Speakers: Teleservices Clients Must Insist On Compliance

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MIAMI -- It's up to the clients of outbound teleservices agencies to set the bar high on regulatory compliance and demand their services providers do so the same, speakers at the DMA Teleservices Conference here at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa said yesterday.


The speakers, themselves clients of outbound telemarketing providers, urged companies that outsource their telemarketing to look at regulatory compliance as a joint venture with their agencies. When federal and state regulators come knocking with compliance, clients often are held equally responsible for violations with their telemarketing agencies.


"If we take an active role in providing information to agencies, we're one step ahead," said Karen Burns, senior marketing manager for Allstate Motor Club Inc. "We want to offer this as a service because we want to be in compliance."


Burns said her company gives its service providers strict regulatory guidelines to follow at the inception of a campaign. The guidelines set strict standards for what is acceptable, such as maximum abandonment rates.


The company keeps detailed records of how often it cleans its calling lists against no-call registries and performs regular audits of the outbound calling activities of its providers, Burns said. She added that it's important for telemarketing clients to have full-time compliance officers who can work directly with service providers.


Alan Boatman, director of telservices support for Aegon Direct Marketing Services, said his company has monitors who listen in on outbound calls made by providers. He also urged telemarketers to educate telephone reps about telemarketing regulations so they can respond when consumers ask legal questions.


Clients and agencies need to share information they gather on new regulatory developments because the rules tend to change rapidly, Boatman said.


"Good communication is extremely important," he said. "Full compliance is expected with little time to implement."


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