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March 2019

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‘Do Not Call’ – How Does DNC Registry Work In India?

It was March 10, 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell rang up his assistant to say, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you”.

It was the first phone call ever made and did you know the second phone call was made later that evening on the same day. A telemarketer rang up asking if a Mr. Dell resided there and if we want to buy some genuine snake oil.

Since then, marketing and phone have always been together.

The second phone call should not surprise you as much as the fact that it was not until 2007 that the National Do Not Call (NDNC) registry now called the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR) finally came into being. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) established a national opt-in registry of users who didn’t want any spam sent to them. Since then, over 23 crore phone numbers have been added to that registry.

For those of us who are still confused (you are the only one, many people still aren’t sure how it works), here’s everything you need to know about DNC and DNC lookup.

The Do Not Call Registry lets you opt out of marketing calls and messages addressed to your telephone number, allowing you to have more control over the kind of messages you receive on your landline or mobile phone. 

The primary objective of the National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC) is to curb Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC).

Now, what is UCC, “any message, through telecommunications service, which is transmitted for the purpose of informingabout, or soliciting or promoting any commercial transaction in relation to goods, investments or services which a subscriber opts not to receive.”

Basically, DNC is meant to focus on telemarketing calls or messages of a commercial nature but messages for

  • Market survey or research;
  • Promote charitable or religious causes;
  • Personal messages sent by individuals;
  • Public messages sent by government agencies;
  • Political messages

are not covered under the DNC provisions.

If you thought it changed things completely, you’re wrong. Spam hasn’t stopped even for users who have registered on its national Do Not Disturb (DND) registry opting for DND check as they still get texts and calls from telemarketers.

Explicit Consent

When users give out their phone numbers, TRAI says it doesn’t necessarily mean they are consenting to receive marketing information. Having a note on how to opt-out is a common feature and in some countries a regulatory requirement in email and SMS.

Marketers who initiate unsolicited commercial communication with a person who has opted not to receive such communications can face a fine of Rs. 500 per call/SMS as well as disconnection of their telephone services.

TRAI offers an option to opt out for promotional calls and SMS from particular 7 categories

  1. Banking/Financial Products/ Insurance/Credit cards
  2. Real Estate
  3. Education
  4. Health
  5. Consumer Goods and Automobiles
  6. Entertainment/Broadcasting/Communication/IT
  7. Tourism and Leisure

To add your number in NDNC list you need to send an SMS to 1909.

You will instantly receive an SMS for registration in NDNC list while it may take up to 2-3 days for DND activation on your number. If you do not get a confirmation call from TRAI, try calling 1909 and then follow instructions.

For example, if you wish to stop receiving calls and SMS from Consumer Goods and Automobiles, send an SMS as “STOP 5” to 1909.

Now you know what to do when you wish to stop receiving marketing messages and calls, but if you choose to receive marketing messages from certain organisations, all you need to do is give them your clear and unambiguous consent in any accessible form. Organisations that have obtained your consent may then send marketing messages to your mobile phone number, even if it is registered with the DNC Registry.


This Is The Reason You Are Losing your Customers

Do you spend time and money on customer acquisition? How about customer retention?

Growing a business is best accomplished by growing the number of customers, but customer acquisition is not the end-all of it. In fact, customer acquisition cost is increasing by the day and it is this reason and a few more that retaining a customer has become all the more critical.

As a business owner you need to know that as much as it is important to focus on customer acquisition, it is equally important to focus on customer loyalty. Simply because it’s much easier to sell to existing customers than attracting new ones!

  • Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increase profits by 25% to 95%. (Bain & Co.)
  • Attracting a new customer costs 5-25x as much as keeping an existing one. (HBR)
  • Globally, the average value of a lost customer is $243. (New Media & Marketing)
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. (Marketing Metrics)

Thanks to digital channels, retaining customers have become simpler, even those who signed up with you and went into hibernation or purchased once or twice and then completely forgot about it.

But are you on the right track?

Many businesses abandon customers when they stop responding to marketing efforts. Why abandon a customer who has already given you some business?

Even if a customer has not responded for a while, spending on a dormant customer is less expensive than acquiring a new one.

When focusing on customer retention, most businesses do it wrong. Instead of instantly driving sales by going from 0 to 100 from your dormant customers, your focus should be on generating interest and creating engagement.

And this is where an SMS plays a powerful role. Want to know how, read on…

  1. Identify the candidates – which past customers can be the perfect candidates for re-engaging

I’ll contradict my earlier statement here – just because some customer did business with you in the past doesn’t mean they’re worth pursuing. Don’t get me wrong! I’m trying to help you identify your target audience.

