Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines

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Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines

  1. 1. W H I T E PA P E R Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines Executive Summary Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made several amendments to its Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made several amendments to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, both of which govern interactions between telemarketers and consumers. It is important to understand that these regulations are somewhat fluid since issues of interpretation and conflicts between the various regulations are still pending. In response to customer concerns and questions about the new FTC and FCC standards, Aspect Software has developed the following paper as an introductory guide for contact center executives and telemarketers. The purpose of this paper is not to debate the merits or validity of the amended regulations, but to serve as a preliminary roadmap for businesses attempting to decipher the changes and determine how to adapt their organizations. This white paper also outlines the recommended parameters that should be set within the Aspect Software products. The regulations discussed in this paper are: • Do Not Call List Management • Abandonment Rates • Reporting • Transmission of Caller ID The challenge for your organization is to maintain compliance with the regulations and ensure agent productivity. Aspect Software products, when configured correctly and used properly, provide the functionality to assist you with compliance to these new regulations and maintain high agent productivity. Aspect Software recommends that you follow the process below to determine your compliance: Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 1
  2. 2. W H I T E PA P E R There are many factors that influence your compliance. Not only the configuration of the system, but the telephony network or data network latency, location of agents, configuration of campaigns, etc. If the compliance guidelines are not met, then you should evaluate your configuration parameters within Aspect® EnsemblePro™. The Aspect EnsemblePro product offers many capabilities to aid customers with compliance. Each of these capabilities is listed within this document. They include: • Accurate answer detection • The ability to detect answering machines • Predictive dialing parameter settings (wait for available agent seconds, target queue time, target abandon percentage. • Preview dialing • Automatic dialing • Verification agents • Prioritization • Setting numbers of rings • Caller ID • Message playing • Exclusion list management • Reporting Regulation Summary Notable Changes to the Regulations In amending the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the overall mission was to give consumers a choice about whether they want to receive most telemarketing calls. It is important to note that the FTC and FCC revisions only govern calls businesses make to consumers, and not those from one business to another. Several of the amendments to the rule cover fraud and telephone scams. As law-abiding businesses have little cause for concern from this piece of legislation, this paper will focus on regulations that will have a tangible impact on legitimate contact centers and telemarketing organizations. These include: 1. Creation of a National Do Not Call Registry The most publicized FTC revision is the mandate for a nationwide Do Not Call registry. This provision allows consumers to place their telephone numbers on a restricted list, stipulating they do not wish to receive telephone calls from telemarketers. The FCC has acknowledged the criticality of a national Do Not Call database. However, instead of creating a separate list, the FTC’s registry will be the database of record. With the National Do Not Call registry, businesses will be required to review the list on a quarterly basis and remove all consumers included on the registry from their internal corporate lists. That said, where an “established business relationship” exists between a consumer and a business, the consumer is exempt from the Do Not Call list, and telemarketers are free to contact that individual. Failure to comply with this regulation could lead to various fines. A separate provision of the amended rule also prohibits businesses from obstructing consumers’ attempts to be placed on the Do Not Call registry. The FTC has awarded the contract for managing the list to AT&T. Consumers are now able to add themselves to the registry and can remain on the registry for five years, until they request to be deleted, or until their phone number changes. Lastly, both the FTC and FCC are currently working with state governments in an attempt to harmonize the various states’ Do Not Call lists with the federal registry. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 2
  3. 3. W H I T E PA P E R 2. Transmission of Caller Identification Information Recent years have seen a proliferation of caller ID services that display identification information for inbound telephone calls. Many businesses have chosen to block their information from appearing on caller ID devices, which has led to consumer frustration over “unknown” callers. In response to this consumer concern, the FTC and FCC now specify that all telemarketers must transmit their telephone number and name, where the carrier supports it, to caller ID services when placing calls to consumers. These components went into effect January 29, 2004. Caller ID includes the number of the telemarketer and when available through the telemarketer’s carrier, the name of the telemarketer. Telemarketers can use either the seller’s name and number or that of the service bureau. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), telemarketers must make sure that “if the called party were to call back the number displayed that the greeting would match the name displayed on the caller ID.”1 As a note, this component, under the FCC Telephone Consumer Protection Act, does not apply to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. 