I’ll never forget the blank stares on the faces of call center directors, chief marketing officers, lead generators, dialing companies, and Do Not Call service providers as they leave the seminar rooms after talk after talk on handling Do Not Call regulations for their businesses and customers.
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Sometimes I feel like we experience just enough confusion and paralyzing obfuscation at these seminars to get us to come back to the next seminars, where they’ll review more conflicting verdicts. Then we'll be confused just enough to come back to the next seminar where we'll learn:
- “How to Navigate the Latest CFPB Lawsuits” - sort of
- “How to Avoid the Latest TCPA Suits and Settlements” - kind of
- “The Essentials of Protecting Yourself” - maybe
- “The New States You Can’t Call Cell Phones In” - thanks
After an hour of conflicting court cases and confusing cell phone calling terminology (What’s an ATDS in pause and preview mode?) the speaker finally asks, “Any questions?”
And the audience of professional call center mangers says to themselves, “No, it’s really clear I’m violating the Do Not Call laws. I just don’t have any clue what to do about it.”
And the speaker thinks to himself, “Of course you don’t have questions. I don’t have any answers! I’m only here to scare the bejeezus out of your so you’ll come to the next seminar. Or you can hire me and I’ll give you an opinion, as my speech today was not legal advice. As I’m sure you know.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the lawyer's fault!
There’s a reason the compliance industry has had 40 declaratory ruling proposals filed with the FCC (now supposedly solved), along with multiple opposite court rulings. We’re constantly struggling with, “How much automation can I bring to my telemarketing (for cold calls), or ongoing phone communications for debt collectors and the like (Click for Direct-To--Voicemail Cell Messaging for TCPA Compliant Calls) to maximize my profits and still have a defensible position with the Do Not Call and related laws, especially now with the CFPB re-interpreting these laws as they wish, not to mention class actions.”
And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s advice for preparing for an audit? “If you’re not doing anything wrong, don’t worry. If you’re doing something wrong, there will be problems.” That doesn’t help.
And the nutty stuff marketers and companies do to make consumers crazy with technology that’s far outstripped all sane calling practices keeps my in-box full of consumer feedback like: “Bob, this company leaves messages for me five times a day. I tell them not to call, but they keep calling. Please make it stop. I’m on the Do Not Call List.”
So I’m headed out to another Do Not Call seminar – my fellow attendees dreaming of coming home with actionable steps they can take to help reach consumers and businesses in a compliant, profitable way in some sort of sustainable ongoing system that’ll keep them out of trouble.
But something tells me evasive, unclear and confusing awaits.
So I’ve already made plans to go to the follow-up seminar.