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A new way to avoid compliance fines


With organisations facing increased numbers of fines from the regulators, how can we make sure that our contact centres stay on the right side of compliance?

Karen Jones argues that on-call speech analytics can help improve quality assurance.

Achieving consistent compliance is high on the agenda of most regulated organisations due to the increasing risk of crippling financial penalties.

New live, on-call, speech analytics technology can enable contact centres to minimise risk while at the same time increasing operational efficiencies and improving quality assurance.

For contact centres selling finance, insurance, mobile phone contracts, utility contracts or even tasked with debt collection (to name but a few), there are certain key statements which have to be said when talking to customers over the phone.

Neglecting to ask key questions such as “this is a five-year contract, are you happy to go ahead?” can make a contract null and void.  It can also leave the organisation open to non-compliance penalties by industry bodies such as the Financial Services Association (FSA) and more recently in the media Ofgem, which has imposed multi-million pound fines on a number of the “Big 6” energy suppliers.

By way of example, one particular mobile phone retailer was fined £245,000 for not treating its customers fairly following telephone sales of general insurance. Rather than telling the customer over the phone information such as features and benefits of the mobile insurance policy they were buying, how long it lasted and the duration of the ‘cooling off’ period, they planned to send out a written document following the call instead. However, over 100,000 customers never received the document, and therefore the fine was issued. What’s more, because the FSA was not informed of the system’s failing in a timely manner, the fine was particularly harsh.

This organisation experienced a dilemma shared by many call centres. They had a choice to either train their telesales agents to remember to give and obtain essential information during the call, or choose to send written documentation after the call. The latter strategy clearly failed.

Human error or system error: both can be avoided, but historically it has proved harder to prevent human error. How many senior managers have had one of those moments when a poorly handled call or series of calls has led to particularly bad PR or direct loss of revenue?

The first-generation of speech analytics solutions in use today aims to pinpoint calls and agents that are non-compliant by analysing hours of voice recordings, but unfortunately not before the damage has already been done. Call-backs to the customer are then required to rectify the situation, which can reduce first-call resolution and increase customer dissatisfaction and call handling time.

Karen Jones

Karen Jones

Many of the first-generation speech analytics vendors have moved sideways into providing multi-channel analytics (to include data analysis of emails, SMS texts, Tweets etc.).

It is, though, possible with new generations of speech analytics to analyse conversations while they are taking place.  Live, on-call, speech analytics monitors and analyses calls as they happen on an agent-by-agent basis.

This allows an interactive desktop prompt to commend or correct every agent as their call progresses. Not only are calls now recorded for compliance purposes, but every call is monitored and analysed automatically so that cases of non-compliance are instantly highlighted to both agent and supervisor, providing the ability to address the issue before the call is finished.

Karen Jones is the Marketing Manager at GemaTech (www.gematech.com)

Published On: 16th Nov 2011 - Last modified: 10th Aug 2018
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