By Angela Garfinkel, President and Founder of Quality Contact Solutions
One of the best things about outbound telemarketing is that everything can be measured. Key measurements include: Sales, sales conversion rate, sales per hour, contacts, contacts per hour, leads finalized, leads finalized per hour, list penetration rate, dials, dials per hour, average order size, average talk time, average handle time, cost per sale and refusal reasons.
Outbound telemarketing managers and those in the business of outsourced telemarketing services often make the mistake of not declaring and communicating what the Key Performance Indicators are. The problem is that it is virtually impossible for a team to focus on more than 2 or 3 KPIs. I have heard telemarketing programs managers state that “all of the metrics are the most important KPIs”. That approach is not advisable because when the team works on the program, their focus can be diluted. At worst, some KPIs can be metrics that are at odds with other metrics. Here are some examples of that. Continue reading →
By Angela Garfinkel, President and Founder of Quality Contact Solutions
The 2016 PACE TCPA Summit was business as usual for most of the 300+ attendees. Special guest speakers included Mark Stone from the Federal Communications Commission, Lois Greisman from the Federal Trade Commission and Tucker Carlson, Fox News Co-Host. In addition, a host of legal experts and compliance consultants shared their viewpoints on how to best protect and defend against a TCPA class action lawsuit. “How to place telemarketing calls to wireless phone numbers (legally)” is still the number one issue facing the outbound telemarketing industry. And the answer isn’t that simple. If you have prior express written consent, there is still two large issues: “Revocation of Consent” and “Reassigned phone numbers”. If you don’t have prior express written consent, you can place telemarketing calls if you use the correct technology – a non-Automated Telephone Dialing System (non-ATDS). But what is a non-ATDS? Even experts don’t agree. Continue reading →
Here’s a fact: Just as people have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, outbound marketing call center operations also have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Here’s another fact: the customers that we call via outbound marketing also have distinct characteristics that differentiate them. Based on this fact, why do so many outbound marketing campaigns treat customers the same? I believe that failing to segment an outbound marketing list is a huge missed opportunity. Continue reading →
By Rich Hamilton, Director of Implementation and Team Improvement Leader
Are you confused by the TCPA? This past July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarified the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) through a Declaratory Ruling. Telemarketers have been scrambling to understand and implement updated policies, procedures, and technologies in order to continue to ensure compliance with the TCPA. Telemarketing regulations are very complex. And with this complexity, there is bound to be some confusion. Here are 7 common TCPA misconceptions that I’ve observed.
#1 – B2B calls do not need to comply with the TCPA
Wrong. B2B calls are not exempt from all provisions of the TCPA. There are many aspects of the TCPA that need to be followed with B2B calls. Here are two areas:
Calling Wireless Numbers: Some level of consent is required in order to use an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) when calling any wireless telephone number, regardless if the call is B2B.
Call Abandonment: Call abandonment rules apply to all types of telemarketing calls, regardless if you are calling consumers or businesses. Telemarketers are not allowed to abandon more than 3% of live answered calls per campaign per 30-day period. A call is considered abandoned if a live agent does is not connected within 2 seconds of the person completing their greeting. If a call is abandoned, it is required that a recorded message play promptly. This recorded message must include the name and phone number of the seller, state that the call is for telemarketing purposes and not contain any type of solicitation. The message must also allow the person being called to place their number on the DNC list (See misconception #6).
#2 – Non-sales calls do not need to comply with the TCPA
Wrong. Regardless of the reason for the call, if you call a wireless number, you must have either Prior Express Consent or Prior Express Written Consent if calling using an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS). Some companies think that information calls and surveys are exempt from the TCPA. This is not right when it comes to placing calls to wireless phone numbers.
#3 – Numbers that are ported from wireline to wireless are not considered wireless numbers
Wrong. Telemarketers must subscribe to iconective to proactively identify numbers that have ported from landline to wireless. Lucky for the industry, we have a 15 day grace period to identify the ported numbers and update our calling lists.
