In the ever-evolving landscape of regulatory compliance, organizations face a critical task: determining the Return on Investment (ROI) of TCPA compliance solutions. Whether contemplating building an in-house solution or opting for an established product, it’s essential to consider various factors. This article delves into assessing the ROI of a contact compliance solutions.

Background 

Companies engaging in sales, marketing, and collections activities must adhere to TCPA compliance and regulations, protecting consumers from unwanted telemarketing communications. The TCPA regulates contact frequency, consent acquisition, and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS). Organizations must also comply with Do Not Call (DNC) lists at federal, state, and internal levels. The complexity of compliance extends to state-specific regulations, with variations in call frequency limits, consent requirements, and penalties.

State-specific laws create risk

Like the federal TCPA law, many states are passing their own telemarketing legislation. Some of the differences in the laws include call frequency limits, consent requirements, the definition of an autodialer and telemarketing call, as well as minimum and maximum penalties per incident. 

For a full breakdown of each state’s telemarketing laws, click here.  

In addition to state-level legislation, 11 states also maintain their own DNC lists: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Wyoming. 

All these regulations play a key part in building a compliance solution, as they need to be highly understood to incorporate them into your contact compliance engine. 

Risk potential 

Violating TCPA compliance and DNC regulations carries hefty fines, ranging from $500 to $25,000 per violation. Legal fees and lawsuits compound the financial burden, leading to brand damage and diminished shareholder value. Compliance ensures focus on business growth rather than legal distractions.

How much risk is associated with  TCPA compliance violations?

For example, if your organization’s annual call volume is 18,000,000 calls and the fine per incident is $500, your potential fine exposure could be $22,500,000 if your organization makes even one quarter of one percent of non-compliant calls. 

If those fines don’t sound costly enough, they are nothing compared to the mountain of legal fees that come with lawsuits related to TCPA/DNC violations. Fines and lawsuits also result in major brand damage as well as reduced shareholder value. The fines pale in comparison to the internal labor cost and opportunity cost lost not focusing on growing the business and is a major distraction to key resources in all levels of the company, including the board of directors.

Revenue impact

By implementing a contact compliance solution your organization can expand its marketing database and increase the potential reach of campaigns.  

Opportunity for revenue recovery

Let us use the same example we mentioned earlier, and your organization has an average annual call volume of 18,000,000 calls and your average sale is $500. Assume with a compliance solution in place you expand your database by 1%. If you convert even 2.5% of those additional calls, you could potentially increase your revenue by $2,250,000.  

Calculate your organizations ROI

Take the time to calculate your organization’s potential ROI by implementing a compliance platform. Consider your own average call volume and what an average sale is worth. If you could expand your marketable database by 1%, 5%, even 10%, how much potential revenue could you generate? 

Expanded reach is a key benefit of implementing a best-in-class contact compliance platform. By capitalizing on all exemption opportunities like existing business relationships, express written consent, opt-ins, expired internal opt-outs, business phone number identification, and state-level DNC hygiene you will reveal contacts who are permissible to contact. 

Considering your options

If your organization builds its own solution in-house, you might risk being overly cautious due to a lack of understanding of the nuanced and complex regulatory rules. By implementing a comprehensive market-tested solution, you can maximize your marketable universe and immediately begin seeing positive impact to revenue. 

Building your own solution 

Building a compliance solution involves seven phases, starting with discovery and culminating in maintenance and support. Each phase requires meticulous planning, including legal considerations, design, development, testing, and implementation. 

Keep reading for a breakdown of what phase entails.

Discovery phase 

The first phase to building your own compliance solution is the discovery phase. In the discovery phase, you will define and document the many different requirements that will go into building the solution. First, gather your team. Many members of your organization will be involved in the building process including members of the executive team, the legal department, IT and technology, engineering, and more.  

You will also have to outline the legal requirements and considerations for building a contact compliance solution. This will include all the nuances of federal laws, each state’s individual laws, company specific rules, and regulations for both TCPA and DNC lists. For this step, you must decide whether to use in-house counsel (if your organization is well-versed in TCPA, DNC, and other contact compliance laws) or outsource a legal team.  

After determining the legal considerations, turn those considerations into action items. Lay out the phased approach for building the compliance engine, including the requirements for each phase. Determine which team is needed for each phase and then provide a timeframe for completion. 

The rest of the discovery phase includes research to define and discover the scope of the project. Before moving on to the next phase, conduct one final review of the discovery phase with key stakeholders for feedback and approval. 

Assessment and approval phase 

After conducting thorough research to define and plan the necessary requirements, the next steps involve reviewing the discovery phase, identifying alternatives, and assessing the feasibility of compliance objectives. The assessment includes variables such as cost, speed to market, functionality, integration complexity, support, security, data privacy, expertise, and strategic fit. Once alternative options are outlined, pull together a detailed evaluation of cost estimates for personnel, technology, and finances. 

Based on the research and alternatives, the decision must be made whether to build a contact compliance solution in-house or opt for an existing market solution. Develop a build vs. buy business case and present it to the executive team for approval. This phase emphasizes the importance of an architecture blueprint, outlining the solution’s implementation roadmap, technology stack, security standards, and data privacy measures.  

