If you’re just about to deploy a predictive dialler campaign, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is your abandoned call message. Realistically, you need to get this sorted before you begin to dial from your lists. The reason why this is vitally important, is that Ofcom brought forward a raft of new regulations in 2011 – all designed to minimise the problem of silent calls.
One of the worrying features of these new regulations, is the fact that you can now be fined up to 2 million pounds if you ignore the rules. So, if you would rather not suffer a huge penalty – it’s best to stay compliant.
The first thing to realise, is that although the rules appear complex – there are just a few easy to understand guidelines you need to adhere to. One you take care of that – you should have too many issues.
We would like to point out though, that this doesn’t constitute legal advice. Always pay attention to the Ofcom website and do your own research first!
Building your dropped call messaging
There are a number of easy rules to follow:
Alway identify yourself!
When leaving an abandoned call message, you need to explain who is calling and also the reason behind the call. There is some leeway here, for example if you’re calling to compare home insurance – then you should explain that reason for the call and state the comparison service itself is calling.
Make sure people can decline further marketing
During your abandoned call messaging, it’s important to give customers the ability to take themselves off your calling list. This isn’t just a good idea for compliance – it’s good practice anyway as you’ll likely anger people by continuing to call.
It’s also a good idea to have a voicemail option for when your call centre is shut at night.
Your calling ID
There are strict restrictions on the types of number you can call out on as a telemarketing company. In essence, you need to present:
- A local rate number
- A local area code that represents accurately where you business is based
- A freephone number
A number of years ago, it was accepted wisdom to present the local area code for the customer – rather than the company. This practice has now been banned and could get you into deep water with Ofcom.
Don’t use the message to advertise a service
One thing you’re explicitly not allowed to do during a dropped call message, is advertise your services. The message is simply meant to state the company name and the reason for calling – nothing else.
For example, “James Owen and Sons called you today about new window products” is perfectly fine. However, “James Owen and Sons called you about our fantastic range of windows at 0% finance” is most certainly not!
Building the message (part 2)
Once you have a message written down, we would advise again that you visit the Ofcom website to make doubly sure the message itself is compliant. You may also seek the advice of a competent dialler manager too – if it makes you feel more confident.
This is out idea of what a great abandoned call message may sound like:
“This is an automated call from James Owen and Sons regarding double glazing products. Unfortunately, due to a technical error, no agent is available to speak to you at this time. This is not an important call and you do not need to take any action as we will call back at another time. If you wish to receive no further calls from us, please call 01458 568985 and we will be happy to remove you from our calling list. Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience.”
This message hits all the important regulatory requirements and also ensures that as few customers will be angry and recurring calls – as they have the opportunity to opt out if possible.