There can be no doubt that telemarketing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Nothing demonstrates this more than the huge focus most companies now place on compliance. There was a time when the success of a telemarketing project was based purely on outcomes such as number of sales or leads. Nowadays, telemarketing can't be considered a success unless compliance related metrics are as near to faultless as possible.
This change is not really surprising. All industries which use telemarketing heavily have been plagued by poor compliance. Earlier this year, we even saw the charity sector become the media's attention when it was shown that a number of them had been using unethical and even illegal methods to acquire new donors. For those working in utilities, telecommunications or financial services, this was nothing new. They had all gone through investigations into mis-selling and subsequently been subjected to a large amount of regulation to ensure that the risk of it happening again was minimsed. Many companies in these industries have found that failure to enforce strict compliance measures can cost huge amounts in fines and can cause massive damage to your reputation.
Essentially, compliance is the process of ensuring that the entire process of telemarketing is conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner. If implemented correctly, a strict compliance process should actually ensure you have better customers who will be customers for longer and be advocates for your company.
Over the past few years, I've worked with a number of companies to develop and implement an entire compliance framework. A successful compliance framework is holistic in its approach and includes a process to ensure that the process is regularly audited. For many companies, compliance is simply a matter of checking a percentage of successful sales calls but this simply isn't enough. The holistic approach will examine all issues such as the following:
- It will check the supply chain. For example, if you are using another company offshore to generate leads, you must ensure that they adhere to your guidelines.
- Everyone who touches the operation should have training around compliance related issues.
- There must be an auditible process to check for compliance with issues such as silent calls and the telephone preference service
- There should be clearly defined roles about who is responsible for each part of compliance and a process for what happens when that person is not available. In larger projects, it is advisable to have 1 person who oversees all areas of compliance.
- A party not involved with the operation should conduct the audit process. If the telemarketing is being done internally, then a 3rd party should conduct the audit. Where the telemarketing is done by an external agency, it can be carried out by the client but by people not directly involved in the day-to-day relationship.
If you are considering telemarketing, I conduct a free audit which gives you guidance on how to best approach this. Please use the form if you would like to avail of this opportunity: