And then there was a name…
Responsible Entities Against Consumer Harassment (R.E.A.C.H.) isn’t a thing yet. But it is getting closer to become reality.
A new trade organization designed to connect compliance-minded direct-to-consumer lead buyers in a bid to arrive at best practices designed to protect consumers from unwanted calls while simultaneously assuring that high intent customers have immediate access to the goods and services they want.
As I continue my listening tour, it is becoming clear to me that buyers want standards. Real standards.
Isn’t it crazy that there is no set standard for font size on a consent disclosure? That there is no criteria for what constitutes “conspicuous” when considering font color and background elements? That leads might be sold repeatedly and that there are no set limits on the number of times any particular buyer might attempt to call on a lead?
It can’t stay the wild west forever.
I’ve had some of these conversations privately, but I figured I’d start socializing these things more publicly so I can get real feedback.
Of course disclosure font size and the like would only be one small piece of the standard. I’m thinking:
- Best practice limits on the number of times a lead can be sold.
- Best practice restrictions on cross-vertical leads (absent similarly clear disclosures).
- Best practice limits on outreach attempts by buyers (say 5 attempts a day?)
- Best practice limits on how long a lead can be called (7 day sunset?)
- Best practice restrictions on the sale of aged leads (again, absent similarly clear disclosures.)
- Best practice usage of the RND.
- Best practice non-use of prerecorded calls prior to an RPC.
- Best practice limitations on data appends prior to first contact.
- Best practice limitations on credit triggers for non-customers.
- Best practice treatment of DNC requests and “not interested” statements.
I have dreamed up a few additional items as well but probably best I not share those just yet.
Just socializing some concepts here. Sincerely interested in viewpoints.
R.E.A.C.H.–For a Higher Standard.
Hello Eric! This is great stuff and much needed in the industry. Below would be my recommendations based on my experience in the Medicare Advantage Telesales Industry. I’m just one guy in one vertical, so I am very curious to hear what others think about my opinions:
*Best practice limits on the number of times a lead can be sold. – 5 – 9 times as long as its disclosed on the disclaimer directly visible to the consumer
*Best practice restrictions on cross-vertical leads (absent similarly clear disclosures). – A person should be called for the specific product or service they are opting in to be called on. For example, it does not make sense to call someone for Medicare Plans if they opt into Car Insurance. CMS does a good job of policing this… not sure how bad it is in other industries.
*Best practice limits on outreach attempts by buyers (say 5 attempts a day?) – 3 per day – limit of 15 times in a week, 30 times in a month and 60 times over the 6 month life cycle. Sometimes a lead needs this type of consistent outreach before they answer their phone. In the case of natural disasters or out of service issues, phone lines can be dark for long periods of time. Also, consumers could be at work not able to answer for many days in a row, traveling, in the hospital, out of country, have a bad reception or simply not able to pick up the phone when it rings due to how they are feeling that day, or a myriad of other reasons.
*Best practice limits on how long a lead can be called (7 day sunset?) – This is too short – CMS and Medicare allows outreach for up to 6 months. It used to be 9 months. Companies need time to re-work their leads and give another sales agent a chance. All of this assuming the consumer has not revoked their consent to be called and the number of total dials does not exceed the limits mentioned above.
*Best practice restrictions on the sale of aged leads (again, absent similarly clear disclosures.) – Selling aged leads is questionable. If a lead opts in to a website or other type of medium, any type of sharing of that lead should be disclosed in the TCPA disclaimer front and center. If the language about the amount of times a lead can potentially be sold is not present, re-selling an aged lead to another partner on the marketing list should not be allowed.
*Best practice usage of the RND. – scrub once every 30 days – remove any leads with reassigned numbers after documented permission to contact date.
*Best practice non-use of prerecorded calls prior to an RPC. – not sure what an RPC is. Prerecorded calls only allowed when specified in TCPA language and on opted in leads is the best practice here. No pre-recorded calls allowed to leads without express written consent.
*Best practice limitations on data appends prior to first contact. – Basic information – Name, Address, Email
*Best practice limitations on credit triggers for non-customers. – I am not familiar with this practice
*Best practice treatment of DNC requests and “not interested” statements. – On the outbound call, sales agent should be required to let consumers know they can option to not be called upon their opening statement. This would clear a lot of problems. On the other hand, if a consumer says “im not interested” or “no thank you!” and just hangs up without asking to not be called, who is to say another sales agent wouldn’t be able to do a better job or maybe that lead just didn’t like the sound of the sales agent voice or there was a bad connection and their voice was not audible? Of course, any explicit request to not be called anymore or to be added to the internal DNC should be honored, but when it comes to consumers hanging up without making it clear they are specifically annoyed by the phone call, it should still be okay to call them again with a new sales agent who might do a better job or use a different approach for the same product/service that was opted into – as long as the best practices for dialing are followed and the option to opt out of phone calls is stated on the opening line.