How to ensure that cold calling remains the lifeblood of call centres and sales and marketing teams
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) has set down firm frameworks that companies have to abide by to avoid fines, criminal persecution and potential reputation loss.
Breaching the rules and regulations outlined by this Act can have serious financial implications for the business – implications that can cost more than money, and have long-lasting consequences. For organisations that use cold calling teams to engage with new customers and drive business growth, this is the moment to ensure that your practices adhere to the letter of the law.
“But before you panic about how big the impact of POPIA is, remember that compliance can be of immense value to your business,” says Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam. “Compliance reassures your customer base of your commitment to their privacy and to the ethical management of their data.
This goes a long way towards cementing your reputation as a trusted company, and to ensuring that future communication is always aligned with regulation and compliance mandates. In addition, direct marketing is already regulated by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002, the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008, and the National Credit Act 34 of 2005.
“All that POPIA does is pull all these threads together to ensure that customers are protected, but also to ensure that you are protected. It doesn’t prevent you from cold calling, it just changes how you approach it and what methods you use to achieve your sales goals,” he adds.
Here are five steps towards POPIA compliance and understanding with regards to cold calling:
Understand what the act defines as ‘electronic communication’ – This term is mentioned extensively in POPIA and essentially refers to any image message, text, SMS, voice note, sound or form of communication that communicates with a customer using an electronic communication network or device. If you use unsolicited electronic communication, then it is prohibited unless the person is already on your database as an existing customer; has provided you with consent to receive direct marketing; you have consent that was given in the right manner and form; and if the customer hasn’t withheld consent in the past.
Make the right approaches – The best way to connect with customers using cold calling is to ensure that your approaches are aligned with the regulations. This means that your potential customers have to opt into your communication, they need to provide you with consent before you can engage with them using any form of electronic communication. This opt-in function is invaluable so include this on your marketing collateral to ensure that you don’t inadvertently close any doors to customer engagement.
Stay on the right side of the debate – There are some questions around whether or not cold calling falls under the POPIA mandate, or if this is allowed as it uses personal communication to engage with potential customers. You are still required to obey the mandates outlined by the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008, and customers still have the right to stop you from engaging with them. This means you need to have the right tools in place to ensure that any consumer requests to prevent cold calling are respected. This often doesn’t happen, and now the law sits firmly on the side of the consumer, not the business.
POPIA is not a simple box that the business has to tick, but it does offer you the opportunity to deliver better customer experiences and services.
“If yours is the company that listens to the customer, that has ethical processes in place and ensures that compliance is consistent, then you will stand out in a crowded market. The constructs of the law around POPIA and cold calling are complicated so the right move is the compliant one,” Woollam concludes.
About Euphoria Telecom
Euphoria Telecom is a leading provider of an innovative, cloud-based, cost effective, business telephone service that offers unprecedented control and automated operational efficiency. The solution offers any business a truly simple approach to managing communications across an increasingly decentralised and mobile workforce. Seamless integration and automation make it simple for businesses to access insights, reports and efficacy of communications.
The company has earned a reputation as a customer-centric business, decreasing customer telephony costs by up to 50% and maintaining excellent customer service. Established in 2010, the company now proudly hosts over 4 000 business customers in South Africa and continues to grow rapidly. The company was founded by George Golding, Conrad de Wet and Rafal Janik, and is managed by John Woollam and Nic Laschinger.