We receive a number of questions from businesses who want to add text messaging to their communications strategy, but are not sure they are compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Here is a quick TCPA 101 course so you can call and text with peace of mind. TCPA was created in 1991 and required businesses to gain express written consent before making unsolicited, automated phone calls. As mobile devices became more prevalent, the FCC took the view that consumers should have similar protections from automated text messages, which required the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to update its TCPA mandate in 2012 to cover unsolicited text messages. These laws are designed to protect consumers against unsolicited telemarketing calls, prerecorded messages, text messages, automated dialers, and faxes.
Businesses found to be guilty of violations could be forced to compensate a person or entity either for actual monetary losses imparted by each violation or $500 (whichever sum is greater). A court could, however, increase the amount of the reward threefold if the defendant is found to have willingly or knowingly violated TCPA regulations.
The evolution of TCPA
TCPA laws have continued to evolve since 2012 to allow telephone service providers to offer robocall blocking solutions to consumers—a practice that was banned previously. Consumers can also legally revoke call consent at any time. Further changes to the TCPA ruling include continual consent, meaning consent now carries over from a landline to a wireless phone when a consumer ports his or her number. Furthermore, after a wireless number is reassigned to a different customer, a company can only make one unsolicited call to that number before additional calls are considered to violate the TCPA.
Recently, the FCC strengthened the TCPA with a landmark (138-page) 2015 US ruling, which heightened awareness for businesses to comply with requirements for capturing express consent, revoking consent, managing re-assigned numbers, and clarifying the definition of an auto-dialer. For many businesses, this ruling has thrown a wrench in the way they can communicate with their customers – legally.
Being proactive, but staying compliant
According to a recent Forbes article, 87% of consumers want to be proactively contacted by organizations they do business with. Businesses shouldn’t let TCPA compliance requirements slow them down from text messaging their customers. They know how important it is to keep customers informed about their accounts, the products, and services they use, and those they are interested in.
These businesses need to continue to evolve their outbound strategies to meet compliance requirements so they can truly benefit from the intended purpose of these communications methods. By doing this these companies can deliver great experiences by engaging customers over their preferred channels in a timely and personalized manner. If the right approach is taken, both customers and businesses will benefit from text messaging, through:
– Improved customer experiences
– Simplified compliance efforts
– Deeper customer loyalty
– Higher ROI from their outbound campaigns
Set yourself up for success
Not only are customers more willing to hear from the companies they do business with, but they are opening themselves up to receive more personalized information via text messaging. To make SMS successful, businesses need to first focus on getting their customers to opt-in to the communication. Then they need to ensure the messages they are sending are timely and relevant to their customer’s preferences.
To learn more about how Flowroute is working with businesses to deliver text messaging through toll-free and local numbers, contact firstname.lastname@example.org