Telephone Consumer Protection Compliance
Before sending marketing texts to your patients, it’s important to understand the legal guidelines of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA was created to ensure that consumers would not be swamped by spam from businesses.
Note: While the TCPA is a U.S. law, there are similar laws and guidelines under the Spam Act in Australia, as well as other countries. Please use the advice found here as a guide only, in addition to understanding and abiding by the laws in your country.
Violating consumer protection guidelines can lead to fines. Luckily, complying with the law is relatively simple. Here’s what you need to do:
- Receive consent from your patient to text them.
- Let the patient know what they can expect when opting into your list.
- Include a notification about any possible text messaging fees.
- Include the option to opt out of future texts.
- Mention your company’s name in your text messages.
You could handle all this by sending an opening message that looks something like this:
Please reply YES to receive news and offers from Alpha Chiropractic. Standard messaging and data rates apply. If you prefer not to receive text messages, reply NO.
You could also take care of the four three items on the list above by including a checkbox on the form where they are providing their first number that says something like:
I agree to receive text messages from Alpha Chiropractic. Standard text message rates may apply. Text STOP at any time to opt out.
Additional Safeguards for Text Messaging Compliance
Here are a few more simple steps to ensure that your business is maintaining TCPA compliance when sending text messages.
Keep in mind maximum character count: The maximum character count allowed for marketing and promotional text messages under the TCPA is 160, including spaces and punctuation. If you need to send a longer message, it may be better to send an email.
Get Reviews takes care of this for you by ensuring that you can’t create a text longer than 160 characters.
Remember the TCPA’s time restriction: The TCPA forbids any telephone solicitation, through call or through text, before 8 am and after 9 pm in the contacted party’s local time zone.
Get Reviews also has this covered for you. No automated texts will be sent between 8pm – 8am in your business’ local time zone.
Keep track of reassigned numbers: Sending solicitations to numbers that have been reassigned can be considered a TCPA violation. To prevent this, you can check your contact database against the Reassigned Numbers Database.
Train your team: If your team members are regularly communicating with customers through text messages or phone calls, make sure they’re aware of TCPA and its associated rules and regulations.