you can do. We must be sure that we are not violating the law. TCPA-Compliant Best Practices for Contact Center Companies The TCPA Act of 1991 puts limitations on contact centers using a recorded voice, a pre-recorded message or an automatic dialer to convey a sales message using the telephone. The authorities revised the Act in 2012. The amendment was to add the requirement for a written consent before a contact center called anybody on a mobile phone to convey a sales message. It also involved the inclusion of an automatic opt-out choice for those who receive robocalls. To remain compliant, you should bear in mind those changes in the law and do the following:
Make cell phone scrubbing a habit. It is the automated way of making sure your contact center is not calling mobile phones and ported numbers which will constitute an abuse of the law.
Written consent is necessary for automated calls or telemarketing campaigns that use robocalls when trying to sell a service or a product. A good contact center management service will record and keep consent of all cell phone numbers. Also, they will cross-reference the numbers versus your call list.
Dial the numbers by hand when you have hesitations. Manual dialing will make your calls more genuine. Also, it will allow an agent to accept or approve a mobile phone number.
Use a contact center supervision system to segregate landline and cell phone numbers. The latest cloud-based systems can differentiate the numbers based on the newest compliance rules.
Review your pre-recorded scripts. An automated contact center management system can help you here.
Complying with these practices is your first step in keeping your contact center protected from expensive litigation. Not sure where to start? You may seek help from PACE (Professional Association for Customer Engagement). PACE is the only non-profit trade association dedicated exclusively to the advancement of companies that engage with customers via the contact center. With a full array of offerings, PACE can help you and your team stay current with the latest technology, trends and developments in the contact center and customer engagement industry. Register and enjoy several membership benefitswhile your company remains compliant. If you are looking for help with implementing TCPA-Compliant Best Practices you are at the right place. CH Consulting Group works with PACE to help contact centers across the nation in important matters such as compliance, customer experience, education and advocacy. Contact us now by clicking here.