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Hung Up on Live Operators?

Author Bob Bentz    Category IVR     Tags ,

Think an IVR Solution Instead

Almost every day at work, I get reminded of just how impatient people can be.  In our modern world, consumers want immediate response and service.  If they are on hold for a minute, they’ll think it’s 5 minutes.

That’s where an IVR system can pay off for your company.  You likely don’t have enough live operators to serve your customers, especially if you are doing broadcast promotions where consumers will call in immediately after the announcement.

It may not be sexy any more, but IVR is still a great way to maximize leads from your promotional dollars.

Lost Leads from Wait Times

IMPATIENT CONSUMERS: IVR solutions can decrease those leads lost by slow response time.


Rules for Political Telemarketing

It is a big election year and many political candidates will be using our voice broadcast, or “robocalls,” to reach voters.  The question came up as to how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 fits in with political candidates.  You probably know that political candidates are given more leeway when it comes to outbound telemarketing without a bonafied opt-in.

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, politicians and campaign volunteers may call voters on their landline or wireless phones. But when a campaign uses an auto dialer to leave a “robocall” (precorded message), calls to wireless phones are prohibited.  In short, it is:

  • legal for a campaign to call voters on their landline phones using an auto dialer to leave a robocall without the “prior express consent of the called party.”
  • illegal for a campaign to contact voters using to use auto dialers and robocalls to their cellphones without prior express consent.

The same rules apply to text messages.  It is:

  • legal for campaign workers to send texts to voters’ cellphones.  For this service, political candidates can use text message marketing services such

To learn more about TCPA, please visit the FCC’s websites on telemarketing and SPAM texts.

Please do not consider this legal advice.  You should consult your own attorneys to get your own legal opinion.


“Opportunity is Calling” the complete solution of 900 numbers

Bob Bentz, the Director of Marketing and Sales of Advanced Telecom Services, has been doing 900 number business since 1989. 900 numbers are very important for marketing tool, he has written a book named “Opportunity is Calling”, where you can find the total guideline for 900 numbers.

For More Information check this video…..


The Crossword Puzzle 900 Line

In the early days of 900 numbers in 1989, Advanced Telecom Services was a start-up company funded by 20-somethings with second mortgages on their first homes.  So, there wasn’t a lot of extra money to go around.

The very first 900 number program that ATS did was a 900 number television commercial for CD rates.  In 1989, CD’s were not something that you listened to music with, they were an investment for certificates of deposit.  Back then, you could actually get a decent rate on your money at the bank, not like today when I receive 0.17% on my bank deposits.

“It soon became obvious, however, that we couldn’t survive too many failures when we were buying advertising,” said Bob Bentz, president of Advanced Telecom Services.  “Plus, there was the problem of cash flow from guys that quite frankly didn’t have a lot of it.”  Advertising required pre-payment and the return from AT&T on the 900 numbers did not happen until 30 days after the end of the month.

One night, the employees were looking at the newspaper for a win-win-win solution for everybody when they noticed the crossword puzzle.  Why not offer a 900 number for people to cheat on the crossword puzzle rather than wait for the next day when the solution is printed in the newspaper?

The team took the concept to The New York Times and the other major daily newspapers in New York City.  A few months later, all of the major New York newspapers had signed up for the crossword puzzle answer line and the concept of having a 900 number cheat line in the crossword puzzle became national and ultimately international when ATS took the same concept to its London office–an office that still thrives today.

Here’s a look at Merl Reagle’s crossword puzzle answer line from the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer.

crossword puzzle 900 number answer line


Use of Premium Rate Services by Sex

According to a UK study, there is a difference in the use of premium rate services by sex. Listed below are the percentage of British public that has used such a service.  The first figure is for adult males and the second for females.

premium rate UK

Women are more likely to call reality TV shows.

NEWS AND SPORTS ALERTS — 32%men & 23% women

GAMBLING — 13% & 8%

GAMES ON MOBILES — 23% & 19%

ADULT CHAT — 6% & 2%



(Source — Phone Pay Plus; November, 2010)


Study: Why People Don’t Call Premium Rate Numbers

PhonePayPlus, in its 2010 research, polled 5001 people about why or why they don’t use premium rate numbers.  The numbers are interesting and give 900 number entrepreneurs some insight on what they should be doing to get more consumers involved in calling premium rate numbers.

premium rate numbers study

LACK OF INTEREST: Why most don’t call 900 numbers.

The single biggest reason cited as to why consumers don’t call premium rate 900 number is that they don’t find the services interesting enough to call.  In fact, 76.6% of all consumers that don’t use premium rate numbers said this was the reason.  Among those aged 11 – 19, however, only 47.7% said the services were not interesting so perhaps this is a good single for the premium rate industry of the future.  No doubt that innovation would be a great boon to the 900 number industry and entice some of those previously not interested in the services to give them a try.

Interestingly, trust of services was not a major reason why people don’t use premium rate numbers.  14.4% of non-users say the don’t trust paying in this way.

One other major reason for not using such services is a perceived lack of clarity of pricing for services billed by premium rate numbers.  45.1% said they typically were not certain as to the eventual cost of such services.  71.1% said that this uncertainty had stopped them from using such services.  This further enforces the reason to put the price in the advertisement and not try to hide it.  Perhaps another way to promote 900 numbers is to say how long an average call will last if it is billed on a per minute basis.


UK Premium Rate Service Revenues 2009

UK premium rate phone regulator PhonepayPlus has published research that shows the amount of revenue that is allocated per category in the UK market in 2009.

2009 premium rate revenue by category UKHoroscopes remain a mainstay in the UK PRS industry.

According to the study, the oldest category for premium rate services, directory assistance, is still the largest share of the industry, although it continues to show drops annually as more options remain for directory inquiries.

The study places the value of the UK premium rate services market at 810 million pounds annually.  Categorically, it breaks down as follows:

  1. Directory assistance - 220.5 million pounds
  2. Adult entertainment – 131.1 m
  3. 087 business information – 72.3 m
  4. Mobile games – 55.3 m
  5. Information services – 55.2 m
  6. Competitions and quizzes – 53.6 m
  7. Mobile phone entertainment – 53.2 m
  8. Gambling and lotteries – 36.3 m
  9. Participation TV Shows – 31.7 m
  10. Mobile personalization (ringtones) – 27.2 m
  11. Dating – 19.6 m
  12. Tarot & Astrology – 17.4 m
  13. Payment for non-adult content -  11.6 m
  14. Charity donations – 10.8 m
  15. Call services – 6.9 m
  16. 087 flirt and chat lines – 5.9 m
  17. Virtual gifts – 1.5 m

Advanced Telecom Services operates a service bureau with offices in London.  It is primarily a service bureau for newspaper dating services and charitable donations.


Some Helpful Links

Do Not Call ListVoice Broadcast regulations

When it comes to outbound automated voice broadcasts, a service of Advanced Telecom Services, it is important that all message comply with Federal and State Do-Not-Call statutes and regulations.  If you need assistance in understanding the legal obligations imposed in state and federal laws, please contact your attorney for further guidance.

Some useful links that will help you gain an understanding of the laws that pertain to do-not-call regulations can be found below:

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations 47 CFR 64.1200 and CFR 310.

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