Call to Congress: Regulate with care

I would like to give some advice concerning the teleservices channel to the recently elected Congress. I hope our elected officials will take these comments to heart so that a channel that employs 5.3 million people and generates billions in economic value will not be maligned by the most recent Congress as it was by the previous one. Go see a contact center. Industry members have been able to introduce dozens of senators and representatives to the truth behind the teleservices channel. It employs good, law abiding citizens trying to make ends meet in a flexible and technically advanced profession. Members of the field are taxpaying voters, and if you spend time in a contact center, you will be overwhelmed by the professionalism and concern.

Declare the exclusive jurisdiction over interstate commerce granted to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution. The industry has been battling a patchwork of confusing, contradictory and costly state laws that are politically motivated but do not protect consumers better than federal laws. Let the federal law be the law, and eliminate the waste and redundancy.

Go slow when making change. Change is a good thing, and protecting consumers makes sense. However, the pace of change and the dramatic nature of change are hard for any industry to tackle. Take your time, study the issues and implement decisions with advice and caution. Stay close to the issues. Customer care is on the horizon of regulatory activity. The American Teleservices Association is working to develop self-regulation policies to address the vast majority of consumer concerns. Just as the industry must keep Congress in the loop and work with staff, Congress should provide a reciprocal promise to consume the information presented. Balance the interests of the consumer and business. There is a happy medium between protection and burden. Keep in mind that the shift to international labor is due in part to the cost of complying with laws. Approximately 6 percent of a contact center’s costs can be attributed to compliance.

Hold the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission accountable. Checks and balances work because each branch of government has some authority over the other. Congress has the opportunity to provide a check against the executive branch through oversight. The teleservices channel has spent and will spend tens of millions of dollars to purchase the DNC registry and stay in compliance. The industry should be informed about where all the money is going, and you should want to know as well. Please make a difference somewhere else. There is a great deal that is discouraging to Americans as we watch the political landscape and scratch our heads at the priorities. Please fix war, poverty and suffering before focusing on inconvenience.

It is the hope of the teleservices channel that change does not have to come at a further expense to us. Politicians can find support from our channel by being supportive to our channel.

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