Because call automation is still a foreign subject for many, I will start by raising a few problems to consider, and then I will present a challenge to all the operators in the industry. The issues have been intentionally considered in an exaggerated manner, because this quickly shows that call automation has many purposes, which are clearly useful and allowed. There is no need to remain in the grey area, and no need to step into the black at all.
The cases may touch on real life cases, but the situations have been aimed to be changed so that the associated companies cannot be identified.
Case: Robocall system in sales work
NOT like this: Company X acquired a list of its potential customers and asked a well-known celebrity to record a speech for the call. The call offers a product for a monthly fee in a way that the customer does not clearly understand that it is a subscription (free sample + ongoing subscription, unless cancelled).
INSTEAD: The customer targets the call campaign to a target group, which has provided consent for such communications and which has been selected from its own customer register. The celebrity records a speech, which offers a clear product and the price is clearly presented. The attention caused by the campaign is responded to on social media, which is used to support sales.
Case: Robot in recruitment
NOT like this: Company X collects a contact list of 20-29-year-old young people, who have not been in contact with the company. The speech asks about their employment status, and they are aimed to be recruited directly as client buyers.
INSTEAD: Company X uses automated calls to contact people, who have previously submitted a job application, to notify about a new job vacancy. The contacts are asked about their interest towards the job position, and if necessary, additional details are collected for further discussions.
Case: Entirely unethically programmed robocall system
NOT like this: Company X uses automated calls to call through its previous customers and tries to sell them new monthly subscriptions. The robot has been taught the word “No” and the call recipient must end the call to get rid of the robot. In case of unintentionally providing a positive answer, the robot will conclude a monthly subscription and the terms will be delivered to the customer at a later date.
This, in itself, is already so murky that rectifying the operating model would require the ethics of the entire company to be questioned. Therefore, DEFINTELY NOT LIKE THIS.
Guidelines and sustainable development paths are now needed
On-Time wishes to be involved in promoting the classification of the industry’s ethical operating model. We believe that a functional and sufficiently personalized framework of guidelines is an advantage for us, our customers and, above all, the customers and partners of our customers who answer the robocalls.
In our opinion, industry operators should focus on requiring a more detailed operational framework for the industry. We are already on a poor path of development, where easy wins may be more attractive than a sustainable operating model. The first clear warning signs are in the air. Robocall systems are quickly making their way to the top of reclamation and complaint statistics.
In the United States, approx. 45% of all calls are already carried out by robots. Unfortunately, a third of these are scams or other unethical activities. Hopefully, this is not the path Finland will take. As a small linguistic region, we have significantly better prerequisites to effectively regulate the activities and ensure that the operations of robots are developed on a sustainable foundation.
With this message, we hope that industry operators open their eyes. We want more detailed guidelines rules for the industry. We do not want to be driven into a situation where all such operations are prohibited because reasonable guidelines were not specified at the outset.
“Automated calls involve many case types, where the use of RPA is justified, customer-friendly, legal and ethically sustainable. The Data & Marketing Association of Finland (DMA Finland) wants to do its share in promoting a sufficiently defined and analytical situation in which new sustainable operating concepts are progressed in the cooperation between industry operators and officials,” summarizes Jari Peko, CEO at DMA Finland.
At On-Time, we want to be involved in building a sustainable operating culture for the utilization of call automation solutions. For this reason, we also train and advise our customers in related issues.
DMA Finland (Data & Marketing Association of Finland – www.asml.fi) is an organization for responsible customer relationship management, data-driven and multi-channel business and trade, which has several decades of experience in the self-regulation of the industry.
On-Time Research Solutions Oy is a member company of DMA Finland and wants to be involved in developing better customer experiences both now and in the future.