Because call robotics is still an unfamiliar concept to many of us, I will begin by giving examples of a few applications. To finish, I will issue a challenge to all operators working in the industry. I am exaggerating for effect because it offers a quick way to demonstrate that call robotics has a wide range of applications that are obviously useful and acceptable. There is no need to stay in the grey area, and we should not stray to the dark side at all.
Although the cases may be based on reality, I have tried to change them enough so that the companies in questions cannot be identified.
Case: A call robot used for selling
Do NOT: Company X got hold of a call list of potential customers and asked a famous celebrity to record a message. The call offers a product subject to a monthly fee in a way that the customer does not necessarily take for a subscription (free sample + rolling contract, unless cancelled).
DO: The customer aims a call campaign at a target group selected from within its customer register. The group has given permission to approach them in this way. A celebrity will record a message, which obviously offers a product and clearly states the price. The publicity raised by the campaign will be responded to in social media to promote sales.
Case: A robot used for recruitment
Do NOT: Company X gets hold of a contact list of young people aged 20–29 who have no connection to the
company. The message enquires about their employment status and tries to directly recruit them as canvassers.
DO: Company X uses automated calls to contact persons who have previously submitted a job application to notify them of an open position. The contacted persons are asked about their interest in the job and, if necessary, for additional information for further discussions.
Case: A completely unethically programmed call robot
Do NOT: Company X uses a robot to call old customers to try to sell them new monthly subscriptions. The robot has not been taught the word “no”, and the customer must hang up to get rid of the robot. If the customer mistakenly says yes, the robot will sign them up for a monthly subscription, and the customer will be notified of the terms and conditions of the subscription later.
This is wrong on so many levels that to fix the company’s operating model would be to question its ethics entirely, so let’s just say: PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.
What we need is a clear concept of rules and sustainable development paths
For its part, On-Time wants to help implement the industry’s ethical operating model. We believe that a functional and sufficiently detailed framework of rules would benefit us, our customers and, first and foremost, the customers and partners of our customers answering robocalls.
In our opinion, the operators in the field should wake up and demand a clearer operating framework for the industry. We are already on a slippery slope where quick winnings can be more tempting than a sustainable operating model. The first clear warning signs are there for all to see. Call robots are rapidly becoming number one in complaint statistics.
In the US, robots already make approximately 45% of all daily calls. Lamentably, a third of them are scams of a different variety or otherwise unethical. We hope this is not the path Finland is choosing. As a small language region, we are clearly better equipped to efficiently regulate the industry and ensure that robots are used on a sustainable basis.
With this message, we want to wake up the industry operators. We want stricter rules. We do not want to end up in a situation where the entire line of business is banned due to the industry’s inability to come up with sensible rules in time.
“Automated call services include many typical cases where the use of robotics is perfectly justified, customer-friendly, legal and ethically sustainable.
The Data & Marketing Association of Finland wants to help promote a sufficiently detailed and analytical situational picture where new sustainable customer concepts are advanced in cooperation between the operators and the authorities,” says Jari Perko, CEO, DMA Finland.
At On-Time, we want to help build a sustainable operating culture in the use of call robotics. That is why we are training and advising our customers regarding the subject.
DMA Finland (Data & Marketing Association of Finland) is the trade association for responsible customer management, data driven multi-channel services and commerce. We have several decades of experience of industry self-regulation.
As a member company of DMA Finland, On-Time Research Solutions Oy wants, for its part, to help create better customer experiences now and in the future.