Posted: October 31, 2016
When it comes to corporate compliance initiatives, having executive and management support is a necessity. Our customer engagement consultants have worked with several compliance officers who have pushed for developing and implementing compliance processes and procedures, but were not empowered to do so. Thus, we hear some pretty common statements related to compliance in all industries no matter the size or location of a company.
For example, most of these statements include some variation of the following:
“Our compliance systems were set-up by a big 4 consulting firm. We have a complete compliance department.”
“At this time, we’re not considering compliance solutions as we’re deep in other areas of focus.”
“We’re only calling business-to-business so the rules don’t apply to us.”
“Our inside counsel and parent company already work with us on compliance.”
These various statements typically fall into one of the following four categories.
1. Don’t need compliance right now as it’s not a priority.
Compliance should always be a priority. In today’s environment of professional plaintiffs and huge increases in class action lawsuits, how can a company NOT make it a priority? The threats and risk of multi-million dollar penalties and enforcement actions is very real. It is true that compliance is not as glamorous as new revenue generating marketing project and it’s not always easy to see the return on investment with compliance programs. However, having the proper compliance programs in place and ensuring risk is mitigated could SAVE companies millions in launching initiatives in non-compliant ways.
2. We use internal compliance and outside counsel.
Unless your internal compliance team and outside counsel are experts specifically in customer engagement compliance, they may not be aware of everything they should be. Our experience has shown us that internal compliance and outside counsel generally have a broad array of compliance areas they are responsible for. They may not have the laser focus of knowing all of the federal and state rules applicable to consumer or business outreach. Do they know the states that don’t allow rebuttals to be made to objections in a sales pitch? Do they know that there are certain states that may require telemarketing registrations?
3. We’re already covered.
There has been FTC/FCC commentary that a seller may not contract away compliance. Whether you are an outsourced telemarketer or a seller, the onus and liability of compliance could fall on you. Are you certain you’re covered? Are you familiar with the established business relationship rules for each state or the calling time restrictions? Unless all aspects of customer outreach are actively monitored and enforced against federal and state rules, you should not assume that you’re covered.
4. The rules don’t apply to us.
One of the biggest misconceptions we see is that the rules don’t apply to a certain company or type of outbound campaign. There is NO exemption for placing solicitation calls to wireless numbers with an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) even if your calls are only business-to-business. There are still consent requirements to call cellphones on collection or informational campaigns. There are still disclosure requirements to notify call recipients that phone calls are being recorded on ALL types of calls.
Providing supporting information regarding the need for compliance of consumer contact activities and potential costs of non-compliance can help develop a shared vision for compliance-related objectives. For more information regarding your compliance needs or any questions about customer engagement compliance, please feel free to reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Gniadek is the Director of Strategic Services at CompliancePoint and has more than 20 years of marketing and management experience and ten years of consulting expertise. He manages dozens of clients and hundreds of their 3rd party telemarketing vendors. Steve has performed a multitude of US federal and state as well as Canadian telemarketing and DNC, CAN-SPAM, and Junk Fax compliance assessments and audits. Steve has earned a Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) certification from the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).