886 — Tony Blair pledges to investigate ‘silent’ calls

Oct 28, 2003 | Conteúdos Em Ingles

UK’s Prime Minister Tony Blair intentions to investigate predictive dialling should ring new warning bells for the call centre industry, claims data suppression specialist UK DATA IT, which has recently established a partnership with Amcat to optimise the efficiency of outbound services. Tony Blair made his promise after Glasgow MP John Robertson demanded action against multiple, simultaneous calling that leave people holding a silent phone when busy agents fail to answer.

The telesales industry is already facing legislation from the Communications Bill that is due to be enacted in November and will create new powers of prosecution and heavy penalties for companies abusing the telephone network – including the persistent delivery of silent calls.

Worcester-based UK DATA IT claims to be the only company in Britain so far to have developed an automated compliance solutions file that protects both businesses and consumers.

UK DATA IT has developed a partnership with BT, Telewest and NTL to work with their nuisance call bureaus to collect a separate file of consumers who have complained about silent calls.

This file will protect consumers who have complained about a silent call from receiving any further calls from organisations using predictive diallers for twelve months. After this period, the number would be removed from the file, allowing calls from companies to resume in the normal way.

A key advantage for the industry, says the company, is that it helps stem the flow of Telephone Preference Service (TPS) registrations and prevents consumers, for whom the service is free, from disappearing totally from the telesales “radar”.

UK DATA IT managing director John Glacken says: “The Prime Minister’s personal intervention should serve as a very serious shot across the telesales industry’s bows.

“We know the introduction of predictive dialling has had a massive and dramatic impact on the productivity of many outbound sales operations, with increases of as much as 200 per cent recorded in large-scale outbound environments.

“But the big problem, because calls are made simultaneously and in high volume, is that the delivery of abandoned or silent calls has led to escalating consumer anger and frustration.” He says UK DATA IT had found John Robertson ’s complaint that power-dialling frightens people who live alone, especially women and the elderly, was widespread and growing.

“The fact that we already have the details of more than 40,000 people who wish to be protected from silent calls, and are acquiring new registrations on the file at the rate of over 1,000 a week, shows how serious the silent call issue has become.”

Glacken warns that changes in legislation – including implementation of an EU Directive aimed at changing the culture of mass marketing – will see the whole telesales growth sector move out of what is currently a legal grey area into a strictly controlled, permission-based system.

“Companies will run the risk of being hit by damaging legal costs and fines, not to mention dents to their corporate reputation, if they break the rules”, he adds.

“To many, the problems associated with predictive dialling are minor compared with the huge sales and marketing advantages it brings. But to the consumer it is something quite different, and those who ignore this do so at their peril.”

A specially convened meeting to discuss the problem of silent or abandoned calls generated by call centre automated dialling equipment is being held at the DMA ‘s London office in November.

FS with CCWorld

Em Foco – Pessoa