The Direct Marketing Association Contact Centres and Telemarketing Council Telemarketing Manifesto - The Four As: Advocate; Assure; Assist; Advance A platform for the long-term development and sustainability of the industry cConsumers are in control of telemarketing 9s future 3 it 9s time to treat them with respect d The Scenario Without consumers, our contact centre industry has no future. Consumers are our lifeblood. If they were to permanently stop making or taking our calls, the jobs of the 800,000+ people who work in UK contact centres would be at risk.
If we are to sustain our industry, we have a responsibility to understand what the public wants and to deliver on its needs. And perhaps nowhere is this responsibility greater than in the telemarketing sector. Bad practice 3 ranging from insensitivity or disrespect for the consumer, through to inappropriate use of diallers, misrepresentation or fraudulent activity 3 has undermined the public 9s trust in telemarketing.
Legislation has already been introduced to help better protect the consumer. But the government could well extend these laws if the public continues to feel pressurised by substandard telemarketing practices. The Strategy The Direct Marketing Association 9s Contact Centre and Telemarketing Council believes that telemarketing is a ... more. less.
legitimate way for businesses to promote their products and services.<br><br> But we also feel it is time to create a new model if we are to safeguard the sector 9s future 3 a model that puts best practice at the heart of UK plc 9s telemarketing strategies; a model that gives consumers the respect they deserve. We have devised the following Manifesto 3 The Four As 3 because we want consumers to understand the rules the telemarketing industry must adhere to, and the standard of behaviour they can expect from telemarketing businesses. Equally, by committing to produce practical guidelines for both telemarketing businesses and the agents working within them, we want to create an industry-wide understanding of what constitutes best practice.<br><br> It is our aim that these guidelines will, in turn, help inform any future legislation. The Four As Advocate : To promote the benefits of carrying out responsible telemarketing to the industry Assure : To clearly state to the public what they can expect from the telemarketing sector Assist : To provide information and support to those who work in call centres Advance : To provide ongoing leadership to ensure a sustainable future for the telemarketing sector, advising and lobbying regulators and government The Telemarketing Manifesto 3 The Four As Advocate: To promote the benefits of carrying out responsible telemarketing to the industry The Manifesto advocates a sustainable future for the industry. It aims to achieve this by promoting best practice telemarketing guidelines both within and outside of its membership.<br><br> The Council will first develop these guidelines in meetings that will be open to the full DMA membership. Once drafted, the standards will be released to the wider industry 3 including non-members 3 as part of a consultation process. Our aim is to encourage everyone in the telemarketing sector to have their say on what constitutes best practice and how it might be achieved.<br><br> That said, we anticipate the guidelines will go above and beyond the requirements of the current DMA Code, which is binding for all members. We believe the actions of those who do not follow telemarketing best practice are destroying the standing of reputable businesses. The Council will report companies known to be flouting the regulations to the authorities.<br><br> And if DMA members do not abide by the Code, the Council will actively lobby for the DMA Commission to expel them. Our new set of standards will be communicated to both the industry and the public. As well as promoting best practice, we will look to raise overall perceptions of the industry.<br><br> Assure: To clearly state to the public what they can expect from the consumer telemarketing sector The Manifesto will assure the public the rules the telemarketing industry must adhere to, and the standard of behaviour they can expect to receive from telemarketing businesses. The telemarketing sector is only sustainable if both the industry and the public agree on what is acceptable behaviour. Consumers cannot be expected to differentiate between responsible and irresponsible operators.<br><br> But with a clearer understanding of the rules governing the sector and the standard of conduct expected of telemarketing companies, they will be in a better position to expose bad practice. To support this learning process, the Council will publish a booklet in plain English 3 8Consumer Guide to Telemarketing 9 3 outlining the sector 9s legislative requirements, the DMA Code, and what constitutes 8best practice 9 for contact centres. This booklet will be distributed to the public, free of charge, through a variety of channels.<br><br> Assist: To provide information and support to those who work in call centres The Manifesto recognises that agents are the interface between the telemarketing firm and the customer. As such, it will seek to educate agents in acceptable practice and give them the assistance and support they need to flourish. Agents are the people responsible for communicating a telemarketing firm 9s message.<br><br> Yet because their salaries are often dependent on reaching sales targets, they sometimes neglect to treat customers with the respect they deserve. The Council will support agents by producing an 8Agents 9 Guide to Telemarketing 9, which will clarify what is and what is not acceptable telemarketing practice. The DMA will encourage both members and non-members to distribute this guide to their staff.<br><br> Advance: To provide ongoing leadership to ensure a sustainable future for the telemarketing sector, advising and lobbying regulators and government The Manifesto will advance the telemarketing sector by creating a consultative relationship between the Council and legislators: one in which both parties can have a say in how regulation is balanced with the need to generate profits. Legislators need to have a complete understanding of how an industry works if the laws they formulate are to be successful. To facilitate this, the Council is championing a new way of working: the creation of a consultative, rather than an adversarial, relationship with legislators and regulators.<br><br> We aim to do this by more closely monitoring the development of the industry, any potential threats to its success, and the likely impact of any new UK or international legislation and regulation. From this knowledge, we will develop a set of self-regulatory guidelines for the sector in the form of best practice documents and DMA Code provisions. These guidelines will be offered as workable template for legislators and regulators to assist them in the development of any new laws.<br><br> The Background The contact centre industry is a substantial contributor to UK plc. It has experienced growth rates of 8% per annum, and currently employs over 800,000 people who, between them, sell more that £3 billion in goods and services throughout the UK. About one-third of the contact centre industry works in the area of consumer telemarketing, equating to roughly a quarter of a million people.<br><br> Many contact centres are located in areas of low employment and their ability to offer flexible working hours has brought people into the workforce who would have not been able to take a normal 89 to 5 9 job. These people have been a significant factor in the growth of the UK 9s economy over the past 15 years. That said, contact centre managers now believe that staff attrition is the largest single challenge they face today, and the mean annual agent attrition rate across the UK currently stands at 32%.<br><br> Nearly three-quarters (71%) of contact centres admit they have problems recruiting new staff, and at least some of this may be attributable to the poor reputation contact centres have in the field of telemarketing. The DMA 9s Contact Centre and Telemarketing Council is convinced there is a future for the telemarketing sector. But we also understand this future is reliant on the widespread adoption of a new 8best practice 9 strategy that treats customers with respect.<br><br> In responding to this need, our Manifesto 3 The Four As 3 has been formulated for the whole telemarketing industry, whether they are members of the DMA or not. The Manifesto has been designed to address all key stakeholders. The Four As are as relevant to the public and to regulators as they are to in-house and outsourced/bureaux telemarketing businesses and the agents working within them.<br><br>