Remember the age of landlines? Can you just see yourself, reclined in your La-Z-Boy? Mindlessly twirling the telephone cord with your pointer finger? Certainly, it evokes nostalgia of a simpler time. And that it was.
In 1991, Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to regulate telemarketing and auto-dial calls. This law was recently modified by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Order to address our rapidly advancing mobile culture. These new regulations and guidelines are certainly blurring lines, causing complexity and confusion surrounding the TCPA – which is greatly affecting utility companies.
How come? Utility companies employ certain communication technologies to share important information with their customers about everything from outages to energy efficiency opportunities. And as mentioned, nowadays, customers transact and engage almost completely from one source – their smartphones – whether accessing emails, texts, online content or calls.
From life management to subscribed promotions to support services, customers seek out and request communications be sent their way. According to Accenture, customers now expect updates and guidance from their utility companies beyond just their energy bill. And energy efficiency tops that list.
J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study also confirms 82% of customers prefer to be contacted regarding outages. That same study revealed that customer satisfaction is higher amongst customers who receive mobile updates from their utility (Tweet it!). In customers’ minds, this is a service, not telemarketing or unwanted advertisements.
In light of these recent changes and more explicitly defined regulations within the TCPA, utility companies and their vendors should examine their outbound customer communication practices. Violation of this Act could lead to high-priced TCPA fines – conduct that was permitted before is now scrutinized by the FCC.
Hold the phone. We have you covered. Download our complete whitepaper to learn more about TCPA’s regulations and how your business can stay compliant.
 Accenture, “The New Energy Consumers Architecting for the Future.” Copyright 2014.