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New FCC Rules to Impact Predictive Dialer Technology

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February 21, 2012

New FCC Rules to Impact Predictive Dialer Technology

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Political campaigns are still an acceptable method for making robocalls through predictive dialers, but a recent FCC (News - Alert) decision pulls the plug on automated telemarketing pitches. Telephone carriers, airlines, banks, and insurance companies will now have to get written permission from consumers before they can add them to a predictive dialer robocall list.

According to this Business Week report, the FCC chairman said they are “closing loopholes” that have allowed robocalls to reach too many dissatisfied consumers, who have “complained to us by the thousands.”

Not-for-profit organizations and political campaigns are not subject to the recent ruling. Predictive dialers are also used by school districts to inform parents of school events and this usage will still be protected and is not a part of the FCC ruling.

Many predictive dialers are now being offered in the cloud with a flash-based Web user interface, making them more economical and easier to use. Many allow integration with a company's customer relationship management systems, which make robocalls to specific consumers much more efficient and productive. 

Most companies keep an eye on cost per call, so making calls to an audience that would not respond (or complain to the FCC) is not in the best interest of companies using a predictive dialer.

The FCC's ruling says that telemarketers cannot base their outgoing calls on established business relationships and that before they make future calls, written consent, which could be gained electronically, must be obtained.

“We are also closing the loophole so that every single telemarketing campaign will have to comply with strict limits on the 'dead-air' calls that are so frustrating to consumers when they interrupt their dinners or other activities,” according to the ruling.

Furthermore, all prerecorded predictive dialer calls must include an opt-out mechanism, which will end the call and add the consumer's number to an internal do-not-call list. As part of the ruling, telemarketers will not only have to get permission or an opt-in from consumers, but they must also offer an opt-out.

How companies using predictive dialer technology in their marketing strategy will cope with the ruling is yet to be determined. Obtaining permission from every lead in the data base, however, could prove to be a time-consuming effort. Still, it is an important one to stay in compliance with the federal regulation.

Another FCC decision that affects telephony is a ruling that requires Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to report network outages that will affect 911 coverage. Traditional carriers already follow that requirement, but with more 911 services going to an E911 model, the VoIP services are also being required to follow the same guidelines as traditional carriers.

However, SpitFire, a provider of innovative predictive dialers, offers a highly effective way to contact consumers without using robocalling pre-recorded messages. In fact, the company's dialers filter operator intercepts, answering machinges, busy tones, no answers and other non-productive calls, thereby connecting agents with the highest possible number of live answers while staying within legal telemarketing limits for dropped calls.To find out more about the company, click here.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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