• August 19, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Do-Not-Email Legislation?

Despite the recent Do-Not-Call legislation, organizations still need to be proactive with customer communications, but how? That's what the latest report released today by consulting firm Reservoir Partners examines.

The report, "Proactive Service--Outbound Customer Communications," by Chris Selland, managing director and founder of Reservoir Partners, states the Do-Not-Call and pending Do-Not-Spam legislation "pose major issues for companies seeking to communicate in an outbound manner--in the near-term via telephone, in the longer-term via all channels."

The Do-Not-Call legislation will spawn additional Do-Not-Contact legislation, such as a Do-Not-Email bill enacted within the next 12 to 18 months, Selland writes. "We fully believe that this bill is inevitable and will in its final form closely resemble the Do-Not-Call bill."

"It's a political issue. There is almost 100 percent consumer support for Do-Not-Email legislation, because consumers are tired of getting Viagra and [related] emails in their email box every morning," Sellend says. "My mother gets some of the emails and there are obscenities and viruses in them. People are frightened and highly offended by the content of some of these emails, and they get nervous about viruses."

Selland's time line for a Do-Not-Email legislation comes with a high level of confidence, especially considering legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-NY) is already on the congressional table. Sen. Schumer's Stop Pornography and Abusive Marketing Act--the SPAM Act--aims to crack down on pornographic email spam sent to children.

Do-Not-Contact legislation affects outbound communication, but Selland suggests it will have more of an affect on marketing initiatives than on customer service efforts. That's why the report suggests, even more so than the recent legislation, people costs will be an "even more critical and long-term factor" involved in customer communications. So Reservoir Partners has magnified its focus on a new category of automated technology solutions for outbound customer communications. "These tools are designed to replace the human element of outbound communications with consistent, opt-in, multi-channel, customer-friendly and low-cost automation," the report states.

Opt-in solutions automate outbound communications with customers by triggering automatic alerts for various functions like account renewals, collections, or flight changes. Consumers can be alerted via email, wireless handheld device, or their mobile phone. Some of the leading providers of opt-in customer solutions, Selland says, are Envoy Worldwide, Par3 Communications, Adeptra, Centerpost, SoundBite Communications, and Evoxis.

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