The ticking time-bomb that is “the death of outbound calling” is about to explode.
The ICO seem to believe outbound sales and marketing calling will be made opt-in when the new e-privacy regulations come into force next year.
For legitimate, compliant businesses who rely on telemarketing to deliver material growth this ruling would be significantly detrimental to both revenue, customer’s taxes and employment.
In a recent DMA event I pointed out that there are an estimated 164,000 outbound agents in the UK today (Contact Babel). If you average 2 sales a day that over 6 million sales a month.
Over 6 million times a month a consumer says “yes, I would like to do that”.
And, unlike any other channel, with telemarketing you can tailor the message to the exacting needs of the consumer. On the phone you can build rapport, you can make sure the sale is water-tight delivered with all the right quality measures in place. And, if they aren’t interested you can understand what you could do to better serve them in the future.
Take that further and you could assume that the revenue generated from a sale is greater than £100 (you wouldn’t do it otherwise) then that is £600,000,000 a month.
£7. 2 billion revenue a year generated through Telemarketing (UK contact centres only)
If we go opt-in only then compliant, responsible businesses anticipate needing to cut their workforce by a minimum of 40%. That is 65,600 jobs, or a loss of circa £246 million in tax & NI contributions.
So what needs to happen? Email is opt-in only. When I consider my inbox the messages (outside of associates) are from brands that I have explicitly opted-in to and who I want to hear from, or rogues/ fraudsters. Regulation has done nothing to stop my inbox being littered with rubbish from the fraudsters but, in companies with IT departments technology has been able to block these.
For Telemarketing this is where the solution lies….
…..there are a lot of ‘businesses’, particularly from abroad who flout all the telemarketing rules. And if the channel goes opt-in this will not stop them. All it will do is deter people from seeing the voice channel as one that delivers value. This could result in opt-ins even from people’s dearest brands being harder to gain.
We need the network providers, and technology to continue to put measures in place to stop the fraudulent activity. If this happens, and organisations like the DMA continue to make sure all responsible and valid operations understand, and are adhering to a best practice plus approach to using the phone channel, we will reverse Armageddon.