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Navigating New FCC Regulations on AI-Generated Voices in Outbound Calls

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a significant step to regulate the use of artificial intelligence in communication, specifically targeting the use of AI-generated voices in robocalls. This decision aims to mitigate the risks associated with deepfake technology, which has the potential to compromise election security and amplify fraudulent activities. 

The FCC's unanimous decision broadens the scope of the anti-robocall rules under the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to include unsolicited calls made with AI deepfake voices. This move comes in the wake of incidents like the fake robocall that mimicked President Joe Biden, which targeted voters in New Hampshire, illustrating the urgent need for regulatory action.

Understanding the Implications for Businesses

For businesses leveraging outbound calls as part of their customer engagement strategy, this ruling emphasizes the importance of obtaining prior express consent from recipients before using AI-simulated or generated voices. The FCC's ruling aligns with the TCPA's longstanding goal to protect consumers from unwanted calls, reinforcing those automated calls, regardless of their nature, are often perceived as intrusive and a violation of privacy.

Adapting Outbound Strategies in Light of New FCC Guidelines

Following the FCC's new regulations, outbound calls leveraging AI technologies that simulate a human voice or generate call content using a prerecorded voice, must now secure explicit consent from recipients, provide clear caller identification, and ensure messages—especially those with advertising or telemarketing content—include an opt-out mechanism.

Despite these constraints, AI continues to offer substantial opportunities for improving outbound communications. Consider these key applications:

  • Customer Support and Service: AI can initiate contact for updates, reminders, or to alert customers about product or service issues, thereby boosting satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Sales and Marketing: Utilizing customer data, AI can customize calls to promote products, services, or offers, enhancing the likelihood of successful conversions.
  • Feedback Collection: Through AI calls, businesses can efficiently conduct surveys or collect feedback, gaining valuable insights into customer preferences and areas for improvement.
  • Payment Reminders: AI facilitates payment reminder calls, encouraging timely payments and offering direct payment options via interactive responses.
  • Appointment Management: AI aids in scheduling and reminding customers of appointments, reducing no-shows and ensuring efficient schedule management.
  • Emergency Communications: AI enables rapid dissemination of critical alerts and updates to the public or specific groups in emergency situations.
  • Information Dissemination: Businesses can use AI to efficiently communicate service changes, policy updates, or important notices to a wide audience.  
  • Healthcare Communications: Beyond reminders, AI can encourage medication adherence, post-discharge care, or promote health screenings.

AI's potential in outbound communication strategies remains significant across various sectors, offering personalized, scalable, and efficient customer interactions. Moreover, adopting alternative methods like preemptive texts or app notifications can further enhance engagement without relying solely on AI voice communication.

The essence of maximizing AI's benefits while adhering to regulatory demands hinges on securing and honoring customer consent, ensuring a responsible and effective use of outbound AI technologies.

Adapting to the New Landscape

As we move forward, adapting to these regulations will require a thoughtful approach to outbound communication strategies. The emphasis on consent not only aligns with legal requirements but also opens opportunities for more personalized and welcomed interactions with customers. By respecting consumer preferences and leveraging technology responsibly, businesses can continue to harness the power of AI in outbound communication, fostering trust and enhancing customer relationships in the process. 

This pivotal moment underscores the importance of staying informed and agile in the face of evolving regulatory landscapes. At C1, our approach to AI continues to focus on remaining compliant with the latest regulation along with ensuring data governance and accuracy. As we navigate these changes, prioritizing consumer consent and privacy will be paramount in harnessing the benefits of AI for outbound communications, ensuring that technological advancements serve to enhance, rather than compromise, the integrity of our communications. If you would like to learn more about how C1 can help you navigate the ever-changing AI landscape and your customer engagement strategy, reach out today.  

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About the author:
As the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the Connected Experience at C1, Taylor Grace is focused on helping enterprises deliver better experiences for their customers and employees through transformative technology solutions. Living in the Pacific Northwest, she's powered by coffee and outdoor adventures with family and chocolate lab, Mabel.