By Geoff Mina
After the FCC enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991, doing business became a lot more complex for outbound contact centers. It wasn’t the first time that compliance requirements had an impact on contact center technology. But at that time, trying to keep pace with legislation changes was especially painful due to the massive amount of legacy contact center systems in place, and complex upgrades and integrations.
With today’s cloud-based contact center systems, the challenge of staying current with technology as regulatory and compliance rules change has almost become a non-issue. There are plenty of reasons why the cloud environment offers huge benefits over premise-based systems when it comes to staying current. Here are the key ones.
Cost management: In the last 10 years, outbound agencies have seen costs rise much more than inbound agencies. This is in part due to changes in regulations around telemarketing and compliance that required contact centers to make modifications to outbound software technologies, reporting capabilities and agent training practices.
Because of the legacy premises-based systems in place, many organizations were forced to spend more to forklift-overhaul platforms. The changes also required more financial investment in custom integrations to create end-to-end systems that met the requirements at the time. The problem is, these same platforms no longer support the changing TCPA rules. Many organizations find themselves in the same spot as 10 years ago.
Put simply, cloud-based contact center systems never require a forklift-overhaul strategy. The nature of the cloud-based contact center system is to be flexible — allowing for easy adaptations as regulations and compliance rules change. This decreases spend greatly — no more starting over from square one, no more complex integrations, no more custom coding and dealing with clumsy add-on features. With cloud, costs are better managed and can even be forecasted upfront.
Future-proofing: We know the TCPA rules have the potential to change again and again as time goes on. Even with the new regulations less than a year old, businesses and consumers continue to debate over the best interaction channels, and the TCPA overseers look to narrow the focus on allowable connection points. As rules become more stringent, the platforms in place for outbound interaction will need to evolve to comply with the rules. This isn’t an easy job for premises-based platforms, but cloud platforms are designed to manage change.
In the fall of 2013, the amendments to the TCPA went into effect, making it necessary for dialer technology to evolve in order to remain compliant. As soon as the new rules were communicated, cloud vendors started to modify their technology platforms to help outbound customers remain compliant. This simply isn’t possible with a premises-based system, which puts that style of platform at an immediate disadvantage going forward.
Easier access to tools supporting compliance: Making outbound calls is getting more technical every day with stricter regulations and expanding Do Not Call (DNC) lists. To stay on top of the requirements, contact centers need access to the right tools that support real-time compliance. These days, it’s too risky to be out of compliance for any amount of time. For example, with the new TCPA amendments, contact centers must have up-to-date access to the national DNC list and have the ability to scrub the list more often than every 30 days to ensure a clean and compliant list.