The telemarketing industry is facing a serious challenge that has gained impetus in the last few years – restrictive legislation. Regulation of telemarketing services has the votes of the general public and is supported by both parties. While this puts some pressure on telemarketing services, it is also an opportunity for quality organizations to prove their worth by adding value to businesses and consumers.
Telemarketing regulations – a mutating challenge
The challenge of conforming to telemarketing regulations is further complicated by the frequent changes made to them. Old laws are revamped and new laws developed that often have overlapping jurisdictions. Telemarketing services have their work cut out in keeping current with the legislative environment.
Some rules that telemarketing companies must comply with to avoid getting penalized are:
Curfews: Telemarketers cannot call consumers at any time of the day. There is a specified time range within which the call should be made.
Do-Not-Call lists: People who have registered on Do-Not-Call lists cannot be called by telemarketers. Telemarketing services are expected to make this check before making a call. They can call the customer under certain exceptions only. Do-Not-Call registries are maintained at national and state levels.
Licensing: Though not applicable in all states, telemarketing companies have to obtain a license to operate. Some states also expect bonding of the company. This creates more paperwork and additional payout of fees for telemarketing services.
Mandating caller ID transmission: Consumers can use call screening to divert calls from call centers or choose not to receive them. This closes the door on telemarketers effectively.
Content restrictions: There are laws that regulate what a telemarketing service can market and even the form of marketing them. This is restrictive and sets more monitoring checks for the company.
Effective telemarketing – merging compliance and sales
In spite of the many restrictions imposed on telemarketing, it can be a part of a business’ marketing mix. Companies maintain their telemarketing efforts by following these strategies:
Optimizing on existing customer relationships: Telemarketing laws allow calling a customer who already has a business relationship with the company, even if she is registered in the Do-Not-Call list. By cross-selling to these customers, the business keeps the doors open for future sales. Selling low-cost products or loss leaders is an opportunity to expand the client base and increase the chances of making more profitable sales in the future.
Supporting telemarketing with other marketing strategies: Businesses typically use more than one marketing strategy to promote products and offers. For telemarketing, marketing materials such as direct mails, emails, and newsletters also work to introduce customers to call center numbers and obtain their consent for calls.
Getting permission to call: Telemarketing rules also exempt cases where customers on Do-Not-Call lists agree to receive calls from some company. Businesses can get customer’s consent through affinity programs, contests or special offers.
Being professional: The reason why telemarketing is regulated so strictly today is because of the indiscriminate cold calling practiced by unprofessional call centers in the past. The calls came close to customer badgering and telemarketing faced a lot of flak for it. Quality telemarketing services maintain high standards by respecting customer’s time and willingness to entertain a call.
Telemarketing regulations, though restrictive, have raised the bar for telemarketing services. With the weeding out of unethical companies, quality telemarketing companies can distinguish themselves with their services and strategies to obtain customer buy-in.