Call centers that rely heavily on outbound calling have a new challenge with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). As more consumers are turning to their mobile devices to interact with businesses – through mobile banking, online ordering or offer redemption – they’re also cutting the cord on landlines.
As a result, mobile phone contact is becoming the new standard for businesses, but it also presents new challenges for compliance efforts. Recent litigation and clarifications made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the TCPA make it more important than ever for organizations to strengthen their number verification strategies and maintain compliance in order to avoid penalties.
There are a number of challenges for businesses when it comes to meeting TCPA compliance for communications to mobile devices. The regulation governs transmissions made using an “automatic telephone dialing system,” but the broad nature of the law means it benefits companies to be as cautious as possible, since the fine for violating the TCPA can run as much as $1,500 per violation.
Recent announcements from the FCC make it clear that organizations must have express consent, in some cases written consent, before making contact with a consumer’s mobile phone. Consent is needed whether the call is promotional in nature or not, with limited exception for communications related to important medical or financial matters. The law also applies to automated text messages sent to customers including notifications, marketing messages and mass communications.
Not only do businesses need to verify that they have consent from the customer before calling, they also must know whether or not the phone number they are calling still belongs to the customer in question. There is only one “grace period” contact allowed if an organization acts in good faith but reaches the wrong consumer or a new consumer with a reassigned mobile number.
In addition, a customer has the right to revoke consent to contact, and the business must cease calls to their phone.
Improving Measures to Maintain TCPA Compliance
Many call centers rely on older databases of phone numbers that may not be current. Since many mobile numbers are recycled from user to user, it can be difficult to keep your database up-to-date. Being able to verify the validity of a mobile number before calling helps reduce the amount of unnecessary calls made while also avoiding potential costly financial fines. A more effective tool that businesses can use to ensure that their call centers are in compliance with the TCPA is real-time number verification.
This is accomplished through a batch upload verifying a number against real-time mobile network operator (MNO) phone data. By utilizing queries against real-time MNO data organizations can get much more insights into their customers number like determining if a number still belongs to the customer on file or if it has been recycled, so your employees know if they need to update consent and communication preferences.