One of the most significant issues in consumer communications this year will be how outsourcers deal with skyrocketing robocall activity.
Forecasts from PrivacyStar – a service that uses data to identify unknown callers for consumers and businesses alike – indicates 9 billion calls from known scammers will be received by consumers in 2018. At a higher level, the same reports indicate those same consumers will receive more than 50 billion nuisance calls, indicating that one out of every 10 calls they receive will be unwanted. Consumers are feeling the pain of this problem and have made this the #1 complaint topic to the FCC.
Regulators obviously want something done about the problem, and have been forcing the entire telco industry to figure out a solution. In 2016, the Robocall Strike Force was founded in the U.S. Canada’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is also addressing the challenge to the north, while Ofcom does the same in the UK.
But these issues and solutions have proven much more complex than anticipated: Many businesses have found important communication efforts blocked, or mis-labeled as spam, stymying efforts to keep consumers up-to-date on their bills, and other matters most easily communicated over the phone. So the contact center and telecom industries are still searching for comprehensive solutions that:
- Meet consumer demands for protection
- Distinguish between nuisance and necessary communication
- Provide cost-effective means of implementation
- Balance regulatory and commercial reality
- Generate revenue and reduce churn
All of this is obviously easier said than done. And the real question isn’t about how your business can be the nicest player in the industry – It’s about how you can continue to serve your clients the best way possible, and find new opportunities, without running afoul of compliance mandates.
So what kind of framework should be in the back of your mind as you design dialing campaigns that consider the issue of robocalling these next several months? There are three strategies to consider:
When a consumer looks at their phone, they want to know who is calling, and why, as quickly and as easily as possible. Many are already using smartphone apps that use constantly-recalculated nuisance scoring to indicate whether a number is benign or malicious. It’s important that businesses like yours consider your call patterns, completion rates, duration, and consumer feedback when dialing. The more transparent you can be, the less likely you are to be labeled a nuisance.
Consumer choice enablement
Carriers are already cooperating to identify and stop upstream insertion of illegal calls, and it’s in our industry’s best interest to help them solve the challenges they face. Networks have taken steps to block bad numbers at VoIP gateways, but this has been limited to inbound-only numbers – A tactic that’s been easy to circumvent by scammers, that poses a high risk to legitimate users. By providing consumer-controlled tools for screening calls, carriers and application providers are helping to reduce the former’s impact on consumers. So while it might seem counter-intuitive to encourage solutions like consumer call screening apps, it’s actually an important piece of the puzzle to mitigate the challenge of highly fragmented, competitive carrier networks that often use blunt instruments to solve complex problems.
Efficient dialing practices
Many dialing operations fall into certain pitfalls that make them targets for consumer complaints and call screening technologies. These practices include:
- Calling too frequently, or outside legal hours
- Calling after being asked to stop
- Calling numbers on the DNC Registry
- Not providing and/or honoring opt-outs
- Calling from inaccurate call lists
- Using multi-purpose lines (using the same number for both sales and collections)
- Disguising your identity, or using deceptive spoofing
All of these practices make it more likely a call will be labeled a nuisance. New dialing technology like Ontario Systems’ Contact Savvy solutions can help mitigate many of these issues automatically.
This is a fast-moving but important issue. So for many businesses, these recommendations may create more questions than answers. Need more specific recommendations for how to address the issue of robocall blocking in your dialing campaigns specifically? If you’re an Ontario Systems customer, join us and FirstOrion/PrivacyStar on February 21 for an hour-long discussion on the topic, and learn more about new practices and technology you can implement today to meet the challenge.
Disclaimer: Ontario Systems is a technology company and provides this blog article solely for general informational and marketing purposes. You should not rely on the content of this material for any other purpose or as specific guidance for your company. Ontario Systems’ advice, services, tools and products described herein do not guarantee compliance with any law or industry standard. You are ultimately responsible for your own company’s actions and compliance efforts. Because everyone’s situation is different, you must consult your own attorneys, accountants, and/or other advisors to obtain specific advice on your company’s compliance, legal, tax, regulatory and/or other business needs. Despite Ontario Systems’ efforts to provide current and up-to-date information, you need to recognize that the information contained herein may become outdated quickly and may contain errors and/or other inaccuracies.
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