Ringless voicemail, also referred to as voicemail drop, is a process where a previously recorded message is automatically uploaded to a recipient’s voicemail server. It completely bypasses the conventional calling process, and voicemail drops can be used for a variety of purposes.
Why you might need them
Voicemail drops might be used by doctor’s offices to send appointment reminders, they could be notifications from school or work, or they could even be from debt collectors or other agencies. Voicemail drops like these are widely permitted so long as they don’t involve an attempt to sell something to the recipient.
Generally speaking, ringless voicemails are going to be used by companies seeking to reach a large network of contacts. They’re beneficial firstly because bypassing the calling process frees up time that employees can use on other tasks. Even for traditional calling campaigns where agents are looking for live conversations, voicemail drops are still useful in situations where calls go unanswered, because agents can leave a message with a single click rather than reciting a full script.
Many recipients tend to prefer ringless voicemails to traditional calls as well, since they can check their voicemail whenever they prefer. Things can get tricky, however, when it comes to ringless voicemail for marketing/selling purposes.
Legality of sales voicemail drops
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted in 1991 to place restrictions on sales calls using automated systems, or “robocalls,” to reach potential customers.
Many considered these methods to be bothersome and invasive, and the act requires telemarketers and other sales teams to follow standards of practice when using automated calling methods to make sales. Most notably, it requires organizations to abide by the national Do Not Call Registry. This list protects registered consumers from nearly all telemarketing calls, with the exception of a few nonprofit organizations.
Voicemail drops, however, are not technically “calls,” and as such, they are not affected by federal law. This doesn’t mean that individual states can’t enact their own laws about them. For example, Florida updated their definition of telephone solicitation to include voicemail drops in 2018; this effectively bans the practice for marketing purposes. This decision has been controversial with companies using voicemail drops for sales, and many have petitioned the decision. Such decisions are likely to be a topic of debate for years to come.
Compliance and practices
While voicemail drops may not be addressed at the federal level for a long time, if ever, it’s still imperative for companies using voicemail drops and similar services to be mindful of compliance and best practices.
All company call lists should be checked against the national Do Not Call Registry as well as any state or local registries. While voicemail drops may not count as “calls” in many states, leaving voicemails on registered phone numbers could still look bad for a company.
Compliance is also important for text messages or any other forms of communication. Opt-out options should be included in all messages, and they must be respected.
Creating effective voicemails
For voicemail drops to be useful in campaigns, they need to have a definite purpose. There is a specific goal the company wants to achieve with the voicemails, and progress toward that goal should be tracked. It’s best for companies to record their own voicemails so that they can best tailor the messages to their goals, and this also helps to prevent them from sounding automatically generated.
Using multiple scripts, or at least making some alterations between messages, can help make them sound as natural as possible. It’s also crucial to include a reliable call back number in the voice mail, as a recipient’s caller ID may not direct them to the best number.