#4 – If a number is reassigned from one wireless subscriber to another, you can claim “safe harbor”
Wrong. In the 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling, the FCC made it clear that if a wireless number is reassigned, it is the company’s responsibility to identify that and remove the wireless number from its calling list. A very limited safe harbor was provided which only protects the first call to a re-assigned number, no matter what the outcome of the call is. Also note that those that receive phone calls from telemarketers have no duty to tell the telemarketer that the phone numbers has been reassigned. Huh. Are you getting the feeling that the FCC doesn’t like us?
#5 – If a company uses a 3rd party to make telemarketing calls, the company does not need to worry about TCPA
Wrong. The FCC made it clear in the Declaratory Ruling that sellers using an outsourced telemarketing company may be vicariously liable under federal common law agency-related principles. Therefore ultimately it is the responsibility of every organization to monitor and enforce the compliance of companies that call on their behalf. This can be done in many ways including audits of call detail records, listening to call recordings, and onsite visits.
#6 – A seller or telemarketer can offer the option to press “X” for the next available agent during the abandon call message in order to process DNC requests
Wrong. Abandon call message must have an automated interactive voice and/or key-press activated opt-out mechanism that enables a DNC request before terminating the call. This process must automatically add the phone number to the internal DNC list and end the call immediately. Offering to transfer the person to the next available agent is not allowed.
#7 – TCPA does not apply to text messages
Wrong. The FCC has stated that a text (or SMS) is considered the same as a phone call under the TCPA.
Is your call center and/or outsourced telemarketing company fully compliant with the TCPA? Call us today to learn more about our TCPA call center consulting services and how we can help you to reduce your risk and become more TCPA compliant.
If you place outbound telemarketing calls to cellular phone numbers, be sure you understand the rules that apply. Outsourced Telemarketing was significantly impacted in July 2015 when the Federal Communications Commission released a Declaratory Ruling which expanded the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). In addition, the ruling provided additional clarification surrounding a telemarketer’s responsibility to identify reassigned telephone numbers and remove them for their call lists and clarified that text messages are also telemarketing calls and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act applies equally to text messages and voice calls. For more information, you can read the full TCPA FCC Declaratory Ruling.
At Quality Contact Solutions, we’ve had significant success with helping our outsourced telemarketing clients successfully contact their existing customers on their cellular phone number(s) using a Non-ATDS Dialer. In short, a Non-ATDS Dialer (spelled out non-Automated Telephone Dialing System), is by definition a system that cannot place calls automatically. Our advice to our outsourced telemarketing clients is to use an old Nortel 8×24 telephone system which cannot be modified to place telemarketing calls automatically. We pop the contact record on the computer screen for the telemarketing agent, the agent dials the telephone (with their fingers) and hangs up the phone after the call is completed. Then the agent selects a call disposition on the computer screen before the next call record is presented to the outsourced telemarketing agent.
Results from using the QCS suggested Non-ATDS Dialer
We’ve found that contacts per hour drop by about 60%, so if on average, we were hitting 15 contacts per hour using predictive dialing, we have seen a drop to about 6 contacts per hour. However, we’ve found that the sales conversion rate increases by about 30%, so the net decrease in sales per hour has been about 45% (still a decrease, but with many client programs, it is better to make the contacts in a less productive manner vs not calling these customers at all).
With some client programs, we’ve been able to change the time of day to evening only (best contact period), and we’ve been able to maintain a sales per hour that is only slightly below the previous performance using a predictive dialer environment.
Keep in mind that it is best to work towards gaining prior express written consent to place telemarketing sales calls to your customers, but in the absence of such consent, rest easy that Quality Contact Solutions can help you create a defendable process for placing such calls legally using a Non-ATDS Dialer.
Give us a call and ask us how today. Call 866.963.2889 and press 1 for sales.