Are There Good Robocalls?
In early January, the Federal Trade Commission busted a major robocall scam in Florida that had been going on since 2012. The scammers were violating the “do not call” list and posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, demanding that taxpayers either make immediate payments or risk jail and deportation. Over seventy arrests were made and more than 750 people were detained in this ongoing investigation. Just this week, a new "Can you hear me now?" robocall scam has made national headlines. Voice broadcasting is a great way to communicate with your group, but here are some key principles to remember.
3 Rules for Voice Broadcasting
Robocalls are phone calls or texts that have prerecorded messages. The number of robocalls has increased over the years as technology has made it easier for robocallers to make calls from anywhere in the world while hiding their identification. The FTC has strict guidelines on robocalling and uses many tools to investigate robocallers.
There is a right and a wrong way to handle automated calling and texting services. There are steps you can take to ensure that your messages are furthering the mission of your company and providing a valuable service to the people you are trying to reach. Here are three principles you should always follow when sending automated messages:
- Get consent.
Our responsible use policy requires our customers to send messages only to phone numbers that were given directly to their organization. Sending messages to mobile numbers without prior consent violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Getting consent from your customers will ensure that your messages are legal and will not be a nuisance to the people you are trying to reach.
- Be considerate and provide value.
Every message you send should be clear, relevant, and provide value to the person you are sending it to. You should also consider the frequency of your messages as too many messages will annoy and estrange the people you are trying to reach. Always be mindful of the time and only send messages within traditional business hours.
- Listen to feedback.
The best way to ensure that you are building relationships and gaining trust is to reach out to recipients for their feedback. This not only will build goodwill with your recipients but will make your message campaign more effective.
There has been heated debate among the public regarding robocalls with most people viewing them as a nuisance. If you were to Google the subject, you will find dozens of links complaining about the practice and offering suggestions for how to stop robocalls. This is due in large part to individuals and companies who use this technology to take advantage of people.
The case in Florida is noteworthy because those individuals violated people’s rights and broke the law. But this is not the case with all automated calling services – robocalls don’t have to be something that people hate and dread.
The purpose statement for our company is, “We work to connect people with the information they want.” We are even partnering with leading robocall blocking services to ensure our customers use our services to the highest standards. Automated messaging services, or “robocalls”, can help you reach more people, and when used thoughtfully, they allow you to connect with them in a more meaningful way.
Not following these basic principles can create risk for your company, and in some cases, even lead to costly fines and legal expenses.
As always, if you aren’t sure about whether your broadcasts comply with our Responsible Use Policy, simply ask us to review it and we’ll help you out.
Ron Kinkade is the Director of Marketing at Call-Em-All, an automated calling and group texting company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Ron has more than 15 years of experience with a proven track record of success. Ron is a graduate of Illinois State University.