Look for signs

  • Customers who have opened your emails/SMS over that past couple of months
  • Customers who have made a couple of purchases

      2.  Make it a two-way street – hold the conversation

Customers don’t just want to know what’s going on with your brand; they also want to tell what they feel. Customers are only human, and humans enjoy two-way conversation.

Make sure most of your SMS marketing is a one-on-one dialogue unique and relevant to the recipient. Use shortcodes and longcodes to receive feedback from customers.

  1. Get personal – create tailored content for each segment

Sometimes the lack of customer activity can be your fault – if you aren’t sending the relevant messages tailored to your audience then the customer has nothing to respond to. Make sure to follow up a customer with targeted messages that add value to their experiences.

  1. Make it easier – don’t make it hard for your customer to shop with you

Personalize the content on your email, SMS, website, social media platforms to make it easier for people to find what they are looking. Use analytics to show them what they might like based on what they’ve brought or browsed in the past. Use short URL to direct them to the purchase page of your site. It’ll save their time and reduce the risk of them looking at your competitors.

  1. Start a drip campaign – give customers a reason to return

To re-engage past customers you need to stay on their minds and what better way to do that than running a simple SMS drip campaign. A drip campaign is a series of text messages that you send over a period of time with only one goal – gaining the trust of your customer and slowly and steadily moving the recipient to action.

While every business is different, starting with one or two SMS per week is a good start and then increase the number as per the analytics and identity trends.

  1. Prompt a purchase – convert a lapsed customer into an active buyer

Customers tend to get distracted, they forget and eventually lapse. Don’t wait for them to make a purchase, prompt them to do it. Incentivize and convert a customer by reaching out to them with timely reminders.

  1. Give them a reason to return – offer them value

You have to give your customer a reason to come back. This can be done in a number of ways but you can start by offering a deal. A time-sensitive deal with an expiry date can work well.

  1. Sometimes people just don’t want to buy — they want to be entertained, informed, or helped

Sometimes you need to overlook the short-term sale and focus on building a longterm customer relationship. Share some suggestions, advice, blogs, articles – content relevant to the customer to build a rapport with them.  Include short URL in your SMS to keep the customer engaged with your content.

  1. Know when to let customers go – ask them if they want to stop receiving your text

If despite your best efforts your customer just doesn’t return ask them if they want to stop receiving your updates. This tactic, you never know, a last respectful and humorous farewell might prompt a response.  

Time to wake up your customers from their hibernation!

Customers don’t owe you their loyalty. You have to earn it – continually. An effective customer retention program gives you the ability to identify, track, and custom promote to those who are most likely to become your long-term sources of revenue.

Re-engaging dormant clients is absolutely worth the investment and with a few strategies in place (mentioned above) and a powerful communication medium (SMS has a 98% open-rate), it is possible to woo them back to your business.

Re-energize stalled customer relations with personalized marketing!

Companies that actively communicate and keep their customers engaged to better meet their expectations are on their way to achieving the prime objective of any customer retention program; greater customer loyalty.


Are You Violating TRAI’s SMS Regulations?

Understanding TRAI regulations for sending business SMS in India.

A lot of questions are floating around SMS regulations in India with a lot of vaguish answers. It’s time these questions get addressed and we take it on us.

An independent authority of the telecommunications sector in India, TRAI is a regulation of broadcasting and cable TV services, also a recommendatory body for licensing in telecom and broadcasting. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India also regulates bulk SMS and keeps updating senders from time to time on the rules for:

  • Transactional SMS
  • Promotional SMS
  • DND Scrubbing
  • Sending Time
  • Termination Charges
  • Sender Name
  • Penalty and more

If you’re sending any of these texts to your customers, you need to read ahead…

In India, there are 2 types of outbound SMS that a business can send –

 TRANSACTIONAL SMS – For important updates and alerts.

With Transactional SMS one can send informative, generic, critical data or information. All SMS content needs to be transactional and should not contain any promotional content on this route.

“IM-DSTORE The refund of your order XYZ has been processed and will reflect in your account within 24 hours. Thank you for choosing us!”

Some characteristics of Transactional SMS:

Delivery Time24×7
DND NumberCan be sent
Sender IDUnique 6 alpha characters that represent your brand
SMS Gateway Route4

PROMOTIONAL SMS – Send marketing messages to opt-in users.

Used to send promotional information on goods and services, with promotional messages one can promote brands, update information and provide offer details.

“DM-123456 The spring sale is on! Buy 1 get 1 valid only for till midnight.”