3. Reduction of Abandoned Calls Both the FTC and the FCC’s revisions clamp down forcefully on abandoned calls, or instances where a consumer answers the phone and finds dead air – the telemarketer has already disconnected or cannot provide an agent for the call. While theoretically the FTC and FCC now prohibit all abandoned calls, the agencies have established practical parameters for acceptable abandoned call rates. A call is not considered abandoned if a live agent answers it within two seconds from the end of the called party’s greeting. In addition, to guard against abandoned calls, the FTC and FCC dictate that telemarketers are required to give consumers ample time to answer the phone by allowing it to ring for 15 seconds or four rings. The amended Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act now specify that when a person answers the telephone, businesses can abandon no more than 3 percent of answered calls. To police the abandonment rates, the FTC and FCC now require all businesses to keep detailed records on compliance with abandonment standards. Telemarketers who stay within the permissible abandoned call limits may be able to avoid liability. The FCC’s measurement of 3 percent is over a 30-day period. The FTC’s measurement of 3 percent is by campaign by day. According to the DMA, a campaign is “a marketing effort carried out by marketers to consumers, or by service agents on behalf of marketers, during a specific time period, and in which a list of prospective customers is used to sell the same products or services.2 Within the FTC regulation, there is a safe harbor provision stating that if the call cannot be connected to an agent within two seconds from the end of the called party’s greeting, a message should be played stating the name and telephone number of the seller on whose behalf the call was made. According to the DMA, these calls that were routed to an agent after two seconds, even if a recording is played, are still considered abandoned. The FCC states that for any abandoned call, the telemarketer must deliver a prerecorded message containing the name of the business, individual or other entity initiating the call, as well as the telephone number of such business, individual, or other entity. The message must also state that the call is for telemarketing purposes. Under the FCC regulation, it is stated that those calls routed to an agent after two seconds, even if a recording is played, are considered abandoned calls. Our recommendation is that contact centers configure their system for abandonment rates of 3 percent or less per campaign, per day basis. As with many government regulations, there are gray areas that businesses must scrutinize when reviewing the final version of the amended Telemarketing Sales Rule and Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and they should confer with their legal counsel to interpret the legislation. Examples of questions to consider include: How precisely does the FTC and FCC define an “existing business relationship?” What constitutes “informed consent?” 1 Direct Marketing Association, FCC/FTC Teleservices Update, August 2003 2 Direct Marketing Association, FCC/FTC Teleservices Update, August 2003 Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 3
  4. 4. W H I T E PA P E R Businesses Covered by FTC and FCC Telemarketing Regulations These rules impact many, but not all, businesses. Broadly speaking, the rules apply to any attempt to provide products or services to consumers at a charge via an interstate or intrastate phone call. These rules cover businesses in the U.S. as well as international businesses or service bureaus contacting U.S. consumers. In effect, this means that all companies conducting business in the U.S. are subject to the amended rules, including U.S.-based business, U.S.-based teleservices bureaus, U.S.-based companies that operate offshore contact centers, and international teleservices bureaus contacting American consumers. In general business-to-business calls are exempt from the FCC and FTC rules. As noted above, international telemarketing operations, whether on behalf of U.S. or foreign-based companies, are obligated to conform to the Telemarketing Sales Rule and Telephone Consumer Protection Act when contacting consumers in the U.S. Although it is more common and requires less effort for the FTC and FCC to penalize U.S.-based entities, the organizations have pursued legal action against overseas telemarketers. In addition, U.S.-based companies contracting offshore telemarketers are responsible for any breach of the regulations their offshore outsourcers perpetrate. The FTC and FCC do provide exemptions to the regulations for certain types of businesses and organizations. Impact on Telemarketing Bureaus and Contact Centers Aspect Software foresees several processes with which businesses will have to adjust to in order to comply with the amended regulations. Again, Aspect Software urges businesses to consult with their legal counsel when interpreting and complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule and Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Above all, many businesses must modify their strategies in order to pave the way for compliance with the updated rules. From the top down, telemarketing organizations must be aware of the FTC and FCC’s revisions and work to create a culture that supports compliance. This will often start with agent training. Businesses must educate agents on how the regulations affect them and outline clear and concise guidelines for behavior. Companies must also realize the expanded importance of consumer information and change how this information is viewed within the scope of its strategy. Not only must organizations create greater safeguards for consumer information they have access to, but they must also ensure that this information is not used in an abusive manner. Specifically, companies can update billing and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to more tightly integrate them with the remainder of the enterprise. This is integral to keeping better track of information regarding current customers and consumers who have recently contacted them. These groups are not always under the jurisdiction of the FCC and FTC and represent key targets for marketing via the telephone. In general, philosophies, processes, agent behavior and information use must be molded to fit a company’s business strategy in compliance with the FTC and FCC’s amended regulations. Once companies have tweaked their business strategies to aid in complying with the amended regulations, they must bring their technology strategy into alignment. Many companies mistakenly believe that there is a technology silver bullet that will ensure compliance with the regulations. However, one of the most important lessons of recent years is that technology is only successful when it supports a clear, coherent business strategy. