No doubt, technological advancements have given birth to various jobs that otherwise may never have existed. Although at the time the telephone was invented, technology hadn’t advanced as much as it has today. But even then, after a few years of its invention, the telephone brought about a new way, or rather, a more cost-effective way to reach potential customers. We are talking about telemarketing. Although we must add that telemarketing is just narrowed down to telephones, the practice can be done over the internet or through fax as well.
What is Telemarketing?
Telemarketing is a direct marketing method that involves marketing goods and services to potential customers or buyers over the phone, fax, or internet. Initially, when it started, it was solely done by telemarketers, however, today, these phone calls can be automated. Automated telemarketing calls are called “robocalls” and they take away a lot of stress from the job. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocall to learn more about robocalls.
The nature of this marketing approach is quite intrusive. This, and the fact that there are also many reports of telephone fraud and scams makes many people frown on the practice. However, that is not to say it is illegal. The practice of telemarketing is very much legal however, both the federal and state government keep it regulated.
How it Works?
In telemarketing, telemarketers contact, vet, and approach potential customers. The term was first used in the 1970s after cheaper, outbound long-distance telephone services became a thing. It can be done from an office, a call center, or a home. Usually, a single call is put across to the potential customer to assess their interest. Once the marketer becomes certain that the customer is interested, follow-up calls are made to close the sale.
Although the practice is very much about contacting random individuals, this cannot be done effectively as there are so many people to contact. Therefore, telemarketers devised a means to increase their chances of making sales. With the use of various consumer data, they are able to narrow down large databases of consumer names to a small number of consumers that have a higher probability of making a purchase.
Unknown to some, telemarketing isn’t used by only for-profit businesses, even political groups and non-profit organizations use telemarketing to their advantage. The practice is also used for donation solicitation, surveying, and marketing research.
Public Reception of Telemarketing
Earlier we mentioned that this practice is considered by many to be intrusive as not everyone is welcoming to random sales calls. To protect consumers’ rights and privacy, the federal government created what is called a “National Do-Not-Call Registry”; some states also keep and update their own DNC registry. Consumers who do not want to receive telemarketing calls may register their numbers in this registry. The DNC registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and enforced by the FTC, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state law enforcement officials. Click here to learn more about the FTC.
What is DNC Scrubbing?
Since the creation of the DNC registry, telemarketers work with the list of DNC numbers. This is to ensure they do not violate the laws and policies put in place to protect consumers’ rights and privacy. Before a call is made, the number, through software, is scrubbed against the DNC list to ensure it isn’t one of the numbers listed. This practice is known as DNC scrubbing.
As we said earlier telemarketing is not illegal, however, it does become illegal when a call is made to a number listed in the Do-Not-Call Registry. To ensure that marketing companies abide by this rule, there are penalties that violators pay. One of them is a hefty fine that according to the FTC could be as much as $43,000 per call.
DNC scrubbing ensures that telemarketing companies do not contact numbers in the registry. Now, this list is a one-time list. It is constantly being updated as more and more consumers sign their numbers up. What this means is that companies would have to update their list as well to be on the safe side. As a matter of fact, they are mandated to do so once every 15 days.
There are exceptions to the DNC rule. A company will not be penalized for violating this rule if it had an existing relationship with the consumer. There’s also the “safe harbor” exemption which protects companies from sanctions or civil penalties if they erroneously placed a call through to one of the DNC numbers. However, there are terms and conditions that apply to this exemption.
There are many different DNC scrubbing tools and software that telemarketers can use to avoid getting into trouble with the FTC. Some are better than others and companies may want to take their time finding the right one. Some can scrub the DNC list once every 24 hours depending on how they are programmed and set up.
The cost of DNC scrubbing tools and software varies. Although with most things, the more expensive ones should provide more value, it may not be the case here. Usually, some of these tools are more expensive because they offer some other services that you may not necessarily need. As we said earlier take your time finding the right one to make sure you get good value for your money.