The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) became law in 1991 to protect consumers from receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls, faxes, pre-recorded calls or autodialed calls. It is this law that created the system for consumers to opt-out of these solicitations while also putting more responsibility on the companies using this technology to better manage lists. The TCPA includes all calls, robocalls, autodialers and text messages involving a live person or pre-recorded message used for telemarketing purposes.
On October 16, 2013, the TCPA will initiate new rules that require prior “express written consent” for all autodialed, recorded calls and/or texts sent to cell phones and pre-recorded calls made to residential land lines for marketing purposes. The term “express written consent” means that the consumer must receive clear disclosure they will receive calls or texts and then opt-in. In addition, there is no longer an established business relationship exemption. In other words, just because you have been telemarketing to a business or consumer in the past, you cannot continue without express written consent.
For many telemarketers this change requires substantial operational changes, which equates to additional expenses. Furthermore, failure to comply will result in penalties ranging from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited call or message. This can add up quickly.
However, there is a “secret” to minimizing or alleviating completely the impact of TCPA, particularly for the savvy contact center.
Focus on the Customer
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the agency empowered to implement the TCPA rules and regulations – a task they do not take lightly. The obvious reason for these changes is the consumer outcry against how they were performed in the past, and the resulting action taken by the FCC. Therefore, it would seem that the day of traditional telemarketing calls are going the way of the dodo.
Customer experience is not gaining in popularity because it is the latest fad. It is popular because customers want to be treated with respect. They want to have options they choose, rather than chosen for them, and they do not want to be solicited for items in which they have zero interest. Period.
Contact centers that focus on customer satisfaction while partnering with the client will receive the highest return. Furthermore, the idea of blasting unwanted solicitations does not even enter a conversation, and therefore alleviates the customer-focused call center from worrying about compliance with TCPA.
It seems unfortunate the TCPA is needed; particularly when customers have made it abundantly clear they desire a personalized experience. However, there are still those companies that have previously made a living off providing this type of service making it necessary to regulate the industry as a whole.
For those companies who want to truly serve customers, the secret to minimizing or even avoiding issues with TCPA compliance is obvious – partner with a contact center that is focused on customer experience. This single, simple solution ensures higher customer satisfaction and improved margins while engaging customers as they desire – individually.