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SmartReply Ready for New FTC Automated Voice Message Rules

August 21, 2008
When the first phase of the ruling goes into effect on December 1st, all pre-recorded voice marketing calls will require an automated opt-out feature. This feature provides consumers with the choice to opt-out of marketing calls, as well as future alerts and messages.

This change will put a significant strain on this industry, requiring some innovative ways of initiating new strategies to reach intended audiences. Compliance will be an issue, as well as the development of new methods of reaching prospective customers. For call centers that have implemented automated calling to save money, reverting back to live agents may provide the answer.

On September 1st, 2009, all pre-recorded voice calls will move to full express consent. In layman’s terms, this phase requires additional consent measures, in the form of E-sign, digital or written consent from the consumer to opt-in to receive voice marketing calls. For the marketer – they can only contact those individuals that have provided their consent to be contacted.

For those voice marketers in the U.S., this new ruling will most likely mean compliance nightmares. One company however, is ready to face the new challenge. SmartReply views the FTC’s (News - Alert) new ruling as reinforcing and validating its commitment to developing respectful communications and express consent from consumers.

SmartReply has remained focused on providing its clients – which include more than 50 of the 100 top retailers in the United States – with an automated solution that has allowed consumers to request their removal from future voice marketing campaigns through a featured called SmartDNC. This solution allows consumers to simply “press 1 to opt-out now.”

This automated process has been a part of SmartReply’s standard operating procedure since 2001. The company is truly the first in the industry to provide express consent opt-in options to its clients for voice marketing calls on their behalf.

"By this time next year, we will have gone through yet another metamorphosis, toward our core purpose of creating environments for respectful, personal and engaging communications, with an unwavering goal of leading the world into the preference marketing era,” said SmartReply's President, Eric Holmen.

“There will, of course, be some companies who object to the new law, but we see yesterday's ruling as an exciting step forward in the voice marketing industry and one that consumers and marketers can greatly benefit from alike. Express consent will change the industry, in a positive way, for good," Holmen added.

For those marketers who fail to adhere to FTC guidelines and keep filling the airwaves with unwanted calls, "The fines are hefty," stated Holmen in reference to the Do Not Call fines of $11,000 per phone call violation.
 
"But more than the financial penalty, there's the loss of customer trust, respect and loyalty. You can't put a price on that,” Holmen said.

SmartReply will hold a Webcast on Thursday, August 28, at 1:00 pm EST/ 10:00 am PST, to discuss the implications of express consent and how it will affect marketers, consumers and the preference marketing era.
 
To sign-up for the free Webcast, please e-mail vanessahorwell@strategicvantage.com for details.
 
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Managing Application Performance by Understanding Applications, brought to you by Shunra (News - Alert) Virtual Enterprise.

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 Michelle Robart
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