Some characteristics of Promotional SMS:

Delivery Time9 AM -9 PM
DND NumberCannot be sent
Sender IDPre-approved 6 digits
SMS Gateway Route1

So, what is a SENDER ID?

For Transactional SMS, the sender ID is in the format XY-ZZZZZZ having nine alphanumeric characters. You can choose the last six alphabetic characters that represent your brand name.

  • First alpha character being code of Access provider
  • The second alpha character being the code of service area
  • The third alphanumeric character will be a dash (-)
  • The last six alpha characters will be the identifier of the company or organization sending transactional SMS

For sending the Promotional messages, a company can use an alphanumeric identifier in the format XY-RZZZZZ, wherein:

  • X stands for code allotted to Access provider
  • Y stands for the service area
  • R is any digit from 0 to 7
  • ZZZZZ indicates 5 digit unique identification code allotted to the company by the Access Provider


Text messaging in India comes with a few regulations and restrictions. No matter whichever industry you are into you must comply with the guidelines before sending bulk SMS.

The primary rule to remember is that you can only send marketing messages to recipients who have opted-in to receive these messages.

Let’s understand these rules in detail:

  • Sending Promotional messages from Transactional routes

Now, this is something that marketers know isn’t right but most of them still do – send marketing content from the transactional route.

All SMS content sent from the transactional route needs to be transactional and should not contain any promotional content. Doing so is an unethical practice, violates the TRAI regulations and can result in a heavy penalty.

  • Opt-in and Opt-out

Ask your users for their permission for sending any updates and information regarding your services. Mention clearly in the message that if they want to opt out, they can, by texting your keyword followed by STOP to your shared short code or long number.

  • Opt-in Promotion

If the mobile numbers you send SMS to are your registered users and if you have an opt-in clause accepted by them then you may send them occasional promotional messages even if the user is on DND through transactional route.

Also, the validity of an opt-in is 180 days from the date subscriber sends in the opt-in START message. To stay opted-in, the subscriber will need to renew their preferences once every 6 months.

  • Commercial Communication

This is the type of message, voice or SMS transmitted for the purpose of informing, soliciting or promoting any commercial transaction in relation to products, investment or services.

  • Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)

Any commercial communication which a subscriber opts not to receive except:

  1. Transactional message
  2. A message transmitted on the directions of government or authorized agencies authorized
  • Fully Blocked

Subscribers who have registered with the national DND registry to not receive any marketing SMS belong to the fully blocked category.

  • Partially Blocked

Registered with the NDNC registry to not receive marketing SMS, except from any one or more of the below categories belong to a partially blocked category.

Mobile subscribers can register with NDNC opting in to receive Promotional messages in one or more of the following categories:

  1. Finance
  2. Real Estate
  3. Education
  4. Health
  5. Consumer goods and automobiles
  6. Communication
  7. Tourism and Leisure
  • National Do Not Call (NDNC)

Over 23 crore mobile numbers are enlisted with the NCPR (National Customer Preference Register) earlier NDNC, to curb unsolicited commercial communication.

Telecom subscribers who do not wish to receive any promotional messages or calls can register to DND and the registration will be effective within 7 days of placing the request with the service provider.

If you are trying to send messages on any of these enlisted numbers,

First of all, it will be blocked

Secondly, you are violating the TRAI rule

But not all SMS will be blocked

The Do Not Call List can only stop sales messages. You may continue to receive:

  1. Political SMS
  2. Charitable SMS
  3. Debt collection SMS
  4. Informational SMS
  5. Survey SMS
  6. Personal SMS

Also, you may still get promotional texts from companies with whom you’ve recently done business; likewise, if you’ve given written permission to a company to text you.

Customers can file a complaint against unwanted texts

Despite being on the NDNC list, if you still receive marketing SMS it is considered illegal and TRAI encourages to file a complaint against companies following illegal practices.

In case of a DND complaint, the marketer would be required to produce the opt-in details for a user. Failing to do so can attract a penalty from INR 25,000 to INR 2,75,000.

Read: The Maharashtra State Commission awarded Ganga a lumpsum compensation of Rs 3 lakh.

There are some rumours circulating about the registry, but they are as we said, only rumours.

  • The government is not releasing cell phone numbers to telemarketers
  • There isn’t a deadline for registering a cell phone number on the DNC List
  • There is only one DNC List, and it’s operated by the TRAI
  • The DNC List accepts registrations from both cell phones and landlines

Click here to know more about how NDNC works in India

We hope the above gives you a clear picture of how TRAI regulations for sending bulk SMS in India works. For any more clarifications, feel free to write back to us.

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