Customer Experience News & Trends

Before you call another customer, you must know these new laws

If you call customers to tell them about products, promotions or special events, beware: New laws may seriously affect how you handle those outbound calls.

New government regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) go into effect Wednesday, Oct. 16 – and now you might need to review and revise how you make outbound calls to customers to stay in compliance.

“Of course, if you’re running operations on the customer experience, you won’t have any problems. You’re already focused on doing what’s best for customers,” says Paul Gregory, Chief Revenue Officer at CorvisaCloud, an outbound contact center cloud provider.

Everyone is affected

Still, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) demands outbound calls comply with new, more stringent guidelines.

Many of the regulations are geared toward large outbound telemarketing operations, but businesses of all sizes that reach out to customers need to know and follow these important changes:

  1. Get written consent. Until now, companies could auto-dial customers with expressed consent to receive those rapid-dial outbound calls that often include promotions. After October 16, customers must give you expressed written consent before you can auto-dial. Written consent can come via an email form, website form, a text message, phone key press or voice recording.
  2. Give quick opt-out option. Now customers must be given the opportunity to opt out of auto-dialed calls and promotions within two seconds of picking up the line. Plus, they must have the opportunity to opt out at any time during the call whether it’s recorded or live.
  3. Record opt-outs. If customers choose to opt out, their names immediately must be put on an internal Do Not Call list. Another key: Customer lists must be run against the National Do Not Call list before outbound calls are made.
  4. Don’t abandon customers. When you place an auto-dial call to customers, you must let their line ring four times or for 15 seconds. If they pick up, you must respond (with an automated message or person) within two seconds.
  5. Keep your records. The final key is keeping strong, accurate records of the calls made and how they were in compliance with the TCPA.

The experience improves

Although the guidelines make it seem harder to reach out to customers, the FCC’s intent is to have the quality of the interactions improve.

“As long as businesses keep understanding their customers’ purchase needs and respond to those needs and do the proper skills-based routing, they’re already doing what’s best,” Gregory says. “Customer interactions may be fewer, but they’ll be better.”

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