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Don't be a nuisance: What financial organisations can learn from recent ICO crackdown

Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office announced it has issued fines totalling nearly half a million pounds to four companies making nuisance calls to numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It is against the law to make marketing calls to numbers that have been registered with the TPS for more than 28 days, unless people have provided consent.

The businesses in question were found to have made a staggering 2.4 million illegal calls between them. These fines are a welcome reminder that there will be consequences for businesses that still use nuisance calls as part of their customer communications strategy, even after crackdowns on PPI calls and when people have specifically taken steps to protect themselves by signing up to the TPS.  

Now that we’ve entered 2021 and a third national lockdown, there are more consumers trapped at home and on the edge about possible news. It is more crucial than ever that businesses communicate responsibly, so how can those in the financial sector ensure their conversations with customers are constructive and help reduce stress?

It doesn’t just stop at checking TPS lists. Other examples of communication that frustrates consumers are banks ignoring personal preferences by calling during working hours or insurers sharing new T&Cs through the post, rather than over email. Companies risk losing customer goodwill as a result of their poor communications and need to start thinking of the bigger picture. The question shouldn’t be to call or not to call, but are you being as customer-focussed as possible? If financial organisations successfully consider the wider experience they are giving, they will avoid complaints and build secure, long-term relationships with their customers.

Even consumers who consent to being contacted will be irritated if their bank cannot provide the information they want, when they want it, on the channel they request. As such, customer communication teams need to put the groundwork in, proactively asking new customers for their contact preferences from the beginning. They must also ensure that key details such as which channels customers prefer, and what time of day suits them best, are logged in a secure and efficient manner. Making this information available to all departments that interact with customers means that contact remains consistent, relevant and useful. Businesses who fail to do so risk causing unnecessary stress to their customers, wider reputational damage, and losing competitive edge.

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Comments: (3)

Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - 02 February, 2021, 09:09Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Almost all of the nuisance calls that I receive are from outside the UK, where a fake UK telephone number is shown on the caller ID. The caller's accent is either indian or Philippino. Blocking the number is of no consequence, since the callers change the fake UK number every time.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 02 February, 2021, 16:09Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yeah, we keep receiving calls in India from UK etc. from people with Scottish accent. Of late, this nuisance has scaled new heights. Our regulator regularly sends warning SMSs telling us not to call these costly numbers back if we see a missed call from them. Many of them are too dumb to know about the timezone difference between UK and India and keep calling at especially inconvenient hours.

Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - 02 February, 2021, 23:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In the UK I have never had a nuisance call from Scotland, presumably because they are traceable and the fines are hefty. So cross border calling is the way to avoid fines and blocking

Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens

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