I get asked questions about telemarketing to cell phones all the time. I’d like to set the record straight on Telemarketing to Cell Phones, cell phone lists and cell phone appending.
Even though the Telemarketing Sales Rule does not outlaw all Telemarketing to cell phones, does this mean that marketers can call cell phone #s individually, dialing by hand? Besides the legal ramifications, there are definitely some ethical & practical considerations – because it’s not just about getting connected, it’s about what happens after.
Ethical & practical consideration #1: Timing
Cell phones are portable. Callers need to remember that a number registered in North Carolina may currently be travelling in Australia. The best times of day for calling might not always be the best for a cell phone user. There is nothing more annoying that being woken up in the middle of the night by an unsolicited cell phone call.
Ethical & practical consideration #2: Safety
An individual reached on their cell phone may be operating a car or other potentially harmful machinery. Many states have already or are looking to ban the use of cell phones without hands-free devices while driving, biking, or even walking. Callers might be held liable for inducing respondents to break those laws or the ramifications thereof.
Ethical & practical consideration #3: Privacy
Where might you be reaching someone on their cell phone? Is it a secure location or a public place where sensitive conversations are totally out of place. With identity theft rampant, consumers are leery of giving personal information, especially credit card numbers, over a cell phone where they might be overheard.
At Dataman Group, we always caution our clients to take the high road, be smart and follow best practices – not only from a legal standpoint, but from the practical & ethical perspective as well.
However: Almost two-thirds of Americans are only reachable on their cell phones. Many people use their cells for everything. Consumers often give the OK to businesses to contact them on their cell phones for dental appointments, shipping status, insurance renewals, emergencies. I think the worst time of year is campaign season, when we get calls on our cell phones from political candidates.
Last, Telemarketing lists of landlines are still available. Even though scrubbed phone lists comprise only about 12%, they still work for many offers.