The outbound market is doing better in 2013 than it has since the FTC introduced Do Not Call legislation in 2003. This IT sector continues to be under great pressure to meet ever-changing and increasingly demanding regulations issued by governments around the world. However, this time, as consumer protection regulations become more stringent, including new restrictions imposed by the FCC’s new regulations pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, vendors and end users are working together to come up with effective ways to enhance solutions and best practices to be in compliance while they conduct business.
Although it may not always seem to be the case, regulations are not intended to stop companies from transacting business, including collecting overdue payments from people who have not met their legal obligations. Instead, regulations are designed to restrict companies from using unfair and inappropriate techniques when collecting outstanding debts or trying to sell products and services.
A major difference between the impact of 2003’s legislation and what is expected to happen to the market during the next two to three years is that the current regulatory changes are driving technology investments and innovation in the outbound and dialing IT sectors. Just as the Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) initially caused great concern and confusion but ultimately yielded outstanding solutions that protect consumers’ private credit card information (as well as the institutions that handle these cards), a similar outcome is anticipated from the January and October 2013 TCPA rule changes. Despite legitimate concerns about being hit with fees and penalties, too many companies depend on outbound dialing technology to conduct business for them or their vendors to back away from using these highly effective solutions. The outbound market is already seeing a substantial increase in research and development investments, and more are expected.
DMG predicts that companies that have not updated their outbound dialing solutions recently will take a look at the current generation of applications, seeking an enhanced, more feature-rich, and beneficial system. (Many companies have not replaced their dialers in more than 10 years.) Unfortunately, many enterprises will be disappointed by the lack of innovation in dialers, as there have been limited R&D investments in these solutions until recently. Despite this, more outbound dialing solutions will be sold in 2013 than in any of the past 10 years, and adoption is expected to pick up momentum in each of the next three years, as long as the vendors wake up and respond to the needs of their customers and prospects. The outbound dialing market has already started a much-needed cycle of growth that is expected to yield better and more effective solutions.
A large number of cloud-based outbound solutions and an increasing number of inbound contact center infrastructure solutions have added preview, progressive, and predictive dialing, as well as blending; this is making it easier for companies of all sizes to acquire outbound dialing capabilities. Additionally, organizations are also looking to invest in automated multichannel outbound solutions that enable them to reach customers in their channel of choice. Although “robocalling,” or unsolicited marketing calls, and dialing cell numbers where the recipient has to pay for the call are all being restricted by the new U.S. regulations, companies are still very interested in acquiring solutions that have proven to be highly effective in reaching customers or communicating with prospects.
At the same time as the outbound technology sector has been reawakened, end-user organizations are finally starting to put time and energy into optimizing their approach to outbound calling. Sure, the primary drivers are new regulations and fear of being fined, but the result will be better and more effective methods and tools for reaching customers. When new best practices are used in conjunction with improved and more flexible technology, everyone wins–customers, prospects, the enterprise, and vendors.
To obtain a detailed analysis of the top 11 leading and contending outbound dialing solutions and in-depth review of regulatory requirements, market trends and challenges, pricing, and end-user satisfaction with the vendors, visit DMG’s Web site at www.dmgconsult.com.