Contacting your customers is critical to running, and growing, your business. The reasons are numerous – you might need to remind them of a delivery or upcoming appointment, alert them to changes to their status or account, advise them that their account is past due, or interact on a variety of other customer service topics.
But if your customers are consumers, communicating with them isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
In addition to federal regulations governing outbound consumer communications, twenty individual states have established additional rules that further restrict outreach to their residents. These rules can vary widely and violations can be pricey. In some cases, fines can be up to $25,000 per violation.
Your compass to compliance
If you’re calling or texting consumers, it’s important to understand all the rules that govern how, when and how often you make contact. The purpose of your call, or text, will often determine whether state and federal regulations apply. Most states provide exemptions for outreach made in the context of an existing business relationship. However, it’s good to be cautious and understand the implications of delivering telemarketing, collections or customer service messages.
There’s an interactive map on ContactCompliance.com that lets you see which states have additional rules and explore what they are. You’ll quickly discover how different the rules are from coast-to-coast and between bordering states.
You can also download a state-calling rules compliance guide that lists not only the rules, but information on exemptions and fines. Links to the individual state authority on calling rules is also provided. Keep in mind, the only way to be certain you are in compliance is to seek legal advice.
Enjoy investigating the map – let me know if you’re surprised by any of the rules you discover!