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Compliance The Aspect EnsemblePro solution provides functionality to assist you with compliance with these new regulations if configured and used properly. Below is information and configuration guidance that may assist you with compliance. Aspect Software recommends that you establish your own internal guidelines for compliance. Then, test your existing configuration to determine how they conform to these guidelines. There are many factors that influence these guidelines. Not only the configuration of the system, but the telephony network or data network latency, location of agents, etc. If the compliance guidelines are not met, then you should evaluate your configuration parameters within Aspect EnsemblePro. The following are some guidelines for the parameters to set within Aspect EnsemblePro. They are first in table form then the detail below. Note that these are guidelines only. Your compliance is driven not only by your Aspect Software solution but also by your telephony infrastructure, location of your agents, etc. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 4
  5. 5. W H I T E PA P E R Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Aspect® EnsemblePro™ 5.1+ Guidelines Feature 5.1+ with ISA Chassis* 5.1+ with cPCI Chassis* with DCP-Gateway combo Abandonment Rate Laws Enable with the following Enable with the following parameters from the parameters from the Gateway Configurator for Gateway Configurator for custom AMD. custom AMD. Answering Machine Enable Detection Answer Size=125 ms Answer Size=125 ms Max Answer Size=1000 ms Max Answer Size=1000 ms Answer Deglitcher=50 Answer Deglitcher=50 Hello Edge=2 Hello Edge=2 Predictive Dialing: Wait 1 second 1 second 1 second for Available Agent Time Predictive Dialing: Target 3% 3% 3% Abandon Percentage Verification Agents Yes Yes Yes Outbound Service Set to 0 Set to 0 Set to 0 Priority Setting Number Configure on Service Set to 4 Set to 4 Set to 4 of Rings basis Change caller Ability to change caller Configure on a Service Configure on a Service Configure on a Service basis number number basis basis Play Message Configure Hold Message Available Available Available Utilize External Reports Retain Records Available Available Available to Access Information AOD Hold Report Available Available Available Recommend that scrub Recommend that scrub Recommend that scrub lists Do Not Call lists outside of Aspect lists outside of Aspect outside of Aspect National Registry EnsemblePro EnsemblePro EnsemblePro Available with download Available with download Available with download Customer process. Not available with process. Not available with process. Not available with Requested Do Exclusion Process AOD feed and external AOD feed and external AOD feed and external Not Call tables tables tables *With these configurations, answering machine accuracy may be impacted. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 5
  6. 6. W H I T E PA P E R Abandoned Calls An abandoned call occurs when an individual answers the call, and the call is not connected to a representative within two seconds of the person’s completed greeting. The following features within Aspect® EnsemblePro™ may assist your contact center with complying with the new laws. Answer Detection Aspect EnsemblePro solution, when using standard configuration with the Digital Communications Processor (DCP)-Gateway combo, and having answering machine detection turned off, routes a call to an agent as soon as notification is received that the call has been answered. With both Answering Machine Detection turned on, the DCP-Gateway combo, when configured and used correctly, can allow a contact center to meet this component of the regulations. The amount of time between end of greeting and agent connection varies based on whether answering machine detection is turned on, and varies due to the configuration of the system and the customer environment. For example, variables will occur based on whether the agents are located with the system, what hardware is used, the telephony infrastructure within the contact center, the load on the system, and the configuration of the services. If agents are located with the system, there may be a different routing time than when agents are not co-located with the system. If calls are being routed around the world, then this may impact the time. Based upon your own testing and understanding of the new rules, your contact center needs to evaluate and decide whether Answering Machine Detection should be enabled. Digital Communications Processor (DCP) Answer Detection Technology The DCP is the Aspect Software telecommunications digital switching system that functions as a telephony interface for Aspect EnsemblePro. The first thing the DCP does is receives the answer bit from the central office. This is the indication from the central office that the call has been answered. This answer bit is always sent. If you do not have answering machine detection (AMD) turned on, then the call is immediately routed to the appropriate agent. Note that for some of the older networks, there may be a delay when the answer bit is sent. In these situations, the DCP can be configured to analyze signaling patterns to determine whether the call has been answered. Through the use of the DCP with the DCP-Gateway combo, the Aspect EnsemblePro solution, when configured correctly and used properly, has an AMD accuracy of 90 percent, ?5%. If a user has answering machine detection turned on, once Aspect EnsemblePro receives this answer bit the DCP uses the pattern of the message left on the answering machine. It listens for the presence of voice to determine if it’s a person or an answering machine. The DCP technology goes to great lengths with its AMD algorithm to ensure that it does not disconnect a live answer mistaken as an answering machine. CPCI Answer Detection Technology For customers with the stand-alone CompactPCI (cPCI) Gateway, the recommendation is to turn on answering machine detection with the following custom AMD parameters: Answer Size=125 ms Max Answer Size=1000 ms Answer Deglitcher=50 Hello Edge=2 Note that due to these parameters being set as above to meet the regulation, answering machine detection accuracy may be impacted. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 6
