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Outbound calls can be a great way for organizations to reach out and build loyalty or anticipate and provide for potential customer needs. However, some outdated practices have created negative associations for customers. As a result, guidance and outbound call regulations have been developed both for the purpose of protection and to steer contact center best practices. What do organizations need to consider when using outbound calls to deliver additional value to customers, and how does geographical location affect that?
When planning an outbound campaign, organizations need to deliver it with care using the most appropriate automatic dialler in order to promote positive customer experiences. There is also a clear need to be aware of not only the regulations governing the outbound call center’s location, but also those that apply wherever your customers may be.
Outbound call regulations support healthy boundaries
Any relationship needs healthy boundaries, including those with customers. Germany has some of the strictest regulations to protect their consumers, who must opt-in to receive outbound calls. Making contact without their consent is illegal, and records of compliance need to be kept for 5 years. The Netherlands has similar rules. However, in the USA, France and the UK there is an opt-out model. This means it’s the customer’s responsibility to register on a do not call list. Organizations must then consult both external and their own well-maintained internal lists before launching any campaign, normally within a specified time frame.
Just because it’s possible to call someone doesn’t mean you should, however. In 2021, French consumer associations were strongly opposed to a draft government decree which would allow organizations to call the same person 4 times a month. In some places the feeling is that an opt-out model is insufficient to protect consumers from nuisance calls. This leaves organizations in somewhat of a dilemma. With so much competition in the digital world, how can contact centers reach out and offer added value, before a customer seeks it elsewhere, while also ensuring this is perceived as a positive experience with their brand?
Regulations for outbound call center etiquette
Bad manners or a lack of transparency is a poor start to any call, and will only lead to low-quality experiences and mistrust. This has led to the creation of regulations which encourage proper outbound call etiquette. For many companies, however, adherence is easy as it’s mostly common sense and good manners. There are four main guidelines to follow.
First off, when to call. Regardless of location, the rules here are broadly similar in that organizations are limited to variations within the 8am-9pm timeframe during the week, with tighter restrictions on Saturdays. Calls on Sundays and public holidays are either prohibited or strongly discouraged.
Secondly, there is the need to make a proper introduction. Live agents must clearly identify themselves, their organization, the purpose of the call, the nature of the goods or services and then any specific promotions. In the UK, an outbound call that can’t for some reason connect to an agent (abandoned call) should play an automated message to identify the company and provide the number for customers to register on the Do Not Call list.
Third are the more varied regulations when it comes to what type of number an outbound call should originate from. Customers may also need the ability to return a call to such a number or be provided with an alternative. These are some of the more changeable rules so regular compliance checks are wise.
Lastly there is record keeping. Maintaining accurate records in an outbound call contact center is crucial to demonstrate compliance. These records need to adhere to data protection rules such as GDPR and be kept for 3-5 years.
With so many regulations, why use outbound calls?
The answer is simple: outbound calls generate positive customer experiences to differentiate a brand, increase value for customers and revenue for companies when they are well executed. The key is avoiding high volumes of cold-calls and instead delivering informed and personalized proactive services to existing customers. A Gartner study of 6,000 customers showed that this kind of proactive customer service resulted in increases in the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES).
There have also been several studies into the success of different types of calls from outbound call contact centers such as discovery calls, cold calling and proactive customer service. Two such studies back in 2017 and 2018 by Gong show how the perceived quality of an experience can even be predictably influenced by the language used, not just how the campaign is delivered. Here are a few top tips:
Organizations should also conduct outbound campaigns across multiple channels. By reaching out in an indirect way, customers can choose when to interact. The windows of opportunity to catch people at a convenient time are shrinking in modern society. Email and SMS, with customers opted into these services, can offer personalized up-selling or cross-selling promotions as part of a channel-less strategy. This tactic also creates an opportunity for customers to request callbacks to discuss details at the most convenient time for them.
Odigo’s voice experience helps send a professional message
It’s important to remember outbound call regulations have developed for a reason and help promote positive added-value experiences. Well-crafted campaigns can contribute to positive relationships with customers rather than being something that drives them away. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions have 360-degree customer views to inform customers of personalized offers, plus a full spectrum of call management tools built with 35 years of experience and ready to meet the needs of large organizations.
To find out how Odigo can help your organization with outbound calling campaigns speak to our team of experts.
If you need details for particular regulations or regions, take advantage of the resources below.
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