Ringless Voicemail allows you to directly deliver a voicemail message to a cell phone server without ringing the phone and without charging the consumer. The technology has been around about 3 years and has delivered millions of informational messages without complaint. Ringless voice mail has been successful at creating lots of inbound callbacks from consumers – as much as 11% in some cases.
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The main challenge has been legal. Although there have been no lawsuits, or even complaints as far as we can tell, legal teams are hesitant. Even though Direct Voicemail doesn’t touch the wireless system at all, as calls go directly to the voicemail server associated with a consumer cell phone, it is technically outside the scope of the TCPA as the consumer isn’t charged for the communication – legal teams have sometimes been hesitant to employ the technology, wondering if it would hold up under TCPA / FDCPA court scrutiny.
The most frequent users of Ringless Direct-To-Voicemail are Debt Collectors, Financial Institutions and Student Loan Servicers. Ringless Voice Mail is not for cold calling, as consumers might have a tendency to complain. And this direct delivery system doesn’t cause complaints.
This delivery system should not be used for unsolicited sales calls or “cold calling”. Although it is technically outside the scope of the TCPA – there’s no need to potentially upset consumers with unwanted solicitations that might cause complaints – the smoking gun for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
As the gear performing these discrete deliveries actually “lives” inside the telephone network, Ringless Voicemail is not a dialer, and actually falls outside the scope of the TCPA.
Before each campaign, numbers are identified as wireless or landline. The identification service is free, and you pay only for successful message deliveries to cells. Robust reporting features on what happened to each call are also included. Keep in mind the cell system is 30 year old technology, so it can be difficult to determine what happened on EVERY call – but double verification of successfully delivered calls (via the provider and carrier) is extremely accurate.
Delivery rates on “deliverable” numbers can range from 60% to 85%. We’ve seen cases where half the numbers are bad, so only half get delivered! Sometimes the voicemail box is full or not hooked up. Companies will generally send a report to attempt to identify what happened and why a delivery may have failed.
Ringless Voicemail quality can vary, along with pricing. One provider we’re aware of can ring the phone up to half the time – whereas the top provider holding the patent on this service almost never rings the phone. Under this patent, the phone call that’s placed is a call to a landline voicemail platform, so there’s no ringing associated with that. They are calling a piece of gear in the telephone company central office data center. The cell phone owner retrieves the message as they normally would.
We can’t speak for all ringless providers, as many have come on the market recently, but our patent-holders pride themselves in discretely dropping complete messages into the cell voicemail server. These are easily understood by the recipient, enabling the consumer to respond knowing exactly what the communication is about.
Our research indicates call center agents are much more productive using direct-to-voicemail because they are not just calling and leaving messages all day. They can send a bunch of messages out in the morning, casting a much wider communications net than they normally would by hand, and catch up on backend workflow knowing the outgoing call part is done for them. And the more you communicate with consumers, the more you allow them to call you back, the higher your efficiency.