Ofcom overlooks compliance with the regulations governing communications networks and services in the United Kingdom (UK). It has significant power to take action and impose penalties against those who participate in persistent misuse of communications services, including the misuse of automated dialing technology. In this respect, Ofcom published on the 20th December 2016 the “Ofcom’s Statement of Policy on its persistent misuse powers” (“Ofcom’s Statement”).
The following summary of good practices is based on Ofcom’s Statement. It is provided by Talkdesk merely as a courtesy and shall not be relied upon as legal advice, nor shall it be intended to be exhaustive or definitive, or to reduce your responsibility to familiarize yourself with and abide by the legal and regulatory requirements pertaining to your use of, and to the activities performed through, Talkdesk Services. Talkdesk is not attempting to interpret any laws or regulations, and does not warrant that this summary reflects the opinion or approach of any regulatory body or other competent authority, nor accepts any liability for errors, misinterpretations or omissions appearing in this summary.
We advise seeking independent advice to check local regulations and how they apply to your use case when dialing into a highly regulated market such as the UK.
In this text, “Silent calls” and “Abandoned calls” have the meaning given by Ofcom in Ofcom’s Statement, as amended from time to time.
Calling Line ID (CLI)
Talkdesk recommends that the Calling Line ID (CLI) is configured on outbound campaigns:
- Be present in the form of a telephone number.
- Be valid.
- Be configured in such a way that customers can return a call to the number and have it answered by one of your agents.
- Not be a premium rate or chargeable number.
- Not actively try to avoid anti-SPAM measures by rapidly rotating CLIs.
The CLI for campaigns can be configured within the campaign manager as shown below:
Talkdesk recommends configuring a reasonable ringing time within campaigns that is not less than 15 seconds or overly long. Ofcom considers the length of time a call rings as an aggravating factor in cases of misuse. Calls that ring for less than 15 seconds (unless answered before) or calls that ring for extended periods are considered to cause more harm and, thus, expose your organization to the risk of enforcement.
Ring time is configured within the campaign manager, as outlined below:
Talkdesk recommends that you should give careful consideration to the hours in which your agents are making outbound Dialer calls. Appropriate calling hours are not explicitly defined by Ofcom, however, calling during “Non-Sociable” hours is discouraged.
Each Talkdesk Dialer campaign can be configured to only dial during specific days and hours. This feature should be used to constrain campaign calling to be completed outside “Non-Sociable” hours relative to the timezone of the contacts within your calling lists.
“Do Not Call” List
Talkdesk recommends that customers running an outbound dialing campaign pay attention to the rules around scrubbing call lists, through national and Internal “Do Not Call” Lists. The UK operates a nationwide Telephone Preference Service (TPS) for individuals and a Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) for businesses and other organizations.
If you are operating outbound campaigns in the UK, please ensure you have appropriate tooling in place to scrub call lists through any internal Do-Not-Call lists, as well as the TPS and/or CTPS, prior to loading lists into a Talkdesk campaign.
Talkdesk recommends avoiding the use of the dialer to randomly scan telephone numbers, a practice known as “pinging” You, as a customer, are responsible for call lists, and such usage patterns would put your organization at risk of enforcement action from Ofcom.
Connection Time and Dialing Modes
Talkdesk cannot guarantee that all calls will be connected to an agent in under two seconds in the Predictive Dialing mode. Due to this, we strongly advise the use of preview dialing over predictive dialing.
In the Preview Dialing mode, agents are already connected when customers pick up, so there is no wait time. For more information about the dialing modes, please refer to this article.
The dialing mode for a campaign is selected during campaign creation, as shown below:
For those using predictive dialing mode, below are Talkdesk’s recommendations for managing dialing ratio and AMD detection.
Talkdesk recommends against any form of over-dialing. Over-dialing occurs when the dialer attempts more simultaneous outbound calls than there are agents available to answer calls. Over-dialing is more likely to result in “Silent Calls” because the recipient of the call could be subject to a long waiting time prior to being connected to a live agent, or be disconnected due to the lack of available agents.
The dialing ratio in Talkdesk Dialer is configurable in Predictive mode to between one and ten calls-per-agent. Talkdesk recommends setting the maximum dialing ratio to one call per agent.
Answering Machine Detection (AMD)
Talkdesk recommends against using Answering Machine Detection (AMD) for campaigns being run from, or addressed to, contacts located in the UK. One of Ofcom’s top priorities is to act against companies who are generating “Silent Calls”. Using AMD technology increases the risk of campaigns generating silent calls, as a result of “false positives”. A “false positive” happens when AMD technology incorrectly classifies a call answered by a human as a voicemail system, triggering a disconnect to avoid consuming agents’ time connecting with a voicemail system.
AMD can easily be turned off when configuring your campaign:
Answering with Automated Messages
Talkdesk recommends against configuring your outbound dialer to connect to an automated answering message system, such as an Interactive Voice Response (IVR), upon connection to a call recipient. Answers by automated message systems, rather than a live agent, are in fact more likely to result in “Abandoned” if the call recipient has asked to be connected to an agent, or “Silent calls”, since Talkdesk cannot guarantee that the calls will be connected in under two seconds.