Contacting Customers: A Legal Tug-of-War That Doesn’t Have to Be

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Most of my conversations in the industry are with those individuals running the call centers who are aggressively striving for every bit of revenue they can get. If I had a dollar for every one of those individuals who expressed frustration over the frequent internal debates with their legal counsel about customer contact rules, I could retire much earlier than planned. More and more organizations find themselves crippled and unable to achieve best-in-class results because they are instructed to exclude mobile devices from their contact strategy.

Why is this so crippling? It’s simply because the communications landscape has changed dramatically. Today there are over three times the number of mobile-only households as compared to landline-only households, and text messaging is now a preferred method of communication for many consumers. So, besides a career change, what can the operations people in these companies do to “win” in this endless tug-of-war? Where can we find common ground?

There are a couple of creative strategies available that will better enable contact centers who find themselves handcuffed in their ability to reach customers.

  • First, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the number of consumers who “opt-in,”, and in many cases, prefer to be contacted on their mobile devices. SoundBite campaigns experience opt-in rates as high as 55% (even for consumers in collections) when contacting landlines to obtain consent for voice calls or text messages to a mobile device.
  • Second, preview dialing is growing in demand as a contact strategy for mobile numbers. Although preview is less efficient than predictive dialing, it is still a strategy that can be effective. This is particularly relevant in calling campaigns where agents automatically switch between predictive and preview-mode depending on the type of device that is being called.
  • And finally, placing inbound text options in direct mail is a great way to allow customers to initiate communication (i.e. opt-in) to your organization via their preferred mobile device.

So, there’s no need for internal strife and tug-of-war. Companies are finding new and innovative ways to contact and engage customers across multiple channels and devices while doing it in a way that makes their legal team happy as well.

For more calling center expertise, periodically check in on SoundBite's new blog: Collections in the Cloud.

Matt Edmunds

Matt Edmunds brings 20 years of hands-on industry and operational experience to his role at SoundBite Communications.  As the Vice President of Financial Services and Collections, Edmunds leads sales, marketing, services, and product development efforts tailored for these industries. Prior to joining SoundBite, Edmunds was senior vice president of bankcard operations for Outsourcing Solutions, Inc, where he managed all facility, personnel, strategy and operations decisions for four call center sites with 600 full-time employees.  In this role, he was a frequent user of SoundBite’s solution.  Prior to joining OSI, Edmunds spent almost nine years at Capital One Financial Corporation leading various customer care and collections strategies. Matt Edmunds can be reached at and LinkedIn. Follow him on twitter at@MattEdmunds10


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