If you have decided to take advantage of increased confidence in the economy and boost your marketing efforts, something you may be thinking about trying is telemarketing. It is certainly a very popular initiative, but, as with all marketing, there are particular guidelines you need to adhere to. So before you get started on your campaign, have a read of this article so you can get it off the ground whilst staying within the law.
The first thing to take in is that the Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) is not shy when it comes to issuing fines, and of significant sums. Not so long ago they issued one of £90,000 and another of £225,000 for breaches of the regulations. In response to this, the following advice has helpfully been published by John Mitchison who is head of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Screening marketing lists against the TPS and CTPS (Corporate Telephone Preference) registers is the first place to start before preparing any campaigns. Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, businesses are prohibited from making unsolicited sales and marketing calls to anyone who is registered under these services, unless express consent has been provided.
Keeping databases up to date is crucial. By law, any lists to be used in a marketing campaign must be screened against the TPS register 28 days or less before any unsolicited calls are made. Buying lists from a list broker? The responsibility for screening is still yours. If the supplier states their lists have been screened, you still need to carry out due diligence.
Managing ‘Do not Call’ Lists
During the course of your marketing campaigns, you will come across requests from people you contact to remove them from your list. You are obliged to honour these requests and it is very important that you have measures in place to ensure these people are not contacted again. Not only could it lead to complaints to the regulator and possible fines, it can also damage relationships and public profile.
When your personnel are well versed with the regulations and aware of their responsibilities around TPS and ‘do not call’ lists they will help keep your business safe from risk. Keep them up to date with any legislation changes and ensure new staff are trained in your procedures.
Getting things wrong with telemarketing – or any other type of marketing campaign – could prove extremely costly. If you are unsure of what you can and can’t do under the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations, which also control email marketing, a good place to go for advice in the first instance is your bookkeepers who will be able to give you an overview and general guidance to help keep you within the law.