Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Increased Regulations are Changing Contact Centers in the U.K.

April 13, 2009

TPS, or Telephone Preference Service, regulations are on the rise and as a result, 60 percent of U.K. households are able to effectively prevent unsolicited sales and marketing calls. While this may be good news for U.K. citizens, it presents increasing challenges for those operating in the contact and call center space.

Brookmead Consulting conducted research in 2005, which was then extended into ‘The TPS report on Unwelcome Calls’. The report was considered to be influential in changing the legislative framework. In fact, shortly after the release of this report, new rules were introduced by Ofcom governing the use of predictive dialers to minimize the incidence of silent calls.

The original research was extended in the fall of 2008 and Brookmead Consulting was asked to evaluate the extent of the industry’s compliance with new regulations and to identify any emerging trends or significant variations from the previous report.

The updated research revealed some disturbing trends within the marketplace, especially where consumers and their preferences are concerned. Consumer distrust has been heightened, creating additional obstacles for those companies seeking to interact with customers via the call or contact center.

Key findings from this research suggest that consumer trust and confidence in the telephone as a marketing medium has been eroded. This trend is the result of increased concerns over data privacy, aggressive sales tactics and scams.

This research also found that the introduction of Ofcom’s nuisance calls regulations helped to reduce the number of silent calls per month from 9.6 in 2005 to 2.1 in 2008. In addition, consumers have become more familiar with silent calls and now key demographic groups that were previously worried about these types of calls are now significantly less anxious. 

Many companies are re-evaluating their telemarketing strategy as the combination of the high volume of TPS registrations, consumer distrust and widespread industry compliance to the Ofcom regulations. In order to continue to be effective in their telemarketing efforts, companies have to identify ways to effectively and legally contact current and potential customers.

The new study also found that the volume of cold calling to potential customers is decreasing and the number of unwelcome calls received by consumers is down by 20 percent in the past 12 months to 4.6 per month.

This research presents key information for those companies wishing to continue to drive revenue and opportunities through telemarketing. The game is changing and in order to be effective, they have to be able to change with it. Change will bring its own set of challenges, but new technologies could help progressive companies to continue to succeed.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray

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