If you’ve chosen to build your own solution, the subsequent steps include defining coding standards, technical requirements, and creating wireframes for the user interface. Stakeholder feedback and change management processes are emphasized, acknowledging the inevitability of changes during the build process. Quality assurance steps, including unit, system, user acceptance, and regression tests, are outlined, and the disaster recovery plan is tested. Finally, a final review with key stakeholders should be conducted before moving on to the next phases of the project.  

Design phase 

Now that you’ve assessed your options and received the proper approval, it is time to design your contact compliance solution while adhering to all the requirements you established in the discovery and the assessment/approval phases. The design phase begins by emphasizing the need to finalize and document business, technical, and functional requirements, prioritizing them based on regulatory importance, business needs, ease of integration, and stakeholder feedback.  

The design aspect stresses the importance of mapping state-specific regulations to ensure federal and state regulatory compliance. Planning for audits and process reviews is advised to adapt to changing regulatory landscapes. Design the engine for both internal and external users, considering factors like remote or centralized workforces and various devices. The design phase also involves creating a dynamic rules engine to determine contact methods based on preferences, regulations, and opt-out policies.  

Before moving on to the development phase, a final design review is crucial for obtaining feedback and formal approval from key stakeholders. This comprehensive approach ensures that the contact compliance engine is not only technically sound but also aligns with regulatory requirements and user needs, setting the stage for successful implementation. 

Development phase 

Now that your compliance solution has been designed, it is time to build and execute your well-thought-out plans. In this step, build out the environment and create the database structures where the compliance engine will live. Develop a database to store and manage phone numbers on DNC lists and a rules engine that applies all federal, state and company-specific regulatory requirements for your compliance solution. Design the system to be scalable, redundant, fast, accurate, flexible, and built for high volume to adapt to changes to the organization’s needs, as well as any regulatory changes or additional rules. This is also the step to implement security measures into your compliance engine because protecting consumers’ private and sensitive information is critical.  

Test phase 

Now that your contact compliance engine is built, it’s time to test that everything is working properly before you implement it throughout your organization. Perform compliance testing to verify that the system is set up to adhere to all TCPA, DNC and other regulations. Test the ability to manage call lists, consent verification, robocall detection, caller ID accuracy, call recording, and more. Consider conducting a third-party compliance audit to ensure that everything is working as it should be. 

Implementation and deployment phase 

Meet with all stakeholders and execute the implementation plan. Determine the best time to implement the contact compliance engine to minimize impact to internal teams, third-party vendors conducting outreach on your behalf, and business partners performing various tasks such as list creation and hygiene and ongoing administration of consent/exemption data, opt-opts, and consumer contact preferences. Ensure that users are trained on the system’s proper usage while establishing a regular, automated backup schedule and processes for ongoing maintenance. 

One key aspect for the deployment phase is planning for the eventual retirement or decommissioning of the system, including data migration and archiving when necessary. Regulatory laws such as TCPA compliance, DNC, and others are constantly changing, meaning some components of the contact compliance engine may become obsolete over time. Have a plan for retiring certain (or all) of the system’s components should the need arise. 

Maintenance and support 

Now that your contact compliance engine has been built and deployed, the work does not end there. Many people forget that maintenance and support is an ongoing process for your compliance engine. You should be monitoring all hardware and software services and batch processes 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. 

You should be making regular regulatory updates and changes as well. Start by identifying the personnel or teams responsible for making these changes. TCPA compliance, DNC, and other laws are in a constant state of change due to the hyper-regulation seen over the past number of years. Implement mechanisms to continuously screen and filter out numbers on the federal and state-level DNC lists, including wireless numbers, before conducting any outbound outreach. Your system should automatically identify and block these numbers from being dialed. 

Provide regular employee training on TCPA compliance, DNC, and other regulations after your contact compliance system has been deployed to ensure employees understand the rules and closely follow all company policies for maintaining compliance. It’s important to stay informed about industry best practices and changes in telemarketing regulations so your contact compliance solution can adapt to new procedures as needed. 

Conduct routine audits of your system to identify and address any potential compliance issues, including any software, hardware, or codebase issues that might lead to calling or texting non-compliant numbers. 

Buying a solution 

If building a contact compliance solution sounds like a lot of time-consuming hard work, that is because it is. If you do not have the in-house expertise, time, budget, and resources to build a solution, buying an established solution that is already on the market may be a better, more cost-effective option. Buying is much faster than building, you will realize a faster ROI if you decide to buy a solution versus build one of your own. 

Another added benefit of buying an established solution is the support you get with the product. If something is not functioning properly or as you expected, you have an entity to call for support and maintenance. If you do not have the knowledge and expertise in-house to fix problems quickly and properly, a dedicated support team that comes with an established solution may be a better option for your organization. 

One more thing to consider is the intellectual property behind compliance engines. Companies work hard to innovate and stay ahead of the technology curve and work diligently to protect their intellectual property. If the solution and the intellectual property does exist, and ongoing support and maintenance is a potential long-term resource drain, consider buying and customizing an established solution. 

Want to learn more? Download our eBook “How to gauge the ROI of a contact compliance solution for an in-depth, comprehensive look at what it will take to build your own compliance solution.

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