“So what's happening on Do Not Call with this guy,” asks the CEO of a major calling platform provider. “We kind of want to make it our clients problem, right? They send us only pre-cleaned lists. They sign off on them. They upload it to us. It’s their list, and we’re just providing the platform, right?”
The problem is, your clients will continue to look for Do Not Call and TCPA guidance from you. And as the Operations Manager of a virtual call center, fulfillment house, or call marketer - you better get clear on things you don’t want to get involved in, and how you want to direct people on call prohibitions - and the pros and cons of integrating DNC with your present systems. Because upper management needs to know what the risks are. And there’s always risk.
Typically, call platform providers want to fix their compliance ship “all of a sudden”.
Something bad happens, and lo and behold there’s a huge rush to make a whole bunch of software changes – compliance additions that had been on deck for years mind you. You’re going to need flags, and windows and affiliate landing page changes sometimes in the 100’s. If your CRM was built in-house: custom programming to get permission to use automated calling methods, and SMS, and cell phone permissions, and home phone calling procedures. And lawyers to make sure all the legal opt-in and out wording is correct.
If you’ve been through this "compliance shock" before, you may be hoping never to get involved with Do Not Call again! Easier to make it the other guy’s problem, right?
Add the FCC’s lack of clarity on the Declaratory Rulings of June 10’th 2015.
The FCC indicated they’re going to continue to let TCPA challenges play out in the courts, further paralyzing businesses looking to shore up compliance initiatives. No actual definition of an Automated Dialing System vs Manual. And we still need to verify previous relationships before calling. And businesse to business callers now need to be concerned with TCPA cell laws.
Conversations with Top TCPA lawyers confirm similar compliance frustrations.
At the end of the day, the TCPA Attorney's message is, “We don’t know how the courts will interpret the TCPA”. Although skilled Defense Lawyers bring invaluable experience and some “tricks” up their sleeve to get call centers and marketers off the hook – the best answer they’ll give to “Am I compliant today?” is – “Well...maybe!”. And that can be an expensive solution.
What to do?
When we don’t know what judges are going to say or how these TCPA laws will be interpreted exactly, it's best to do everything we can not to engage in litigation at all. So how do we do that? The Five9’s and ConnectFirsts of the world say, “Talk to a certified Do Not Call Law Compliance Service Provider”. Not so much because the experts do an excellent job and have spotless compliance track records – but because predatory attorneys tend to walk away from confrontations and go after a company without professional compliance help.
Hiring a compliance partner is tough for many businesses.
Traditionally, most large companies have an internal compliance department. The Officer learns what they feel appropriate about outbound call restrictions and does the best they can to comply. But compliance is no longer the afterthought down the hall. It's become the most important piece of the how-to-stay-in-business puzzle today. Yet companies continue to deny the importance of call protections. Still trying to pan it off on clients, affiliates, and data providers.
“We’ll help some of our partners with compliance, but only those that work with us exclusively."
Consider helping all of your agents, affiliates and outsourced vendors - even the ones that additionally sell competitive products. So when you’re standing in front of a judge, you can say, “We offer third party compliance services to all our partners.”
API’s let you handle 3’rd party compliance chores conveniently in the background.
The days of “It’s too much of a hassle to work with a compliance partner” are over. After 12 years, just about every way to transport data, archiving, certifying each campaign, making that information available in the timeframe and format required by Government Agencies and Private Right of Actions has been invented, refined and fool-proofed. No more compliance kinks or bumps in the road. Whatever custom or off the shelf CRM system you have, these companies have a module that will more or less plug and play for you. And update important Federal and State algorithms in the process.
So resist the board room’s temptation to make Call Compliance the other guy’s problem.
Embrace compliance. Make a real effort to archive cell numbers – especially you B2B companies. Try a Litigator Scrub so you’re not calling the professional consumer repeat litigants that’ll make you life miserable. Sign up for the National Registry – it’s free if you’re a B2B or just call existing business relationships. Take a look at Reassigned Numbers Scrubs for your permission based calling. Make sure your recordings are up to date and properly archived. Nothing like playing back a customer’s voice in court to verify your permissions.
Fight the natural tendency to run, hide and deny these call compliance issues. Understand the risks before the FTC, FCC, State AG or some smart consumer litigant points them out to you.
Then it’s too late.
For more information on working with your clients, affiliates and agencies on appropriate Do Not Call and TCPA protection, call me on my personal line 561-317-3001 or email here - Bob