"Playing fair" is a fundamental element of societal norms taught from the early stages of development. An example is children taught about playing fair with others out on the sports field. And while much changes as we age, playing fair continues to apply.
In the call center space, the "playing fair" concept can be the difference between remaining profitable, or not-- between having legal headaches and giant fines, and celebrating the higher road to compliance.
While this is sometimes not the easiest, most convenient way around things, fair practices play a significantly important role in professional call center calling practices.
OPC Marketing, a company providing predictive dialer solutions, promotes fair practices with the use of predictive dialers and includes on their website an outline of Predictive Dialing Fair Practices.
Some of these rules focus on the times at which callers can and should be reached and who does and does not qualify to be called.
"When presenting your Call Center Sales opportunity, you must: Call only between 8:00am and 9:00pm. These time restrictions do not apply if they are already a customer of your firm," the outline starts out by advising.
Start by asking for a moment of time, instead of jumping straight into the pitch. People will respect the two-way form of respect, since one another's time is valuable. If the person is busy, find out the best time to call, then schedule a call back in your Predictive Dialers software.
Also, bet you didn’t know it isn’t fair to pressure callers into buying without giving them some time to explore the opportunity or products. This old form of selling without time to make an intelligent decision is what’s referred to as "boiler room" call center mentality.
And it's only "fair"--- if your product is the best, it will outshine all others anyway.
Most importantly, OPC recommends in their “fair practices” outline that if those receiving your calls have made themselves aware of whats "fair" and are still getting pestered or annoyed by your cold calling Agent, they are able to retaliate "fairly" by placing them on your companies do not call list and blocking them from future contact.
They also have a right to complain to the firm's compliance officer, the FTC, and the states telemarketing regulator. Consumers have rights, and it’s better to respect them and move on to other consumers. After all, business will be booming when you play fair, and there are too many out there to call in one lifetime.
Speaking of fair, the moment someone requests to be put on your companies Do Not Call list, this request must be honored. Failing to do so and calling them in the future can result in some pretty heavy fines. To help with this OPC sells tools that clean out "Do Not Call" data from the Federal DNC call lists to ensure this won’t happen. When you import your calling list into the Dialer it “Cleans” the list and will not call--keeping you compliant with the law. This feature alone is worth the cost of the solution, if you’ve seen some of the latest fines that have been levied to non-compliant telemarketers in the news recently.
Remember your companies Do Not Call List and the Federal Do Not Call List from the FTC are two completely different beasts, one is not the other. If someone asks to be removed from your list it is not the same as being removed from the other. You may need to inform some customers of this. The federal data gets updated every 30 days; you have a certain amount of time to stay compliant within the law for newly added DNC phone numbers. The FTC’s list is subscription based and you’ll need to keep up on those updates.
And to stress just how important this is, an article by TMCnet columnist David Sims referred to MSM outlet, The Washington Post as noting that, "Since the DNC Registry's launch in the summer of 2003 the FTC has brought "nine violation cases and four fraud cases related to the registry, including its first 'pure' do-not-call case last year against time-share telemarketers who made more than 300,000 sales calls to registered numbers, a breach that cost them $500,000 in civil penalties."
If that’s not a good enough reason to follow the rules and "play fair", what is?
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Stefania Viscusi is an established writer and avid reader. To see more of her articles, please visit Stefania Viscusi’s columnist page.