Follow These Guidelines to Stay Compliant With New Ofcom Rules

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Michael McKinlay takes us through his suggestions for how to stay compliant with Ofcom’s new regulations regarding outbound dialling.

The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom issued an update in December 2016 on their dialling guidelines.

The main focus of the guidelines is that contact centres need to avoid instances of persistent misuse, whereby either Ofcom and/or consumers have cause for complaint over how outbound calls are made.

In January 2017, we argued that the guidelines are general rather than prescriptive. In Sytel’s view, contact centres need firm guidelines to work with.

Based on a number of discussions, we have gathered up all the rules that relate to outbound dialling, as we give specific suggestions on making sure you stay compliant with these arguably vague rules.

Here are some of the particular rules and issues that contact centres need to concern themselves with:

Ofcom are intent on banning all silent calls

To date, they have had limited success in doing this and it’s reasonable to believe that we may see a change in tactics.

Historically, contact centres have reported on abandoned calls and other metrics key to their business.  In the future,  don’t be surprised if Ofcom want to drill down to look at call outcomes for all calls.

This means, for example, if you are allowing call hang-ups to drift out beyond the two-second point and not starting a call abandonment process, you are making silent calls.

Allowing this to happen is probably the biggest cause of silent calls.  We suggest that you not only avoid this practice but put adequate reporting in place so it is clear that you are in compliance.

How many abandoned calls are tolerable?

Can you still dial predictively? Yes, you can.  And that means that at least some abandoned calls are tolerable. But how many?

The 3% in Ofcom’s rules is no longer a safe harbour and we suggest you have a serious think about going for a lower number.

Is your dialler up for the job?

Once you have decided what level of abandoned calls to work with, then you need to be sure that you are getting reasonable predictive gain.

If you are not, then you might as well turn off your predictive dialler and operate in progressive mode.

Michael McKinlay

To learn more about these issues and help you determine your strategy, see the complete guide at Compliance Guidelines for Predictive Dialling in the UK.

Sytel’s views are based on 20 years of advising on and dealing with compliance matters in the UK.  We are happy to engage with any contact centre seeking clarification or help on any of the issues discussed.

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 1st Mar 2017 - Last modified: 10th Apr 2024
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