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  • Call Centers, Start Your Compliance Engine!
  • Call Centers, Start Your Compliance Engine!

    March 27th, 2018

    Since passing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991, the government has tried to regulate telemarketing calls, auto-dialed calls, prerecorded calls, text messages, and unsolicited faxes. Its most notable achievement was the establishment of a national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry in 2003, which was designed to help enforce the TCPA. And while the number of new registrations to the national DNC registry has begun to plateau, each year over 3 million new phone numbers are added to the database, which now has a staggering 226 million registrants. So, on average, 6 new numbers are added every minute. making a robust TCPA compliance solution essential for every call center.

    DNC Registration
    DNC Registrations

    3 million new phone numbers are added to the national Do Not Call registry every year.

    The number of filed complaints has steadily risen, with over 5 million complaints filed last year alone. That adds up to nearly 10 complaints per minute. Even in a deregulatory climate, this underscores some essential points:

    • Almost 15 years after the Federal Trade Commission established it, many consumers are well-informed about the
    • Even though it requires effort, consumers will go through the registration process to prevent nearly any telephone solicitation.
    • Most important, those who feel like a business has violated the letter or the spirit of the TCPA and DNC are now more prone to take action by filing complaints.

    The number of DNC complaints have risen steadily over the years.

    The sheer scale of these numbers should demonstrate that TCPA compliance isn’t something businesses can simply deal with on their own. This is why the right TCPA compliance solution must be top of mind for your call center.

    Looking Under the Hood of a TCPA Compliance Solution

    As we’ve written about before, big companies like Dish TV who run afoul of these regulations are getting walloped with larger and larger fines, as the courts try to ensure that the penalties are severe enough to curb bad telemarketing behavior. Small and mid-sized businesses are also subject to these enforcement actions. Those hefty fines and court costs can sink your ship. For SMBs, the question is: How will a TCPA compliance solution help me stay on the right side of the law? And what is it doing?

    There are three central components of a TCPA compliance solution:

    • CNI: Cellular Number Identification
    • DNC Live Scrubbing
    • DCLID: Dynamic Caller ID
    Cell number identification, or CNI, is critical because the TCPA requires that autodialed or prerecorded calls to wireless numbers can only be made with the consumer’s prior express consent. Since that’s a relatively high hurdle for most businesses to clear, a TCPA compliance solution will include a setting that allows you to remove all cell numbers from an upcoming campaign, and maintain CNI integrity over the life of that campaign. If you consider how many new cell numbers are created every day—and how many replace landline numbers—staying on top of this is a full-time job. If the CNI service is interrupted for any reason, the engine sends an error code, which halts the campaign until it is resolved.

    While the technology is pivotal in helping your business avoid costly calling mistakes, the system needs to have robust reporting capabilities. It’s the same reason so many people use TurboTax to file their taxes. It offers a line of defense against time-consuming audits. A TCPA compliance solution will generate reports that validate and verify that you are following the rules.

    Keeping Lists Clean with DNC Live Scrubbing

    The TCPA requires you to process and maintain requests of customers who ask to be placed on your Do Not Call (DNC) List and the National DNC Registry. In addition, there are also 12 states with their own DNC list (and their own regulations). As telephone numbers move to and from different customers, these DNC registries are continuously in flux. Keeping up with these constant changes can be difficult for small to medium-sized call centers working to prevent TCPA violations.

    This is why DNC live scrubbing is an absolute necessity, since falling behind on scrubbing your lists can be a fatal business mistake, placing you in the regulatory crosshairs. A robust compliance solution must employ DNC live scrubbing to keep their campaign lists clean. It can also evaluate current, long-running campaigns and remove numbers recently added to the DNC ranks.

    Caller ID Spoofing

    While deceptive caller ID manipulation has been an issue for many years, it became a widespread epidemic with the rise of VoIP. The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 was passed to deal specifically with spoofing, which is defined as the manipulation of identifying data “with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.” To ensure that you’re staying on the right side of the TCPA, your compliance solution needs DCLID, or dynamic caller identification. DCLID enables an outbound call from a business to display a phone number with a local area code.

    DCLID is not spoofing. DCLID, in fact, facilitates compliance, since instead of producing a fake number on the display of the person you’re calling (which is what happens in spoofing), your agents are calling from numbers you actually own. Using Dynamic Caller ID, callers can easily return a call and either speak with a live agent or leave a voicemail for your team, even if the purpose of the returned call is to request being placed on a DNC list.

    A Bonus Tool: IVR

    Although you might not instinctively think of interactive voice response, or IVR, as a part of your TCPA solution, the technology allows you to automate and fulfill DNC requests without wasting the precious time of your call center agents and sales reps.  When customers call your company, they interact with the IVR first, where they can, for example, choose to pay an invoice, connect with an agent, or be taken off your list.  Along with aiding compliance, IVR improves customer satisfaction scores and first call resolution rates.

    Our contact center TCPA Compliance Engine is available for all carriers, dialer vendors, and contact center configurations. We designed it so your contact center remains on the right side of the law without placing a heavy burden on the shoulders of you or your team. Learn more about how we can keep your contact center safe and productive. Contact us today!

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    Call Centers, Start Your Compliance Engine!