  7. 7. W H I T E PA P E R ISA Answer Detection Technology For customers with the stand-alone Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) Gateway, the recommendation is to turn on answering machine detection with the following custom AMD parameters: Answer Size=125 ms Max Answer Size=1000 ms Answer Deglitcher=50 Hello Edge=2 Note that due to these parameters being set as above to meet the regulations, answering machine detection accuracy may be impacted. Hold Time Definition When AMD is enabled in a DCP environment, the hold time is the difference between when Aspect® EnsemblePro™ classified the call as a live person and the time the call was connected to an agent. The hold time starts approximately 0.9 seconds after the end of the called party greeting. When AMD is not enabled, as soon as Aspect EnsemblePro receives the answer bit from the Central Office, the call is routed to an agent. The hold time in this instance is the difference between the time Aspect EnsemblePro received the answer bit and the time the call was connected to an agent. Typically, Aspect EnsemblePro receives the answer bit prior to the called party saying hello. Campaign Configuration Guidelines Aspect Software provides the following options in order to maximize the likelihood of compliance with the various regulations. Predictive Dialing Wait for Available Agent Seconds. This setting indicates to the dialer the maximum amount of time it should wait for an available agent, once it has determined that a person is on the line, before hanging up. Target Queue Time. This setting is used to determine the relative priority of a call. Since Aspect EnsemblePro supports multimedia contacts (inbound and outbound voice, chat, and email), the target queue time is one of the factors used to determine which call will be delivered to the agent first. This parameter should be set to one second – this will ensure that calls for the outbound campaign will be transferred more rapidly to agents. Target Abandon Percentage. This parameter is used by the dialer’s predictive pacing algorithm to determine the appropriate number of outbound calls to make at a time. Calls are placed based on anticipated agent availability as extrapolated from recent campaign events, including number of agents logged in, average agent talk and wrap times, answer rate, connect rate, etc. The algorithm makes real-time adjustments to the pacing strategy in order to maintain the stated target abandon percentage. Preview Dialing This option presents an agent with a customer record prior to the dial being placed. This affords the agent time to review the record before being connected to the live customer. The option ensures that an agent is available prior to placing the call, eliminating any chance of a system abandon. Automatic Dialing Dial-to-Agent Ratio. This option launches calls on behalf of agents at the ratio specified. To ensure that an agent is always available, the agent ratio utilized should be set at 1:1. Although higher agent ratios can be used while maintaining low abandoned rates, customers should monitor the real-time statistics of their campaigns to ensure compliance with the regulation. Additional Dialer Guidelines • Verification Agents. This feature allows agents to be divided into two groups. The first group consists of agents that are utilized for pacing. The second group is verification agents. The pacing group is set up as the call identifiers. Their role is to identify whether the party answering the phone is the correct party. If the correct party is identified, the identifier agent transfers the call to a verification agent or a higher skilled agent who completes the call. If the wrong party answers the call, the agent terminates the call Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 7
  8. 8. W H I T E PA P E R • Outbound Service Priority. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ is a unified solution supporting multimedia contacts. Agents can belong to inbound, email, workflow, and chat services, as well as to outbound campaigns. To maximize compliance with the various regulations, it is recommended that outbound services be assigned the highest priority of one with the other non-outbound services assigned a priority of two or higher. This will ensure that calls associated with the outbound services will be routed to available agents first. Setting the Number of Rings Aspect EnsemblePro allows your contact center to set the number of rings before disconnecting an unanswered call. This can be set on a service-by-service basis. This information is available in the configuration database with Aspect EnsemblePro. You will need to retrieve this information daily. Caller Identification Aspect EnsemblePro allows your contact center to set the transmitted telephone number on a global basis, agent basis, service basis, or trunk basis. The only networks, which allow the telephone number to be transmitted, are Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN). In addition, the name of the company is based on the number transmitted. The carriers will take the number transmitted and match it to the name associated with that number. Keep in mind today, you can configure caller name through your carrier. Most carriers offer the ability to have a different name associated with the system and some by T1 as well. Playing a Message Aspect EnsemblePro allows your contact center to utilize a message that contains your company name and telephone number. This message will be played