Ringless voicemail services, such as those offered by straticsnetworks, allow for prerecorded voicemails to be left directly on a recipient’s voicemail server without their phone ringing first. Voice drops are frequently used for marketing or sales purposes, but their applications aren’t limited to these fields. Voice drops may be used by a doctor’s office to remind patients of appointments, by schools sending updates and reminders, or by financial institutions that need to contact a wide range of people. Many recipients of ringless voicemails consider them less annoying than calls from unrecognized numbers or from sales representatives, though some may also consider them somewhat invasive.

Being judicious about who to contact with voice drops is wise because there are some significant challenges involved with the practice.

1. Legality

As with any telecommunications practice, it’s crucial to understand the legality of voice drops in your area, and legal challenges are likely to be the biggest issue preventing organizations from using ringless voicemail. As far as federal law goes, voice drops are a sort of gray area. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), enacted in 1991, is meant to restrict telemarketing and the use of automated systems for sales calls.

It requires companies to follow standard procedures for sales calls and prevents the contact of consumers on the national Do Not Call registry. This applies to all telemarketers with the exception of a few non-profit organizations. Things get complicated when it comes to voice drops for sales purposes because they technically bypass the calling process altogether.

Some court hearings have covered ringless voicemails. In July 2018, a Federal District Court decided that voicemail drops constituted calls in the case of Saunders v. Dyck O’Neil Inc. While there is controversy as to whether this finding is right, and it will likely continue to be argued in many court cases to come, organizations using voice drops should be aware that there are possible TCPA liabilities.

For those who plan to continue using voice drops, it’s important to scrub call lists against both the national DNC registry as well as any local or state level lists. While leaving voicemails on these numbers may not be considered the same as a call, contacting numbers on these lists in any way can still look bad for your organization.

2. Lifeless messages

When preparing voicemail drops, you should avoid making them sound like automated messages. Monotone or uninteresting messages are likely to be ignored by the recipients. Make sure you always record your messages yourself so you can control the tone. Either prepare multiple scripts for each message in a call campaign or at least stray from the script on some alternate recordings, so that they sound more natural.

You’ll also need to make sure you include a reliable callback number at the end of each message, because the best number to call may not necessarily be the one on the recipient’s caller ID. If you’re expecting a large volume of return calls, for example, you’ll likely want to direct calls to your company contact center.

3. Misplaced expectations

When using voicemail drop as part of your marketing strategy, view it as just that. It’s a supplement to your already existing strategies. If you place all of your expectations on it to be the ultimate answer for finding leads, you’re likely to be disappointed. You may start with an impressively large list of numbers to start your voice drop campaign, but many of those numbers won’t actually be usable. Some of them will still be landlines, some of them will no longer be in service, and some may simply be unreachable.

Voice drops can be useful beyond your marketing efforts, of course. Agents who make outbound calls can increase their productivity by simply pressing a button to leave an automated voicemail instead of having to read out an entire script with each call. With managed expectations and a little creativity, you can find multiple uses for voice drop services.