4 Steps to Help Telemarketers Comply With New FTC Rules
The Federal Trade Commission issued the first part of the Telemarketing Sales Rule Amendment in August 2008, requiring that an opt-out mechanism be included at the beginning of all recorded messages. Now, beginning Sept. 1, 2009, all voice marketers must obtain written permission to send prerecorded sales and solicitation voice messages to consumers. Additionally, telemarketers must provide dedicated toll-free, opt-out phone numbers for all messages left on voice mails where automatic opt-out functions are not applicable.
The new law applies to all telemarketers—defined as those individuals or organizations attempting to induce customers to purchase goods, services or make charitable contributions involving more than one interstate phone call.
For assistance in compliance with the new regulation, businesses can take the following four steps:
1. Educate and review—Keep your organization educated about regulatory requirements and industry best practices.
2. Build and innovate. The ideas provided here (opt-in pages, viral video and an opt-in number) are tactics that businesses can apply to properly obtain customer opt-in, in compliance with FTC regulations. If businesses aren’t using the proper means to obtain permission prior to sending calls, they won’t be in compliance with the regulations and face possible prosecution. These tactics allow businesses to gather contact information from customers who wish to receive information by phone and to continue to contact them in compliance with federal law.
A. Opt-in page—Create an opt-in page, and encourage your customers to opt in to receive communications from your organization. The opt-in page should populate your database with customer contact information on an ongoing basis, keeping your lists strong and up-to-date.
B. Viral interactive video—Create a video hosted on your Web site, driving traffic to your site that you then can attempt to convert to opt-in respondents to further engage customers and increase sales.
Essentially, for customers to opt in, they provide their names and phone numbers (which can be typed into a template on an opt-in page). Customers who opt in are giving permission to receive communications by phone. The reason these aren’t "robocalls" is that these customers actually want to receive messages through this vehicle. For example, an NBA team may send recorded calls from a star player to its fan base (those who have opted in) giving information on ticket sales, special promotions, upcoming events for fans, etc. Since fans have such a deep connection/loyalty to their favorite teams, many want to receive these messages.