A continuing rise in TPS registrations means that 60% of UK households are actively preventing unsolicited sales and marketing calls.
‘The TPS report on Unwelcome Calls’ extends the research conducted in 2005 by Brookmead Consulting, who were originally commissioned to undertake a comprehensive review of the extent and nature of unwelcome calls in the UK, and especially the incidence of silent calls which had become a source of anxiety to many consumers.
This was the first time that wide-ranging independent research had been conducted in this area and the report was influential in changing the legislative framework – shortly afterwards new rules were introduced by Ofcom governing the use of predictive diallers to minimise the incidence of silent calls.
Since then, not only has the regulatory environment continued to change but there has been a consequent response by many businesses in the way in which they deploy telemarketing as part of their marketing mix.
TPS re-commissioned Brookmead Consulting in autumn 2008 to repeat and extend the original research, evaluate the extent of the industry’s compliance with new regulations and to identify any emerging trends or significant variations from the results of the last report.
Key findings from the research include:
- Consumers’ trust and confidence in the telephone as a marketing medium has been eroded by concerns over data privacy, aggressive sales tactics, mis-selling and scams, and they are increasingly deploying a variety of tactics and technologies to control the calls they receive.
- The introduction of Ofcom’s nuisance calls regulations has reduced the number of silent calls per month from 9.6 per month in 2005 to 2.1 per month in 2008.
- At the same time, increasing familiarity with silent calls has meant that those key demographic groups that were previously worried about these types of calls are now significantly less anxious.
- The combination of a high volume of TPS registrations, consumer distrust, and widespread industry compliance to the Ofcom regulations has led many companies to re-appraise their telemarketing strategy.
- The volume of cold calling carried out is decreasing.
- In addition, the number of unwelcome calls received by consumers is down by 20% in the past twelve months to 4.6 per month.
Mike Lordan, Director of Consumer Services, Direct Marketing Association, comments:
“Since its establishment in 1999, TPS has been at the forefront of preventing consumers receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls. As part of this remit, we also take an active interest in helping telemarketers understand consumer attitudes to unwelcome calls and the actions required to ensure that they adopt best practice.
“Once again, this TPS-commissioned report provides an authoritative and comprehensive insight into the current trends in the telemarketing industry. It is pleasing to note that consumers are less concerned about silent calls and receive fewer unwelcome cold calls. However, although general levels of compliance are improving there are still many areas that require action”.
John Price, Director, Brookmead Consultants, comments:
“We are delighted to have been asked by TPS to take a fresh look at the telemarketing industry and report how it has evolved since the publication of the first Brookmead report.
“This latest report has benefited from being able to compare research results and track how consumer attitudes to telemarketing have changed over the past few years. What emerges is an overall reduction in the impact of telemarketing to consumers. However, the report raises concerns about the limitations of current regulations for restricting the misuse of call centre technology. It also reports on the divide between those companies looking for short-term profit who still avoid or neglect to operate in a compliant and thoughtful manner and the majority of practitioners who are implementing contact strategies to build consumer trust.”