while the call is being routed to an agent as soon as the system detects that a live person has answered. It is recommended that this message played by the contact center to the customer is very long (10+ seconds) and just keep repeating the required information. Do Not Call The overall strategy relating to Do Not Call compliance within Aspect EnsemblePro is that enterprises must manage their calling data within their host systems and not send to Aspect EnsemblePro, numbers which should not be called. In addition, Aspect EnsemblePro has the ability to allow an agent to specify that a number should not be called again. This should be used when an agent makes a call and the called party conveys that they want to be put on the Do Not Call list. This data is saved temporarily on Aspect EnsemblePro and can be uploaded to an enterprise’s host system. Record Keeping There are two methods for retaining records with Aspect EnsemblePro: through the upload process and through Aspect EnsemblePro reporting. Reporting A new report entitled the AOD Hold Report is available on Aspect EnsemblePro 5.1 and higher. This report details the data elements required determining abandonment rates. For example, the report highlights the total number of calls, number of answered calls, number of connects, number of calls that exceeded the threshold, total hold time, average hold time, and the Answers-on-Hold percentage over the hold threshold. The hold time threshold is customizable by the user as is the timeframe when the report is run (daily, weekly or monthly). For guidance regarding how to set the thresholds, please see your account representative. In addition, a customer can use External Reports with Aspect EnsemblePro, which allow individual call level information, including off hook, call classification time, and agent connect time, and can be exported to an external database. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 8
  9. 9. W H I T E PA P E R Additional Online Resources If you are interested in exploring the FTC’s amended Telemarketing Sales Rule or the FCC’s amended Telephone Consumer Protection Act further, below is a list of Web sites that include relevant information: • American Teleservices Association: www.ataconnect.org • Direct Marketing Association: www.the-dma.org • Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov • Federal Communications Commission: www.fcc.gov Summary The sophisticated capabilities of Aspect Software’s customer interaction management solutions assist your contact center’s compliance with the new regulations. However, it is critical that your organization recognizes that there are many components that can influence compliance and non-compliance. Aspect Software cautions that nothing contained in this document is meant to provide legal advice, a guarantee of compliance to any laws or to create any warranties, expressed or implied, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Ultimate compliance is the responsibility of the end user. We are simply illustrating standard features within our offerings, that when used properly, may assist with your compliance. Performance metrics contained in this document are measured using specific computer systems and/or components within certain lab environments and under specific system configurations, and are provided for informational purposes only. All calls used in the performance tests and ratings were simulated (e.g., generated and concluded) within the lab environment solely using the computer systems and/or components configured and present within the lab. None of the calls utilized any network or computer systems or equipment external to the lab. The performance tests and ratings reflect the approximate performance of Aspect Software products or third party products as measured by those tests. Any difference in system hardware or software design or configuration will affect actual performance as will any use of a network or any equipment or system external to a closed lab environment. Tests and ratings reflect the approximate performance of Aspect Software products or third party products as measured by those tests. Any difference in system hardware or software design or configuration will affect actual performance as will any use of a network or any equipment or system external to a closed lab environment. Aspect® EnsemblePro™ Dialer Legislation Compliance and Guidelines 9
  10. 10. W H I T E PA P E R About Aspect Software Aspect Software, Inc., the founder of the contact center industry, is the world’s largest company solely focused on providing proven, innovative contact center products and services that enable the key business processes of customer service, collections, and sales and telemarketing. Each day, thousands of in-house and outsourced contact centers around the globe conduct more than 125 million customer interactions using Aspect Software products. Aspect Software believes in using the power of technology to positively transform the customer-company experience. That belief has led Aspect Software to accept the challenge of developing the world’s most reliable automatic call distributors (ACDs), most trusted dialers, most widely-used and respected workforce management (WFM) solutions, most flexible voice self service systems and the industry’s first and most comprehensive unified, multichannel contact center solution. Headquartered in Westford, Mass., Aspect Software has operations across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit www.aspect.com. The preceding has been prepared for information purposes only. ASPECT MAKES NO Aspect Software WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS Corporate Headquarters DOCUMENT. Information and specifications are subject to change without notice. Aspect 6 Technology Park Drive and the Aspect logo are trademarks and/or service marks of Aspect Software Corporation Westford, MA 01886 in the United States and/or other countries. All other product or service names mentioned in this document may be trademarks of the companies with which they are associated. 978 952 0200 978 952 0201 fax © 2006 Aspect Software Inc. All rights reserved. 3714US-A 9/06 www.aspect.com 10

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