Reaching out to prospects through calls, emails, or text messaging opens up excellent opportunities for customer acquisition and revenue growth.
However, while trying to grow revenue, it’s essential not to put your contact center at risk of heavy fines or restrictions that could affect your business’s finances and reputation.
That is why you must always be cautious of call center compliance.
Before diving into the TCPA compliance checklist, it’s best to understand call center compliance and its impact on contact center operations.
In this article, we will discuss the following:
- Call center compliance
- TCPA compliance
- The TCPA compliance checklist
- Industries with TCPA exceptions.
Table of Contents
What is call center compliance?
Call center compliance is the application of specific laws and regulations that ensure fair practice and provide data security.
It isn’t far-fetched that contact centers with outbound campaigns often focus on growing revenue without considering the potential consumer privacy risks.
This usually leads to frustrated outreach campaigns, increased drop rates, low pick-ups, and spam-likely cases.
To avoid penalties, you must alter your contact center workflows and often your software to ensure call center compliance.
Types of Call Center Compliance
Two common compliance laws for call centers are:
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Compliance
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA Compliance).
While Aloware helps your call center comply with all, this article focuses on TCPA.
What is TCPA compliance?
Customers are often weary of receiving calls from contact centers, and understandably so, as these calls could be unrelated to their interests or needs.
Because of privacy concerns, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted by Congress in 1991 to protect consumers from unsolicited telemarketing calls and messages.
Telemarketers, banks, debt collectors, and other companies using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) were prohibited from calling consumers without their consent.
Before the TCPA, telemarketers operated without regulation, harassing consumers with sales calls and messages.
Congress included general prohibitions, restrictions, and exemptions in the Act but ordered the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to write the rules and regulations and penalized offenders.
Further, TCPA requires companies to provide a way for prospects to opt out of promotional calls by the same company in the future.
Having understood what TCPA is…
How do you stay TCPA compliant?
Below is a TCPA compliance checklist to help you avoid paying fines ranging from $500 to $1500 per violation.
- Use an updated call list.
- Get consent
- Implement an opt-out mechanism
- Limit telemarketing hours
- Use verified numbers
- Auto-dial numbers with obtained consent
- Train employees on TCPA compliance
- Monitor compliance updates
Use an Updated Call List
One of the errors that could get your call center numbers on the blacklist of consumers and regulators is calling numbers in the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry.
If your agents call a phone number listed on the National DNC Registry, the consumer can file a complaint with the FTC. This may open your business to monetary fines if found guilty of the violation.
A contact center’s best practice is to review the registry regularly.
Aloware has partnered with a few vendors in this space that can scrub your lists against the national and state-managed DNC lists. You get up-to-date number scrubbing services against the federal and state-wide DNC registries.
Before reaching out to consumers, the TCPA mandates that you always have their consent.
Consent must be written or in a digital opt-in agreement to receive telemarketing calls, text messages, emails, or any other form of outreach.
You can consent through campaigns such as emails, e-books, and seminar/conference sign-ups (online or offline).
Implement an opt-out mechanism.
One of the frustrating things for customers is constantly receiving unsolicited/solicited messages and calls from businesses without an opt-out option.
Besides reporting your contact center numbers for spam, these customers may file a complaint that would incur heavy fines from the FCC.
Always give consumers the option to stop receiving your outreach campaigns.
Below are a few opt-out options.
If you are contacting prospects through text messages, you could use the following lines:
- To stop receiving text message communications from us, reply UNSUBSCRIBE.
- Reply STOP to unsubscribe
- Text 777 to 2346 to stop receiving messages.
For emails, you must have an unsubscribe link.
For calls, you could use an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System that allows prospects to press a button to opt-out. You could explore verbal and written requests as well.
When customers opt out, ensure that your agents stop contacting them.
Limit telemarketing hours
The TCPA only allows telemarketing calls from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time.
If you call customers in different time zones, the local time could be challenging as many contact center systems can’t or don’t look up the consumer’s local time before dialing.
Unless your business sector falls on the list of exclusions, do not make calls or send texts outside the hours of 8 am to 9 pm (local time of the person you call).
Use verified numbers.
The TCPA requires that you include proper identification on all telemarketing calls and text messages. Identificatiıon should consist of your business name and phone number.
Aloware provides a trusted calling solution that implements industry-standard STIR/SHAKEN and A2P 10DLC, so you always reach consumers with the proper caller ID and a verified caller checkmark.
You risk being flagged as spam if your caller ID is not verified.
Auto-dial numbers with obtained consent
While power dialers are great for outreach campaigns, they could threaten your contact center’s continuity if found guilty of breaching TCPA compliance.
When running outbound sales campaigns, one thing to avoid is calling a recipient who hasn’t consented to receive your calls.
Having your agents manually dial numbers could be challenging. However, it would be your best option if your contact center software cannot auto-check numbers in the DNC or opt-out list.
Aloware’s dialers, you can customize your dialing processes and calls based on your updated DNC and Opt-out lists.
That would help your sales team work faster and more efficiently.
Train employees on TCPA compliance.
It would be best to educate your agents about TCPA compliance to avoid the chances of violating the rules.
Training your agents will inform them about possible actions that could cost your contact center fines.
For example, your agents should be aware of always telling call recipients that they can opt out of receiving promotional calls or messages.
Monitor compliance updates.
Regularly monitoring regulatory updates is essential to ensure you comply with the law.
Aloware ensures your contact center is compliant on all fronts, saving you time to focus on growing customers-base and closing more deals.
Some specific calls and industries are exempt from the TCPA act.
TCPA Exceptions for Call Centers
See if your contact center operations match one or more exclusion criteria:
- Your contact center makes calls for emergency purposes.
- The calls and texts you’re sending are not for commercial purposes.
- Calls “not made for a commercial purpose” from prohibiting artificial or prerecorded voice messages to residential telephone lines.
- Your organization is a tax-exempt nonprofit, and calls are strictly for non-profit purposes.
- HIPAA-related calls that deliver a healthcare message
- Package delivery calls to wireless consumers are subject to several conditions.
Check out the complete list of TCPA exceptions.
TCPA is a critical federal law that regulates telemarketing calls and text messages to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing activities and their privacy.
Ensuring TCPA compliance is essential for your contact center when engaging in telemarketing activities to avoid potential legal penalties.
Following the TCPA compliance checklist can build a better agent-customer relationship and drive positive revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a major feature of TCPA-compliant dialing?
The caller ID should represent the business name and telephone number that the recipient can use to contact the business. Solicited calls must not use an artificial voice or recording.
What does calls with a checkmark verified by the carrier mean?
A checkmark-verified call means that the caller is verified with the FCC and has passed the necessary STIR/SHAKEN checks. It reduces the chances of users flagging you as spam.
What is CNAM caller ID registration?
This displays your business’s name and the number on the recipient’s phone, making it easier for the recipient to recognize who is calling and potentially increasing the likelihood of the call being answered.