I first started in this industry some 20 or so years ago. At that time, the common perception was that regulatory bodies only took action against the worst Nuisance Callers. That perception is still held by some, although I can see the tide is turning.
Nuisance Callers are a Pest!
I visit the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website quite regularly in my working life. It helps me keep abreast with news and views from the industry, plus allows me to share information through blogs. I see frequent articles relating to companies that have incurred the wrath of the ICO. Sometimes it’s for losing data or inadvertently leaking people’s information. However, more and more I’m seeing Nuisance Callers being pursued abusing Telephone Preference Service (TPS) laws.
The media often points its finger unjustifiably at the data industry for supplying these nuisance callers’ data! It’s unfair to tar any industry with the brush being used by a minority, as often happens. The companies we work with are fully compliant and have the wishes of the prospects at the forefront of their mind. Nuisance callers are a pest and people should be protected against those who abuse the laws. To this extent, it seems there may be light at the end of the tunnel …
The War Against Nuisance Callers is in Full Swing
According to the ICO, the number of complaints about Nuisance Callers has fallen for the first time ever! The past 12 months saw a drop of 10% in the number of Nuisance Callers referred to its office. This, it says, is evidence that it is winning its war against the nuisance callers.
Recent regulation changes and initiatives have certainly played their part in bringing this welcome decline about. For example, companies must now ensure their telephone number are displayed when making outgoing calls to consumers. Plus the “Text to Register” initiative, enabling people to easily register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), has also helped. With increased legislation in the pipeline and the incoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), or whatever comes instead, should the UK leave the EU, the signs are good that those numbers will drop even further in coming years?
People’s Wishes Must Be Respected
Companies must respect the wishes of people who do not want marketing communications. This is, to Steve and I anyway, a common courtesy.
A company operating without such courtesy is hoping to sell something to somebody who is closed to being sold to. The main reason, I am certain, is the cost of being compliant (which I will cover in next week’s blog). Such companies place profit at both the top and bottom of their list of priorities, with nothing in between.
Any legislation or initiative that deters such companies from ignoring people’s wishes is, to us, very much welcomed. However, whilst there are certainly many who do not want marketing contact, there are many others who do.
Direct Marketing is a Good Thing
Much welcome marketing contacts, be that in their workplace or at home. Direct marketing is not only used to sell but to inform, invite, advise and remind. As we stride further and deeper into this Age of Technology, we become ever more contactable in many ways. Remember, that text from the dentist to remind you of your appointment is direct marketing. That email inviting you to a networking event is direct marketing. That phone call asking you how your experience at the hotel you recently stayed in, is direct marketing.
Direct Marketing remains a vital part of many a company’s business strategies and, as demonstrated above, for many different reasons. To this extent, legislation needs to protect the consumer whilst ensuring it does not stifle the industry. Steve and I welcome any clampdown on rogue traders that otherwise bring our industry into disrepute. To this extent, the fall in the number of cases of abuse reported this last year is very encouraging. It does finally seem like the war against Nuisance Callers is being won and long may the trend continue.